17 October 1994

Russian journalist Dmitry Kholodov is assassinated while investigating corruption in the armed forces.

Dmitry Kholodov
Dmitry Kholodov.jpg
Dmitry Kholodov, journalist
Born
Dmitry Yuryevich Kholodov

(1967-06-21)21 June 1967
Died17 October 1994(1994-10-17) (aged 27)
EducationMoscow Engineering Physics Institute
OccupationJournalist

Dmitry Yuryevich Kholodov (Russian: Дми́трий Ю́рьевич Хо́лодов; 21 July 1967 – 17 October 1994) was a Russian journalist who investigated corruption in the military and was assassinated on 17 October 1994 in Moscow. His assassination was the first of many killings of journalists in Russia.[1]

Early life and education

Kholodov was born in Zagorsk (now Sergiyev Posad) on 21 June 1967. He studied physics.

Career

Kholodov began his working life alongside his parents at the defence industry institute in Klimovsk in the Moscow Region. Faced by limited career prospects he turned to journalism, first working for the local radio. In 1992, he became a reporter with the national Moskovsky Komsomolets daily newspaper.[2]

In 1993, Kholodov travelled to hotspots around the former Soviet Union, reporting for Moskovsky Komsomolets. In particular, he was in Abkhazia during the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict and, as he witnessed the ethnic cleansing of Georgians in Abkhazia, sent many detailed reports, including one entitled "Sukhumi apocalypse".

In October 1993, Kholodov interviewed Defence Minister Pavel Grachev. For the next twelve months, on the basis of leaks from army and Ministry of Defence sources, he wrote and published numerous articles about high-level corruption in the military, especially concerning the misuse of funds intended to ease the withdrawal and resettlement of half a million former Soviet troops and their families who had been based in East Germany. Kholodov was due to speak at Duma hearings into these allegations, which supposedly reached as high as the Defence Minister himself, when he was murdered.[3] None of the allegations were ever tested in court. Grachev was replaced as Defence Minister in 1996 after the end of the First Chechen War.

Assassination

Kholodov died on 17 October 1994 when he opened a booby-trapped briefcase in his newspaper's offices. He had picked up the case that morning from the left-luggage section at a Moscow train station after being told it contained documents exposing corruption in the armed forces. The editors of Kholodov's daily, Moskovsky Komsomolets, accused the Russian military leadership (Defence Minister Grachev in particular) of ordering the killing. The military denied involvement. Speaking as a witness in court some six years later, Pavel Grachev claimed that "some of my subordinates misunderstood my words".[4]

Local and foreign correspondents had already died in Moscow and elsewhere in the country (see List of journalists killed in Russia), but this was the first indisputable targeting of a journalist for their work.[citation needed] Kholodov's murder sent shockwaves through Russia's media community. Reaction abroad was muted, apart from professional media monitors and human rights organisations, and after December 1994 his killing was overshadowed by the onset of the First Chechen War. Kholodov's violent death personalized the risk faced by reporters in Russia, and the long drawn-out investigation and subsequent failure to convict the suspects had a chilling effect on investigative journalism in the country's newly free media.

The case remains unique in one aspect. With one exception (Oleg Sedinko in 2002), explosives have never again been used to kill a journalist in Russia; and unlike the ongoing spate of contract killings no evidence was presented in court that money had been paid to Kholodov's alleged killers. They were acting, apparently, to avoid the displeasure of their superiors and to advance their careers.

Trial and acquittal

The trial of six defendants, four of them serving military officers, began in 2000 at the Moscow District Military Court (see Russian courts). They were acquitted in 2002 and again, after a second trial, in 2004. On both occasions the Prosecutor General's Office protested against the verdict to the Russian Supreme Court.[5]

