Life in Putin Russia can be comfortable for those who toe the official line that life in Putin Russia is wonderful, but dare to utter criticism against the semi-authoritarian regime of the ex-KGB man, and the result might be uncomfortable. There are no witnesses to what happened to Mikhail Beketov, editor of the small circulation Khimkinskaya Pravda, but neighbors found the body of the newsman lying in a pool of blood close to his home. Vladmir Kursa, his half brother, said bluntly: “this was the result of the his professional activities, because he did not have a comfortable relationship with the mayor’s office.” Oleg Mitvol, a leader in the fight for environmental issues, echoed in: “Beketov is already the third editor to end up in intensive care.”
Individuals like Beketov are fighting to protect the right of freedom of speech and their enemies are those in power. His leg was amputated and he lost some fingers because he lay for so long unattended. After hesitation, city authorities finally gave the OK for a meeting and about 1,000 attended. Beketov continually challenged government activities, particularly building projects and he was rewarded, with a broken skull.