Pavel Sheremet, a leading journalist fighting for freedom in Moscow, Minsk, and Kiev, was blown up as he drove to work.”>

KIEV The people who blew up journalist Pavel Sheremet in the center of Ukraines capital this morning knew exactly what they were doing. His death stabbed at the hearts of independent journalists in countries all over the former Soviet Unioncountries where the press is under siege.

For them, the 44 -year-old Sheremet was not just a reporter, he was a journalistic institution, and the founder , not least, of local schools in Kiev for young reporters. He published newspaper articles, spoke on Radio Vesti, and expressed his strong sentiments on blogs and social networks.

For two decades Sheremets sharp reports assaulted dictators and autocratic regimes. He was fearless, much like his old friend Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, who also was a victim of assassination.

At about 7:45 Wednesday morning Sheremet was driving his girlfriends Subaru to work at Radio Vesti when the vehicle explosion at the corner of Bagdan Khmelnitsky Avenue near a popular McDonalds. The journalists legs were just gone. Bleeding massively, he struggled to crawl out of the car. Several people rushed to the burning vehicle, but there was no hope.

Sheremets assassins had been skillful. They planted an explosive device equivalent to 400 to 600 grams of TNT beneath the drivers posture, according to the Ukrainian interior ministry. By noon the news traveled from mouth to mouth in cafe, taxis and stores of Ukraine.

The assassination was another example of Ukraines slide toward the abyss. The countrys leadership is losing supporting day by day; the economy is deteriorating; the security services are mired in international scandals. Apparently random assaults are growing more commonplace. The illegal market for deadly weapons is growing.

Almost each week new, random assaults are reported, while in the eastern part, the war with the breakaway republics is growing hotter. The night before Sheremets murder local media recorded seven Ukrainian soldiers killed and 14 wounded in one day.

The nightmarish assassination of Sheremet shook up the country, heightening the profound distrust of government that exists already. To avoid manipulation or interference with investigation by different political powers, President Petro Poroshenko asked the American FBI to get involved helping Ukraine to be determined the truth about Sheremets death.

In these former Soviet countries assassins target the brave, the famous, the people whose demises would leave us speechless, breathless. Dozens of strong voices have been silenced in the past decades, including Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya, human rights activist Natalia Estemirova, lawyer Stanislav Markelov in Russia, Belarusian journalist Dmitry Zlavadsky in Belarus, and Ukrainian journalist Georgy Gangadze.

Sheremet had plenty of enemies, and not only in Kiev but in Moscow and in Minsk, in his native Belarus. Death threats had followed the journalist since the early 1990 s, where reference is began to cover news first out of his own garage in Minsk, then on his website, Belorussian Partisan. I am[ Belarusian] despot[ Alexander] Lukashenkos personal foe, Sheremet liked to say. He openly blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin for autocratic methods and violations of the constitution. In Russia we are going to see a short term but severe tyranny, Sheremet alerted in 2012.

Five years ago the journalist moved from Moscow, where he was already a well-known television anchor, to run and live in Ukraine. Almost every day Sheremets posts assaulted Ukrainian nationalists, corrupted bureaucrats and the military. Sheremet told The Daily Beast earlier this year that Renat Akhmetov, the Ukrainian tycoon blamed by investigative reporters for his cooperation with rebel leaders in the east, should be put on trial for the war in Ukraine.

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