Date
04/01/2009  
First
Vladislav  
Surname
ZAKHARCHUK  
Sex/Age
M, 23  
Incident
not confirmed  
Motive
?J  
Place
office  
Job
media worker, manager  
Medium
print  
Federal District Plus
FAR EAST  
Street, Town, Region
Vladivostok, Primorsky Region  
Freelance
 
Local/National
local, Arsenyevskie vesti  
Other Ties
 
Cause of Death
Suffocated. Arson?  
Legal Qualification
No information  
Impunity
No information  
Post Image

The body of Vladislav Zakharchuk, advertising manager for "Arsenyevskie vesti", was found on Saturday evening, 4 January 2009, after a fire was extinguished at the newspaper’s offices in Vladivostok. The reasons for the fire and for Zakharchuk’s death are being investigated.

The independent opposition weekly (12,000 print run 2009) is well known for its critical attacks on the authorities in the Primorsky Region and its chief editor Irina Grebnyova and journalists have faced fines and imprisonment in the recent past. One interpretation is that it was a case of arson for political motives. This view was supported by the paper’s readers. Grebnyova suggested there was also a link to the paper’s principled defence and support for those in need.

One of those who benefitted was Vladislav Zakharchuk. A hero of the paper’s articles he became, a few weeks before the fire, its advertising manager. The disabled 23-year-old was forced out of his Vladivostok flat by his uncle and was temporarily living in the two rooms rented as offices by the newspaper. The weekly wrote about his case and appealed to the local authorities, the human rights ombudsman for the Primorsky Region, and to the courts. Meanwhile, "Arsenyevskie vesti" offered practical help, housing and employing him themselves.

Soon after the event the newspaper wrote: “We have many questions about this fire. It started where there was paper but no electric appliances or even electric cables. Who was the woman heard talking loudly with Vladik in the office? She rushed out of the building and almost immediately the fire started. Why didn’t Vladik get up and go out into the corridor ...? Why did he stay and suffocate?...” Grebnyova was then convinced that the fire was linked to Zakharchuk’s situation. Two weeks after the event, she wrote in the newspaper, no one was following up the investigation apart from the local policeman and there was not even a formal record of inspection after the fire.