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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016


Journalist's Testimony

Obshchaya Gazeta is leading its own investigation into the death of [its correspondent in Chechnya] Nadezhda Chaikova. You are about to read [excerpts of] the transcript of a video cassette that came to the editors' office recently.

I first spent about four months in Chechnya as a correspondent for Radio Rossii. Afterwards I joined the military law editorial staff of Itar-Tass news agency and spent about 20 days there.

When I returned the chief editor said that I should meet with two workers from the intelligence service. He said: "Don't you understand where you're working. This is Itar-Tass. You were in enemy territory. And now you must tell everything you saw." I tried to joke that I had a concussion and forgot everything. He also joked: "In Lubyanka's deep basements, your memory will come back to you."

It was in July that the intelligence service made its real efforts to recruit me. A woman from the magazine Granitsa Rossii was living with me at the time. One day a man who called himself a doctor at a border guard hospital came to visit her. He was very interested in knowing why I had faxes, photographs of Chechen leaders and a flag of Ichkeria on my desk ... The "doctor" said: "I know the work of the intelligence services. You'll have to answer not only for yourself but for your child's life. The first time he'll be roughed up, and the next time he'll be knifed."

I am a Russian journalist. I see that there are crimes being committed in Chechnya and that our intelligence services promote them. I am a journalist and don't want to be recruited or carry out anyone's commands.

P.S. This video cassette was made on Aug. 9, 1995 in the Chechen village of Shali. Nadezhda was killed this March, eight months after the interview."

Obshchaya Gazeta, Oct. 24-30.