RUSSIA

Killed


January 25
Oleg Slabynko, Russian Television Channel 2, KILLED
Slabynko, a producer of the news programs"Moment of Truth" and "Forgotten Names" on Russian Television Channel 2 and a general manager of the advertising agency Time Moves Forward, was shot to death by two men in the doorway of his Moscow apartment late at night. Before showing up at his home, the assassins had called Slabynko to make sure he was there. The next day, CPJ urged Russian authorities to conduct a thorough investigation into the murder and bring to justice those responsible. A month later, the office of Russia's general prosecutor responded in a letter stating that a police task force was assigned to the case and that investigations were also under way in the murders of journalists Vladislav Listyev, Dmitry Kholodov and Vadim Alferyev. At year's end the case was still not solved and CPJ was unable to confirm that Slabynko's murder was related to his journalism.

February 26
Felix Solovyov, Free-lancer, KILLED
Solovyov, a free-lance photojournalist who contributed to the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag, was shot and killed by unidentified gunmen in central Moscow. The Russian news agency Itar-Tass reported that police found two pistols with silencers and eight cartridges at the scene of the murder. In 1994, Solovyov's picture portfolio on mafia groups in Moscow was published in Bild am Sonntag and two other newspapers in Germany. A Bild am Sonntag journalist said that Solovyov was an occasional contributor and that it did not believe his murder was related to the 1994 publication of the portfolio but could be related to other subjects he had photographed. Bild am Sonntag also said that Solovyov had discussed story ideas with the newspaper in a trip to Germany two weeks before his death. CPJ urged Russian authorities to open an immediate investigation into Solovyov's death and bring to justice those responsible.

March 11
Viktor Pimenov,Vaynakh, KILLED
Pimenov, a cameraman for Vaynakh, the Chechen television station controlled by pro-Moscow forces, was killed in Grozny, Chechnya's capital. The Russian state news service Itar-Tass reported that Pimenov was shot in the back by a sniper hiding on the roof of a 16-floor building on Lenin Street. Pimenov was filming the aftermath of the Chechen insurgents' raid on Grozny, which lasted from March 6 to March 9. During the raid Russian military officials had prevented all journalists from entering Grozny.

March 30
Nadezhda Chaikova, Obshchaya Gazeta, KILLED
Chaikova, a correspondent with the daily Obshchaya Gazeta, was shot and killed by unidentified gunmen. Residents of the Chechen village of Gekhi discovered her body on March 30 near a sewage pipe on the outskirts of town. According to a report from the Chechen prosecutor, the villagers then buried Chaikova in a corner of their local cemetery. On April 11, Chaikova's body was exhumed and identified by Obshchaya Gazeta colleagues. Photos taken before her burial and a forensic examination of her body after exhumation suggest that she was battered, blindfolded, forced into a kneeling position and shot in the back of the head. Chaikova had been on assignment in Chechnya since March 6 and was last seen by colleagues in Sernovodsk on or about March 20. She was reported to have left Samashki with refugees on March 21. Chaikova, who had frequently travelled to Chechnya and the surrounding regions, was known for her hard-hitting coverage of the war and issues such as the use of special 'filtration' prison camps by Russian authorities to control the population. CPJ urged the Yeltsin government to launch a federal investigation into the matter, but to date no investigation has been opened. In a follow-up conversation on June 11, Chaikova's colleagues at Obshchaya Gazeta reiterated to CPJ that the federal Russian prosecutor's office still has not opened an investigation into her death and that the local Chechen village prosecutor who originally took up the case could not go far because of limited resources. The editors of Obshchaya Gazeta have mounted their own investigation and discovered that Chaikova was known to have videotaped the destroyed village of Samashki. They learned that she was attempting to transmit the film out of Chechnya and was also reported to have been seen with a television cameraman in a Chechen village on March 24.

May 9
Nina Yefimova, Vozrozhdeniye, KILLED
Yefimova, a reporter for the local Russian-language newspaper Vozrozhdeniye (Revival) in the Chechen capital of Grozny, was found dead from a pistol shot to the back of her head. According to the state news agency ITAR-TASS, Yefimova and her mother were abducted from their apartment on the outskirts of Grozny on the night of May 8. Yefimova's body was discovered the morning of May 9 in Grozny's Leninsky District, and her mother was found that night in a deserted canned food factory in the city. A local law enforcement official, who declined to give reporters his name, claimed that Yefimova's murder was committed 'for private reasons.' But journalists in Grozny and Moscow believe that her murder was related to stories she had published about crime in Chechnya. CPJ urged President Boris Yeltsin to launch an immediate investigation into the case and prosecute those responsible for the murders.

May 12
Viktor Mikhailov, Zabaikalsky Rabochy, KILLED
Mikhailov, a crime reporter for the daily newspaper Zabaikalsky Rabochy in southeastern Siberia, was killed by unknown assailants in broad daylight in the city center of Chita. His mutilated body was identified the following day. Reports say Mikhailov had been covering crime and the work of law enforcement agencies at the time of his death. CPJ has urged Russian authorities to conduct a thorough investigation of the murder.

August 11
Ramzan Khadzhiev, Russian Public Television (ORT), KILLED
Khadzhiev, chief of the Northern Caucasus bureau of Russian Public Television (ORT), was shot dead while attempting to leave Grozny, capital of the secessionist republic of Chechnya, with his wife and young son. Khadzhiev was shot in the head twice after being waved through a Russian military checkpoint. NTV, Russia's only independent television station, and the state-owned television station RTR both broadcast an account by an unidentified man who said he was a passenger in Khadzhiev's car. The man said that Khadzhiev presented his ORT press credentials to Russian soldiers at the checkpoint and was waved through, but then Russian armored vehicles opened fire on the journalist's car, an unmarked Volga. ORT reported a different account, saying that Khadzhiev, an ethnic Chechen, may have been targeted by Chechen rebels because of his support for the current Moscow-installed government in Chechnya. CPJ issued a press release about the murder, saying the Russian government's lack of reaction to the murder of journalists in Chechnya effectively condones further violence against journalists in the future. Khadzhiev was the 10th journalist to be killed in Chechnya since December 1994.

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