MOSCOW, January 10 (Marc Bennetts, RIA Novosti) – A Russian opposition activist who was brutally beaten early on Thursday said he was certain the attack was linked to his anti-corruption efforts.
“I have no doubts this was connected to my political and anti-corruption activities,” activist Yevgeny Domozhirov told RIA Novosti by telephone from hospital.
“I am not involved in business and I am being trailed constantly by FSB [Federal Security Service] officers, so it would have been hard for a common criminal to attack me,” he added.
Domozhirov, 38, was attacked by an unknown assailant with a large stick after dropping his child off at kindergarten in the northwest Russian city of Vologda, some 400km from Moscow. He tweeted details of the attack while receiving medical assistance at the scene of the crime and posted photographs of his injuries online. His 12-year-old daughter witnessed the assault. Domozhirov said he caught a partial look of his attacker’s face.
Police have launched an investigation. Domozhirov’s injuries were not life-threatening.
A former Vologda regional parliament lawmaker with the opposition A Just Russia party, Domozhirov was stripped of his seat last year after a court found him guilty of assaulting two police officers and fined him 120,000 rubles ($4,000). He denied the charges.
Domozhirov is the head of the Vologda “Vmeste” (Together) movement, which seeks to expose alleged corruption by regional officials and police officers.
“This is not the first time I’ve been attacked,” he told RIA, citing an incident in June during which his car was fired at as he travelled to a Moscow opposition march.
Domozhirov was unhurt in the June assault, but his girlfriend received light injuries. Police have opened a criminal investigation into the alleged attack, but have yet to charge anyone.