Kholodov's elderly parents and their lawyers alleged improprieties in the conduct of the trial and the behaviour of the different judges presiding over the two trials (the second of whom, Yevgeny Zubov, would be in charge of the trial of Anna Politkovskaya's alleged killers).[6] An attempt was made to have a complaint about the lack of a fair trial examined before the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. It was rejected on the grounds that the murder preceded Russia's full accession to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms in 1998. By 2004, the killing was also technically beyond the statute of limitation for murder laid down in Russia's 1960 Criminal Code. Speaking in Germany in 2008, however, President Dmitry Medvedev said that the killings of certain journalists were of such importance that there should be no time limit for the prosecution of those responsible.[7] Kholodov's case was still unsolved as of 2009.[1]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "Journalist murder still unsolved 15 years on". RT. 17 October 2009. Retrieved 10 January 2013.
  2. ^ Yekaterina Deyeva, "Dima", Moskovsky komsomolets, 3 July 2002 cited in CJES bulletin.
  3. ^ See Kholodov case study in PARTIAL JUSTICE: An inquiry into the deaths of journalists in Russia Archived 10 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine, June 2009.
  4. ^ Closing speech of lead prosecutor Irina Alyoshina Archived 9 October 2011 at the Wayback Machine (in Russian).
  5. ^ Closing speech, Irina Alyoshina Archived 9 October 2011 at the Wayback Machine (in Russian).
  6. ^ 24 November 2008, Novaya gazeta Archived 7 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine Reports on the first week of the Politkovskaya trial (in English).
  7. ^ See report (in Russian) by Nina Ognianova, Committee to Protect Journalists.

External links

17 October 1814

Eight people die in the London Beer Flood.

On Monday 17th October 1814, a terrible disaster claimed the lives of at least 8 people in St Giles, London. A bizarre industrial accident resulted in the release of a beer tsunami onto the streets around Tottenham Court Road.

The Horse Shoe Brewery stood at the corner of Great Russell Street and Tottenham Court Road. In 1810 the brewery, Meux and Company, had had a 22 foot high wooden fermentation tank installed on the premises. Held together with massive iron rings, this huge vat held the equivalent of over 3,500 barrels of brown porter ale, a beer not unlike stout.

On the afternoon of October 17th 1814 one of the iron rings around the tank snapped. About an hour later the whole tank ruptured, releasing the hot fermenting ale with such force that the back wall of the brewery collapsed. The force also blasted open several more vats, adding their contents to the flood which now burst forth onto the street. More than 320,000 gallons of beer were released into the area. This was St Giles Rookery, a densely populated London slum of cheap housing and tenements inhabited by the poor, the destitute, prostitutes and criminals.

The flood reached George Street and New Street within minutes, swamping them with a tide of alcohol. The 15 foot high wave of beer and debris inundated the basements of two houses, causing them to collapse. In one of the houses, Mary Banfield and her daughter Hannah were taking tea when the flood hit; both were killed.

In the basement of the other house, an Irish wake was being held for a 2 year old boy who had died the previous day. The four mourners were all killed. The wave also took out the wall of the Tavistock Arms pub, trapping the teenage barmaid Eleanor Cooper in the rubble. In all, eight people were killed. Three brewery workers were rescued from the waist-high flood and another was pulled alive from the rubble.

London Beer Flood – 19th century etching
19th century engraving of the event

All this ‘free’ beer led to hundreds of people scooping up the liquid in whatever containers they could. Some resorted to just drinking it, leading to reports of the death of a ninth victim some days later from alcoholic poisoning.

‘The bursting of the brew-house walls, and the fall of heavy timber, materially contributed to aggravate the mischief, by forcing the roofs and walls of the adjoining houses.‘ The Times, 19th October 1814.

Some relatives exhibited the corpses of the victims for money. In one house, the macabre exhibition resulted in the collapse of the floor under the weight of all the visitors, plunging everyone waist-high into a beer-flooded cellar.

The stench of beer in the area persisted for months afterwards.

The brewery was taken to court over the accident but the disaster was ruled to be an Act of God, leaving no one responsible.

The flood cost the brewery around £23000 approx. £1.25 million today. However the company were able to reclaim the excise duty paid on the beer, which saved them from bankruptcy. They were also granted ?7,250 ?400,000 today as compensation for the barrels of lost beer.

This unique disaster was responsible for the gradual phasing out of wooden fermentation casks to be replaced by lined concrete vats. The Horse Shoe Brewery was demolished in 1922; the Dominion Theatre now sits partly on its site.

