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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News Bureaus Call Out the Big Guns

Moscow's foreign press corps swelled this week as news bureaus brought in veteran Moscow correspondents and additional crews from all over the globe to cover Russia's political crisis.


In crowded offices, correspondents churned out stories that once again made the front pages and occupied prime news slots on radio and television stations back home.


Leonid Parkhomenko, who handles accreditation for foreign correspondents at the Russian Foreign Ministry, said Monday, that his office had accredited an additional 95 foreign journalists since President Boris Yeltsin issued his decree imposing "special rule".


"We now have more than 1, 553 accredited foreign correspondents in Moscow", he said.


At Cable News Network Television, the staff nearly doubled when an additional 20 correspondents, producers, cameramen and engineers arrived from the United States and Europe.


They included Eileen O'Connor, who was based in Moscow for three years until moving to Tokyo last summer; Peter Humi, CNN's Paris bureau chief who was here to cover the August 1991 coup and Gill Dougherty, the network's White House correspondent in Washington.


"There's no place to put anyone else", said Alessio Vinci, assignments editor at CNN Moscow. On the heels of Monday's recess of the Congress of Deputies, Vinci anticipated many of the additional journalists would leave by the end of the week.


TFI Television Francaise brought in two additional correspondents, and Tokyo Broadcasting System brought two reporters and two cameramen. Because of a snag over getting visas at the airport, two of the Japanese crew spent the night at Sheremetyevo 2, said Ryoko Kikuchi of Tokyo Broadcasting's Moscow bureau.


NBC Television's bureau grew by four newsmen and a dog, said Nuri Katz, business administrator. Cameraman Kyle Eppler, who had left Moscow last autumn for Miami with Buddy, a Moscow canine, brought his four-legged companion back with him.


NBC correspondent Jim Macada and his wife, Cindy, who left Moscow for Burbank, California several months ago, and a producer and engineer from London also flew to town.


Jim Sheppard, another veteran Moscow correspondent, is also back at the Canadian Press bureau, which closed Dec. 31.


"I came back for the first Congress, which convened on March 10", said Sheppard, who had manned the bureau for three years and has been working in the London bureau since January covering the former Soviet Union, Asia and Africa.


"I expected it to be a short-term assignment, but it has extended rapidly", Sheppard said. Though he's not certain how long he'll stay, he said he strongly suspected the bureau would "beef up our coverage throughout the referendum".


Several other former Moscow foreign correspondents are among the flock of recent arrivals. They include Neela Banerjee, a Wall Street Journal reporter who is now based in New York, and Steve Crawshaw of The Independent, which also sent Imre Karacs of London to help cover events here.


As journalists poured into Moscow, one correspondent found herself postponing, once again, her plans to leave. Juliet O'Neill of Canada's Southam News, who supposedly ended her assignment here last month, is still covering the Kremlin.


"I never did get out because of the story", O'Neill said. "I hope to leave any day -- as soon as I have time to pack". The bureau's new correspondent arrives in May, so O'Neill anticipates she may be among the press corps returning this spring to cover Russia's breaking news stories.