Popular Radio Host Killed in Car Crash

MTGennady Bachinsky
Popular radio host Gennady Bachinsky died when his car collided head-on with a minivan in the Tver region, traffic police said Monday.

Bachinsky, 36, once known as the Howard Stern of Russian radio, died when his Volkswagen Golf collided with the minivan as he apparently tried to pass a truck at around 3:40 a.m. Saturday on the Kalyazin-Sergiyev Posad highway, police said.

Two female passengers inside his car and the driver of the minivan suffered multiple, not life-threatening injuries in the crash, Kommersant reported.

Bachinsky made a name for himself as the co-host of "Two in One," the top-rated morning talk show broadcast for about five years on Radio Maximum. He and co-host Sergei Stillavin frankly discussed sex and often used off-color humor on the show, a rarity in a country where bad language is avoided in entertainment.

"For us it's just a way to attract the audience's attention," Bachinsky said in an interview with The Moscow Times in 2005. "No doubt we sometimes lay it on too thick. But we are people, and we improvise. We don't agree on anything before we go on the air."

Bachinsky quit Maximum last year after a falling out with its management. He most recently was the co-host of a popular morning talk show on Mayak, the state radio station.

Some 170,000 notes of condolence had been posted on Mayak's web site by Monday, Gazeta.ru reported.

An investigation was continuing into the deadly crash Monday. Police were examining the cars and trying to reconstruct what happened. Both cars were traveling at about 100 kilometers per hour when the crash occurred, Kommersant said.

Traffic accidents are a huge problem in Russia. More than 312,000 people -- including at least two governors -- have been killed in car crashes over the past decade, more than the death toll in the Afghan and Chechen wars combined. Kostroma Governor Viktor Shershunov was killed Sept. 20 when his Mercedes collided with a Ford sedan on Yaroslavskoye Shosse, north of Moscow. In August 2005, Altai region Governor Mikhail Yevdokimov died when his Mercedes grazed another car and crashed into a tree. The governor's car was traveling at more than 200 kilometers per hour with flashing lights and a siren. The driver of the other car, Oleg Shcherbinsky, was initially found guilty in the accident, but he was released amid national protests by a group of drivers.

Bachinsky was born Sept. 1, 1971, in the town of Yarovoye in the Altai region. He got his break in radio in St. Petersburg, where he co-hosted a number of popular shows with Stillavin in the 1990s before moving to Moscow in 2001. He also hosted shows on television.

Stillavin and Bachinsky's widow attended a memorial service for Bachinsky at the Kablukovsky Monastery outside the town of Kashin on Sunday.

The funeral will be held Tuesday at the Central House of Journalists in Moscow, and Bachinsky will be buried afterward, Mayak said. The cemetery had yet to be chosen late Monday.

In addition to his wife, Bachinsky is survived by two daughters. The youngest is 2 months old.