A Russian anti-corruption activist has died after being attacked by masked attackers with baseball bats, Russian officials have said.
Dmitry Gribov, head of the Centre for Action Against Corruption in the Moscow area, was attacked on Monday evening in the village of Vinogradovo, according to investigators in Voskresensky District, which is in the Moscow region.
A local resident who witnessed the beating in Voskresensk, 100 kilometers southeast of central Moscow, reportedly chased away the attackers after threatening to call the police. Gribov died from his injuries in hospital.
Viktor Kostromin, chairman of the NGO’s council, said he believes Gribov was attacked because of his efforts to fight corruption.
“I consider the crime to be connected to Gribov’s public and anticorruption activities,” Kostromin said.
He said that hours before the attack, Gribov had attended a hearing at a local court that has been handling a case involving a previous attack on the activist.
Four years ago, unidentified assailants attacked Gribov and burned his car, Kostromin said.
“Three men had beaten Dmitry in an everyday conflict on the road two years ago,” Kostromin was quoted as saying.
“His car was torched, he had sued for [police] inaction and finally secured a case against one of the attackers.”
The Center for Action Against Corruption seeks to combat corruption and provide support for people bringing corruption charges against public and private organisations.
Activists and journalists who seek to uncover corruption among Russian authorities at all levels face major risks. Many have been attacked and maimed or killed.