On April 26, Arkady Lander, editor-in-chief of the Sochi newspaper, Mestnaya, was brutally attack in front of his home. Lander is in a hospital with a fractured skull after being beaten on the head with metal rods, RFE/RL's Russian service reports.
The newspaper was launched in Sochi in the beginning of the year and was circulated for free. It was produced as an election-related project, in advance of local elections that took place in the city in March. It provided an alternative point of view to the city's official press and often criticized local developments, including the candidacies of several participants in the local elections. The newspaper was financed through private contributions.
Lander attributes the attack to his professional activities. A criminal case has been launched and will make use of information provided by Lander’s neighbors, who witnessed the attack.
The Committee to Protect Journalists condemned the attack, calling on authorities in Sochi to "carry out a swift, thorough, and effective probe...Witnesses and the editor himself can identity the attackers. We call on the officials responsible to prevent impunity from prevailing in yet another case of a physical attack on a Russian journalist,” the media watchdog said.