Russian media director hospitalized after brutal attack

New York, March 10, 2009–Vadim Rogozhin, managing director of the independent media holding company Vzglyad in the southern city of Saratov, was hospitalized in serious condition today after surviving a brutal attack last week, his company said in an official statement. 

Two unidentified assailants attacked Rogozhin, 38, as he was leaving an elevator at his apartment building around 6 p.m. Thursday, repeatedly striking him in the head with heavy objects, Vzglyad said. The assailants left the journalist barely conscious by his door, but did not rob him. After crawling into his apartment and calling an ambulance, Rogozhin was hospitalized with a fractured skull and multiple head lacerations, the business daily Kommersant said. The journalist has been unconscious since undergoing several operations over the weekend, the independent news Web site Newsru said.


“We’re appalled by this vicious attack on our colleague Vadim Rogozhin, who is known for critical reporting,” said CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova. “We call on Saratov authorities to thoroughly and aggressively investigate the crime, apprehend all responsible for it, and prosecute them to the full extent of the law. Violence against the press must not be tolerated.”


Over the past several years, Rogozhin worked as a journalist for a number of local and national media outlets. Prior to his promotion in January to managing director of Vzglyad–a Saratov company that includes the newspaper Saratovsky Vzglyad, the information agency Vzglyad-Info, and the Internet television channel TV Saratov-Videonovosti–Rogozhin edited and reported for Saratovsky Vzglyad on corruption in the regional government, police, judiciary, and security services, Kommersant said. After Rogozhin assumed his managerial position two months ago, he continued to influence Vzglyad’s editorial content, his colleagues told CPJ. “It is obvious that this attack was related to his professional activity,” Vzglyad-Info Editor-in-Chief Nikolai Lykov told Kommersant.


On Friday, Saratov police opened an investigation into the attack and took Rogozhin’s computer to check for possible leads, his colleagues at Vzglyad-Info told CPJ. On Saturday, authorities with the Saratov regional department of Russia’s Investigative Committee at the Prosecutor-General’s Office took control of the case and started taking statements from the company’s staffers, Vzglyad-Info Deputy Editor Dmitry Voronkov told CPJ. Local reports said that Rogozhin’s journalism is among the motives that investigators were checking, but officials have made no statements on the case.