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Russian journalist names attackers in 2010 near-fatal beating

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Journalist with Kommersant newspaper Oleg Kashin. ©RIA Novosti Journalist with Kommersant newspaper Oleg Kashin. ©RIA Novosti

Russian journalist Oleg Kashin on Monday released the names of three men charged with carrying out a savage beating that left him close to death in 2010, AFP reports.

Kashin, a 35-year-old journalist who reported for Kommersant daily on politics at the time of the attack, wrote on his personal website that three security guards at a factory in the northwestern city of Saint Petersburg have been charged with carrying out the beating.

At the time of the attack, then-president Dmitry Medvedev vowed to punish the culprits behind the attempted murder, which has been linked to Kashin's critical reporting.

"The indictment of these three employees... allows me to consider that the case of attempt on my life on November 6, 2010, has been solved," Kashin said.

Two of the men have been arrested but the main attacker is on the run, he said.

The main attacker smashed Kashin's fingers, neck and jaw with a metal rod after another verified his name. 

The attack took place as the journalist was coming home late at night and he was then left for dead in the street.

Kashin required several operations, with doctors putting him into a coma.

The factory where the men worked is part of a holding owned by the governor of the western Pskov region, Andrei Turchak, a longtime ally of President Vladimir Putin.

The three were paid 3.3 million rubles ($47,800 at the current rate) by the holding's director, Alexander Gorbunov, Kashin wrote on his personal site, alleging that Gorbunov was the attack's organiser.

Kashin said Gorbunov is under arrest over a separate case but claimed he is likely to be freed this week thanks to protection from powerful figures.

Kashin is now a freelance writer and prolific blogger. He spent some time abroad after the attack, only coming back this year.

Formerly a star reporter who covered Russian politics, he has been a supporter of the anti-Putin opposition and spoken at protest rallies.

Speaking to Kommersant FM radio, Kashin said he could not officially point the finger at the powerful governor Turchak but "these are Turchak's people who work in his company, and you can conclude the rest."

He added that the attack happened after he had a public spat with the governor on his Livejournal blog, when Turchak demanded an apology for a critical remark and threatened consequences.

"When a powerful politician's last name is mentioned in a criminal case, his standing in this case is not decided in court," Kashin said. "Somebody in the Kremlin has to decide what to do now."

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