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Editor Maxim Zolotarev assaulted by three unidentified men

(GDF/IFEX) - On 12 March 2009, Maxim Zolotarev, editor of "Molva Yuzhnoye Podmoskovye" newspaper, was assaulted by three unidentified men in the town of Serpukhov, near Moscow. He described the incident in his web blog stressing that "I am happy I survived."

"Molva Yuzhnoye Podmoskovye" is distributed in Serpukhov, the surrounding towns of Protvino, Pushchino, Obolensk, and often features critical articles on political themes of local importance.

"Investigators see the beating as directly linked to my professional work, they are convinced it was a pre-meditated crime," Zolotarev said.

On the afternoon of 12 March, as Zolotarev was walking towards his car near his apartment, three men got out of a Mitsubishi parked nearby, discharged a gas pistol into his face, and pushed him off his feet. They then gave him several blows with an iron bar, got back into their car and drove away. The editor managed to stagger back to his apartment to call an ambulance and the police.

"There have been similar incidents in Khimki, Saratov, and elsewhere. If they had wanted to, they might have crippled or even killed me, but they didn't," Zolotarev said. He warned other journalists writing on politics to, "Think a thousand times before sitting down to write political stuff. I was warned. Now I am warning you. And yes, I am quitting my journalistic work."

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