- F, 40
- army post
- Federal District Plus
- North Caucasus
- Street, Town, Region
- Budyonnovsk, Stavropol Region
- foreign, "Focus" (Germany)
- Other Ties
- Cause of Death
- crossfire, shot
- Legal Qualification
- 349 (violation of rules for handling arms)
- trial, conviction, 1 June 1996; amnesty
On 17 June 1995 at about 10 pm Natalya Alyakina, a correspondent of the RUFO agency and "Focus" magazine (Germany), was killed near a checkpoint of the RF Ministry of Internal Affairs on the outskirts of Budyonnovsk. With her journalist husband Giesbert Mroszek and RIA Novosti photo journalist Oleg Nikishin, she was going to Budyonnovsk, where Chechen fighters led by Shamil Basayev had seized the maternity hospital.
Soldiers at the check point examined their documents and waved through the private car in which they were travelling. They were only 100 meters away when two shots were fired from a machine gun mounted on an APC next to the checkpoint. Alyakina was fatally wounded and died a few minutes later. Over the next two years there was discussion in court and in the media about whether it was technically possible to accidentally fire a machine gun in such a way. [Compare death of Ramzan Khadjiev, 1996]
In July 1996 Private Sergei Fedotov was given a two-year conditional sentence for unintentional manslaughter due to oversight. On appeal the superior court reclassified the offence in June 1997 as infringing the rules for handling weapons, which carried a five year sentence. Fedotov was amnestied as a Chechen war participant.
This is the only occasion on which the death of a journalist covering the first Chechen conflict came to court. In 2005 the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg handed down a ruling about the deaths of forty in Chechnya at the beginning of the second conflict. They including two cameramen, Mezhidov and Gigayev (1999 incident).