17 October 1931

Al Capone is convicted of income tax evasion.

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On Oct. 17, 1931, the Chicago mobster Al Capone was convicted on five of 23 income tax evasion counts he faced, and which later yielded an 11-year prison sentence. During the trial, Mr. Capone’s efforts to avoid a strict sentence were thwarted by Judge James H. Wilkerson, who refused to offer a lenient sentence in exchange for a guilty plea. Wilkerson also swapped out the jury after Mr. Capone tried to bribe the people who were serving on it.

The Oct. 18 New York Times reported that Capone was oddly calm as the verdict was read: “Capone grinned as though he felt he had gotten off easily. … Capone faces a maximum of seventeen years’ imprisonment and $50,000 fine. He did not seem to realize that. He kept grinning at all and sundry in the court room, his bulky figure in a screaming green suit (one of the $135 ones) drawing all eyes toward him.”

Capone was a legendary figure in the Chicago underworld. He became a mob boss in 1925 and generated millions of dollars from gambling and bootlegging rackets. He brutally eliminated his rivals—most famously in 1929, when his men killed seven members of George (Bugs) Moran’s gang in the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. He held, according to the Times, “undisputed control of all the illegal sources of revenue in the city and its suburbs.”

Capone’s actions made him an obvious target for federal authorities. Having been convicted in 1929 of a weapons charge, he used his influence to secure a comfortable prison cell in which to serve his short sentence. He was not so lucky the second time around: he was closely guarded in several prisons, including Alcatraz. He was released in 1939, but by then his health had seriously declined as a result of having contracted syphilis. He was unable to return to mob life and died in 1947.

17 October 1814

Eight people die in the London Beer Flood.

hith-london-beer-flood-brewery-drawing-iStock_000013377382Large-V

Late on the Monday afternoon of October 17, 1814, distraught Anne Saville mourned over the body of her 2-year-old son, John, who had died the previous day. In her cellar apartment in London’s St. Giles neighborhood, fellow Irishwomen offered comfort as they waked the small boy and awaited the arrival of their husbands and sons who toiled in grueling manual labor jobs around the city. Upstairs on the first floor of the cramped New Street tenement, Mary Banfield sat down for tea with her 4-year-old daughter, Hannah. Behind the Tavistock Arms public house on nearby Great Russell Street, 14-year-old servant Eleanor Cooper scoured pots at the outdoor water pump in the shadow of a 25-foot-high brick wall.

On the other side of the soaring barrier stood the extensive Bainbridge Street brewery of Messrs. Henry Meux and Co., which dominated the Irish enclave. Founded early in the reign of King George III and famous for its porter, the brewery produced more than 100,000 barrels of the dark-colored nectar each year.

Only two days after the catastrophe, a jury convened to investigate the accident. After visiting the site of the tragedy, viewing the bodies of the victims and hearing testimony from Crick and others, the jury rendered its verdict that the incident had been an “Act of God” and that the victims had met their deaths “casually, accidentally and by misfortune.” Not only did the brewery escape paying damages to the destitute victims, it received a waiver from the British Parliament for excise taxes it had already paid on the thousands of barrels of beer it lost.

17 October 1662

Dunkirk to France buys Dunkirk off Charles II of England for 40,000 pounds.

Second World War: Western Front/ Offensive in the West, May/June 1940. Embarkation of the British expedition force in Dunkirk, after advance of the German Wehrmacht, on 27 May 1940.-British soldiers on board a transporter.-Photo (Scherl / SV-Bilderdienst).

On 27 October 1662, the French king, Louis XIV, happily agreed to take Dunkirk off Charles’s hands for the princely sum of five million lives. But the sale was far from popular at home. Samuel Pepys noted in his diary that he was “sorry to hear that the news of the selling of Dunkirk is taken so generally ill, as I find it is among the merchants”.

The ‘selling off of the family silver’ was widely viewed as a national embarrassment, although as far as Charles was concerned, it was a necessary one. As the Venetian ambassador wily observed, it had been “a course of action to which in other circumstances the English would not descend”. But even port towns have their price.