Another Russian has died since Russiagate began. Journalist Nikolai Andrushchenko was severely beaten by unidentified attackers six weeks ago, then placed into a medically induced coma. He died from those injuries Wednesday. He is the 12th journalist to die under questionable circumstances – so far.
In a country where being a journalist is a hazardous duty, Andrushchenko braved the danger and wrote critically of President Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin. The seventy-three-year-old co-founder of Novy Petersburg newspaper wrote about corruption in St. Petersburg. The editor-in-chief of the newspaper Denis Usov believes these articles set Andrushchenko’s death in motion, according to The Independent.
The journalist was known for his human rights and crime articles, but doing his job made his life extremely difficult. The Committee to Protect Journalists [CPJ] said that Andrushchenko went to prison in 2007 after he covered a murder investigation and trial. He was charged with obstruction of justice and defamation of character, The Independent wrote.
During that timeframe, his colleagues said they believed the real reason he was imprisoned was due to covering “local authorities ahead of parliamentary elections,” according to The Independent. Andrushchenko’s beating in March was not his first. In 2007, unknown assailants attacked him, according to CPJ.
Russia claims there is no censorship, but the government has used intimidation and physical violence to enforce its unwritten law. As a result, the country lacks real “freedom of expression and free flow of information,” according to ARTICLE 19. Russia is enacting new legislation to restrict the media, particularly those who publish their articles online.
ARTICLE 19 recently produced a film Journalists Under Attack. Russian journalist Svetlana Svistunova worked with the Russian Union of Journalists and the Mass Media Defence Centre, Voronezh to produce the film.
The production explores the ever-increasing “hostile environment for journalists working in the country today.” Svistunova focused on the “challenges and risks faced by journalists and media outlets,” ARTICLE 19 wrote on its site.
Russian activist and documentary producer Vladimir Kara-Murza nearly died twice from two separate poisonings in Moscow. He holds dual British-Russian citizenship and was promoting his documentary about another opposition leader shot and killed yards from the Kremlin.
RIA Novosti, a state news agency, reported that Usov said Andrushchenko had been in a medically induced coma since March 9th. The journalist’s attorney and Usov reported his death, The Independent reported.
Andrushchenko belonged to the St. Petersburg city council between 1990 and 1993
Check out Svetlana Svistunova’s video about Russian journalists below:
Featured Image: Mustapha Itani’s Twitter Page.