Shafig Amrakhov

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

On December 30, 2008, an unidentified assailant shot and
seriously wounded Amrakhov, editor of the online regional news agency RIA 51,
in his apartment building in the northern city of Murmansk, the independent
news agency Regnum reported. The assailant shot the journalist several times in
the head, using what is known as a non-lethal traumatic pistol, the local press

According to local press reports, Amrakhov was conscious immediately after the
attack and managed to give his family details. He was taken to a Murmansk hospital, where
he underwent several hours of surgery. He slipped into a coma after the surgery
and died on January 5, Regnum reported.

Local police reportedly considered several potential motives for the attack,
including Amrakhov’s journalism, the local channel TV-21 reported. Several
local reports said the choice of weapon suggested the attacker intended to
intimidate the journalist but not necessarily kill him. 

On January 22, Gen. Vitaly Fedotov, head of the Murmansk region police department, told TV-21
that investigators had ruled out Amrakhov’s journalism as a motive. He would
not disclose what investigators believed the motive was.

The Moscow-based Glasnost Defense Foundation said the
journalist suffered a concussion in a 1997 attack in which an unknown assailant
struck him in the head with a blunt object in the entrance to his apartment
building. In February 2008, Amrakhov publicly protested the authorities’
decision to deny him accreditation for then-President Vladimir Putin’s last press conference
as head of state. In his public letter, carried by local media, he criticized
the economic policies of Murmansk Gov. Yuri Yevdokimov.