Three men suspected of assaulting an activist who criticized a controversial road project could be linked to other similar attacks in Russia, a police source said on Wednesday.
Earlier this week, police detained three men suspected of beating Konstantin Fetisov with a baseball bat on November 4, leaving him in coma.
They also detained a suspected organizer of the attack, Andrei Chernyshov, a member of the administration of Khimki, a town near Moscow.
The source said the men could also be the assailants of Mikhail Beketov, the former editor of a local newspaper who was severely beaten two years ago after criticizing government plans to chop down part of a forest in Khimki to make way for a multi-lane motorway linking Moscow to St. Petersburg.
The project was given the go-ahead on December 14, three months after President Dmitry Medvedev put it on hold pending a full inquiry.
Activists want the road to be re-routed.
They could have also attacked a crusading lawyer, Yevgeny Bobrov, in the Moscow region on December 15.
Fetisov was attacked two days before Oleg Kashin, a journalist with the influential Kommersant newspaper, who was beaten close to death by two men outside his home in Moscow. Kashin, who has been voted Journalist of the Year by Russian bloggers, had also criticized the road project.
Beketov won an award earlier in December for his work from the Austrian branch of Reporters Without Borders.
MOSCOW, December 29 (RIA Novosti)