Officials eyed in attacks on Khimki environmentalists

A secret witness has been giving evidence in the case of a Khimki Forest protester who was brutally beaten last year. Investigators hope his revelations will help solve a series of crimes against local environmentalists and public activists.

­Media reports indicate that those being investigated include Andrey Chernyshov, chief of the Khimki municipal property department, along with his five of his co-workers. They are being investigated for ordering two attacks on a Khimki Forest preservation activist, Konstantin Fetisov.

The first attack reportedly took place in September 2010, and was classified as battery. The next attack took place two months later, and was so brutal it was classified as attempted murder.

Local media have alleged that he was attacked because of his activism against the development of a highway through Khimki Forest. The proposed highway through Khimki Forest, which will connect Moscow and St. Petersburg, was controversial from the beginning, with violence connected to the project already recorded in 2008.

The six men under investigation are believe to have acted for either monetary benefit or professional advancement, and investigators are looking into their possible ties to attacks on three other people in and around the forest. Investigators have said their probe may be far reaching, and have vowed to get to the bottom of the matter.

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