Date
27/02/1995  
First
Maxim  
Surname
Shabalin  
Sex/Age
M, 27  
Incident
missing  
Motive
?J  
Place
town  
Job
journalist  
Medium
print  
Federal District Plus
Chechnya  
Street, Town, Region
Orekhovo, Chechnya  
Freelance
no  
Local/National
local, Nevskoe vremya  
Other Ties
 
Cause of Death
?shot  
Legal Qualification
no information  
Impunity
investigation  
Post Image

Maxim Shabalin, head of the political news department at Nevskoe vremya (St Petersburg), went missing in Chechnya sometime after 27 February 1995. He was expected back in Petersburg on 4 March.

Shabalin was accompanied by the newspaper’s photographer Felix Titov. The two joined the Nevskoe vremya daily soon after it was founded in 1991. Since then they had reported together from many other hot spots: Tajikistan, Abkhazia, Georgia, North Ossetia, Transdniester and Bosnia. This was Shabalin’s sixth trip to Chechnya where he was well known both to Dudayev’s entourage and to the Chechen opposition to Dudayev. Since they did not have accreditation it seemed clear they would be in parts of Chechnya controlled by Dudayev’s supporters.

They flew on 25 February from Petersburg to Mineralnye vody (Kabardino-Balkaria) and then made their own way to Chechnya. By 9 March public concern was expressed for their safety. Over the next nine months Nevskoe vremya organised no less than eight expeditions to find the missing journalists, during one of which a third journalist Sergei Ivanov went missing.

Reports suggested Titov and Shabalin had been killed by Dudayev’s local security chief near Orekhovo in Chechnya. Even when the fighting ended in August 1996 and a joint Chechen-Russian committee was set up to locate missing soldiers, civilians and journalists it proved it impossible to verify these claims.