Kommersant reporter Oleg Kashin, who spent about a week in a drug-induced coma after a severe beating Nov. 6, published on Monday his first column since the incident — just as an alleged attacker released a video on YouTube.
A one-minute recording shows a masked man saying in a digitally distorted voice that he and his unidentified accomplices were only contracted to imitate a beating by certain “very influential people,” who are now looking to dispose of them.
The attackers, who were not aware of Kashin's identity, are willing to cooperate with authorities to avoid being killed but do not trust the investigators so far, the man in the video said, adding that another video exposing the employer would be uploaded to YouTube if anything happens to him.
It remained unclear why the alleged attacker spoke about the beating being an imitation, as Kashin sustained multiple broken bones, including jaws and fingers, in the attack. Investigators were examining the video, Interfax reported Monday.
Kashin did not comment on the beating and named no suspects in his column, published in Kommersant's magazine Vlast before the video's release. He focused instead on the public outcry over the attack, comparing waking up from a coma to find himself in the spotlight to how Yury Gagarin must have felt after he became the first man in space in 1961.
Several public events have been staged in support of Kashin so far. President Dmitry Medvedev has condemned the attack, and a police source said this week that the investigators had a “real chance” of solving the case.