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Politkovskaya, Klebnikov, Kashin . . .

Kashin, seen in Moscow journalist circles as something of an expert on youth groups, reported extensively and harshly on Nashi, which is a notoriously closed and guarded group: “Worse than a cult,” Kashin says. The head of Nashi and of Russian youth politics more broadly, Vasily Yakemenko, is said to have dormant connections to Moscow street gangs and organized crime, specifically a group that once regularly beheaded its victims. “My sources were telling me that Yakemenko considers me an enemy — I mean, an enemy, enemy, enemy, enemy,” Kashin says. While Kashin lay in a coma, Yakemenko’s possible role in the attack was openly debated in the Russian press. But 10 days after the beating, Putin summoned Yakemenko to his office to talk about physical education. In Russia, a signal like this is obvious, and the system responds accordingly, dragging its feet and letting an investigation gather dust. Going after someone in Putin’s circle is just not worth it.

Foreign Policy on the brutal assault of journalist Oleg Kashin and the explanation for  the total failure to bring his attackers to justice, just as the killers of Politkovskaya and Klebnikov have never been found.  Some said Politkovskaya’s case was special because she dared to report on Chechnya. But neither Kashin nor Klebnikov did that.

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