Man Jailed Over Russia Eco-Activist Attack

KRASNOGORSK, November 30 (RIA Novosti) – A Moscow Region court sentenced a man on Friday to four years in prison after finding him guilty of organizing the savage beating of an environmental protester, allegedly on the orders of a local administration official.

Andrei Kashirin was found guilty of arranging the November 4, 2010 attack on Konstantin Fetisov, an activist protesting government plans to chop down woodland in the Moscow Region town of Khimki to make way for a multi-lane motorway linking Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Fetisov’s attacker was armed with a wooden baseball bat, which mercifully shattered the second time Fetisov was hit in the head with it, according to news reports.

Announcing the verdict, the judge said Kashirin was the go-between who organized the attack.

An ex-official with Khimki’s municipal administration, Andrei Chernyshov, faces charges on suspicions he ordered Kashirin to organize the attack, according to prosecutors.

Fetisov had organized protests and written articles critical of the highway construction project that embarrassed local officials.

The attack on Fetisov came two days before Kommersant journalist Oleg Kashin, who also criticized the Moscow-St.Petersburg highway project, was severely beaten by two men outside his home in Moscow.

Tensions over the controversial Moscow-St. Petersburg road have turned violent in recent years, with a number of brutal assaults on opposition journalists and eco-activists in Khimki. Opponents of the highway also resorted to force when dozens of masked people attacked the city’s main administration building in July 2010.

The construction of the billion-dollar highway was suspended by order of then President Dmitry Medvedev in August 2010, but has since resumed.


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