ST. PETERSBURG, Russia – A prominent Russian journalist who died on Wednesday after being attacked had previously been targeted for his work, his editor said on Thursday.
Before his death, Nikolai Andrushchenko, a 73-year-old journalist at the Novy Peterburg newspaper, had been in a medically induced coma during the six weeks since he was badly beaten on March 9.
Andrushchenko’s attackers have not been identified and investigators have not released any information about his case.
Novy Peterburg’s editor-in-chief, Denis Usov, told repoters on Thursday that Andrushchenko had told his colleagues that unknown people had beaten him up before, demanding that he reveal his sources and details of his research.
“Novy Peterburg, a weekly publication that he co-founded, recently ran a series of articles about city officials’ mafia connections.” https://t.co/YbYk9omXLb
— grollen (@grollen) April 20, 2017
“Andrushchenko told us a while ago that unknown people went up to him outside his house, beat him up and demanded that he give away the files related to a previous investigation,” Usov said, adding that the journalist did not share with his colleagues what he was working on at the time.
The editor said Andrushchenko was found on the street with a broken skull and that the newspaper staff learned about the attack on him several days after it happened. Investigators have not contacted the newspaper, Usov said.
Andrushchenko, a St. Petersburg city council member in the early 1990s, was among the founders of Novy Peterburg, where he made a name for himself writing about human rights issues and crime.