Russian Cameraman Who Spoke Of Censorship On TV Savagely Beaten

A former cameraman for a Russian state TV broadcaster who has spoken out and given interviews about political censorship and corruption at his former employer has been severely beaten by two men in Moscow, he told RFE/RL in an interview on January 15.

Leonid Krivenkov, 61, who shot political shows on Channel One for 10 years, says the beating took place as he was leaving Kuzminsky Park in the capital on January 11.

The two assailants “were athletically built, tall, and aged approximately 25-30 years with a dog in tow,” he said.

They attacked him from behind, threw him to the ground and started kicking him.

The assailants yelled: “You despicable jerk, we’ll teach you to love your homeland…the fifth column, we will annihilate you.”

Krivenkov said the two men ran away when they noticed passersby approaching the scene.

The following day, the retired cameraman sought medical treatment at an emergency room of a clinic where an X-ray was taken, and severe bruising of the chest and a closed fracture of his nasal bone was registered.

He was promised at the clinic that they would contact the police and provide them with information about the attack and told him to expect a visit from police that evening.

The police never arrived so Krivenkov filed a police report himself on January 13.

For the last two days, “I’ve felt extremely weak, have been running a fever, and my head spins — it looks like in addition [to the other injuries] I also have a concussion.”

In a January 2019 interview with RFE/RL, Krivenkov spoke of election fraud and censorship at Channel One. He also gave several interviews to foreign media based in Moscow.

He noted the attack happened less than two weeks after RFE/RL’s Russian service published a list of the most popular articles in 2019 on December 31 that included the interview with Krivenkov.

“Apparently, many people are annoyed that I am telling the truth about the work methods of the Russian media, and someone gave the go-ahead, [saying] ‘it’s time to deal with Krivenkov,'” he said.

He said the beating was something of a badge of honor.

“If measures of physical action have already begun to be applied to me, it means that I have become noticeable with my position, that means I am really doing something to free my country from the current regime,” Krivenkov said.

He added: “The country is ruled by a bunch of gangsters from the backstreets.”

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