Local journalist shot in southern Russia

New York, December 21, 2017–Russian authorities should investigate today’s violent attack on independent journalist Vyacheslav Prudnikov, and bring those responsible to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said. Prudnikov, who contributes to the independent regional news website Kavkazsky Uzel from the town of Krasny Sulin in Russia’s southern Rostov region, was shot with a weapon during a meeting with a local official, media reported.

Prudnikov told the local news website Don News that he had been meeting a municipal official, who the journalist referred to as Dmitry N. per the official’s request, when a vehicle stopped nearby. A man got out of the vehicle and opened fire on him, yelling, “You criticize local authorities too much, we’ll kill you,” Prudnikov told Don News from a local hospital where he was receiving treatment. The journalist said the shooter and Dmitry N. “disappeared” when another car passed the scene.

“We call on Russia’s federal authorities to take this case out of its local jurisdiction and assign independent investigators to conduct a fair, thorough, and uncompromising investigation into the attack on Vyacheslav Prudnikov,” CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova said. “Too many assaults on journalists go unpunished in Russia. Authorities must break this cycle of impunity and ensure journalists’ safety.”

Prudnikov told Don News he did not recognize the shooter.

Prudnikov has covered social and human rights issues in Krasny Sulin and nearby districts for Kavkazsky Uzel and other local outlets. His recent reports focused on miners’ protests against alleged mismanagement by municipal authorities.

According to Don News, Prudnikov was wounded in the elbow when he covered his head during the shooting. Doctors found an additional bullet in his body, and performed surgery to remove it, the site reported without specifying where this bullet was located.