Oleg Kashin and Investigatory Ineptness

Julia Ioffe has a blog post up detailing some of the horrifying details of the inept investigation into the brutally violent beating of Kommersant journalist Oleg Kashin.

Kashin’s friends report that the preliminary investigation was shoddy until a more elite crew was brought in. At first, however, Kashin’s estranged wife, Evgenia Milova, was repeatedly questioned if Kashin was gay. Some of the detectives hadn’t familiarized themselves with Kashin’s writings and seemed clueless about Twitter and LiveJournal, the two lifelines of the Russian chattering class. One detective, said Kashin’s friend, wrote “Blog,” as if it were an actual publication. Another detective wanted to know “if [Kashin] used his head” — i.e., thought of the consequences — when writing his characteristically sharp commentary. Yet another asked if he knew of “Beketov, the vegetable”?

Last night, Moscow journalists gathered in front of the Central Directorate of Internal Affairs to show solidarity with Kashin and sign a petition calling on President Medvedev to, well, protect journalists. The police left everyone alone and the official spokesman told us they view the vigil/protest “with empathy.” For once.

Click the link above to see the CCTV footage of the attack – it is not for the faint of heart.  There are statements by the Committee to Protect Journalists and Reporters without Borders on the incident.  Dmitry Medvedev has demanded that police apprehend the suspects (via Twitter), but Anna Aruntunyan has more than a few reasons why we shouldn’t expect any sea change with regard to Russia’s climate of impunity.