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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

MAILBOX: Journalists Speak Out on Media-MOST Raid


Secretariat of the Russian Union of Journalists (RUJ)

The Secretariat of RUJ views Thursday's armed raid against Media-MOST holding as an anti-constitutional, arbitrary act by the government, conducted with the goal of intimidating the independent mass media. The clumsy attempts by representatives of the agencies of law and order to explain this illegal act as being in the interests of an investigation cannot hide the obvious political overtones of what has happened. This was a real attempt to introduce the censorship by "black masks" in Russia.

We are particularly disturbed by the fact that this act is a link in a chain of many attempts by the authorities to limit freedom of expression in Russia. The actions of the Press Ministry, which has issued illegal warnings to members of the mass media that have their own point of view; the use of the licensing process for electronic mass media outlets as an instrument for the political selection of television and radio broadcasters; the introduction of censorship in the newspaper Izvestia in the Saratov region; the provocative acts by law enforcement agencies against journalist Andrei Babitsky and many other instances all create a general picture of an attack by bureaucrats on freedom of information. In the regions, the violations of freedom of expression and of the rights of journalists are widespread.

The repeal of tax and other privileges for the mass media - adopted by the State Duma in a first reading on the initiative of the government of the Russian Federation - deals a crippling blow to the economic foundation of freedom of expression and the independence of the mass media.

The Secretariat of the RUJ addresses the president of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, with a demand that he fulfill his functions in guaranteeing the Constitution, that he defend freedom of information in Russia and give an accounting of the arbitrary actions by law enforcement officials in relation to Media-MOST, and also provide an accounting of the other instances of pressure on independent mass media outlets.

We express a vote of "no confidence" in the head of the Press Ministry, Mikhail Lesin, who, in his eight-month tenure, has not done anything to strengthen freedom of information and whose name is firmly linked, in the eyes of the journalistic community, with attempts to resurrect the traditions of agitprop and political censorship. We propose to the president that he consider the opinion of the journalistic community in forming his new Cabinet.

We express a vote of "no confidence" in the acting Prosecutor General, Vladimir Ustinov, who is not ensuring the observance of law in Russia, as is manifest in his toleration of many violations of freedom of information. We propose to members of the Federation Council that his candidacy not be supported, should it be put forward by the president of the Russian Federation.

This announcement has been adopted unanimously at a meeting of the Secretariat of the Russian Union of Journalists on May 12, 2000.

Rustem Mustafayevich Arifdzhanov, Versiya

Manana Albertovna Aslamazyan,

Internews agency

Vsevolod Leonidovich Bogdanov,


Matt Bivens,

The Moscow Times

Alexei Alexeyevich Venediktov,

Ekho Moskvy

Yevgeny Borisovich Golubev,

Vsya Rossiya information agency

Pavel Nikolayevich Gusev,

Moskovsky Komsomolets

Anatoly Nikolayevich Zolotov,

Central House of Journalists

Alexander Germanovich Kolodny,


Sarah Karush,

The Moscow Times

Vladimir Nikolayevich Sungorkin,

Komsomolskaya Pravda

Yulian Stanislavovich Lukasik,


Viktor Grigoryevich Loshak,

Moskovskiye Novosti

Anatoly Grigoryevich Lysenko,


Igor Yevgenyevich Malashenko,


Gennady Petrovich Maltsev,

Zhurnalist magazine

Dmitry Alexandrovich Murzin,

Vremya MN

Dmitry Andreyevich Muratov,

Novaya Gazeta

Igor Georgiyevich Kovler,


Mikhail Fyodorovich Nenashev,

Russkaya Kniga

Olga Vyacheslavovna Nikulina,

Union of Distributors of Print Publications

Leonid Antonovich Rechitsky,


Oleg Maximovich Poptsov,

TV Tsentr

Oleg Valentinovich Panfilov,


Alexei Kirillovich Simonov,

Glasnost Defense Foundation

Leonid Yevgenyevich Chizhov,

Charitable lottery of RUJ

Alexander Nikolayevich Chumikov,

International Press Club

Marat Vasilyevich Shishigin,

Association of Book Publishers

Alexander Yakovlevich Shkolnik,

Small Press League

Mikhail Alexandrovich Fedotov,


Igor Alexandrovich Yakovenko,


Yegor Vladimirovich Yakovlev,

Obshchaya Gazeta

Obstacles to Healing

In response to "Deaf Boy Given Everything But a U.S. Visa," May 4.


Your newspaper ran a front-page story on Kolya, a Russian boy stricken blind and deaf at the age of 2, producing a mixed bag of reactions from many of your readers, including me. On the one hand, it evoked sympathy for the boy and his family, and, on the other hand, outrage against a morally bankrupt embassy and Russia's few stingy rich.

It was disturbing to learn that, in spite of Kolya's sponsors in America, the U.S. Embassy in Moscow didn't grant him and his mother, Irina Kuznetsova, entry visas that would have enabled the boy to undergo his cochlear implant surgery in Indiana.

This inhumane action by the U.S. Embassy tells the depth of moral decadence into which it has sunk in recent times. It also exposes the historical amnesia from which many Americans - especially those of European descent - suffer. Many have even forgotten that their ancestors who left Europe in droves to settle in America were immigrants themselves. One wonders how U.S. Embassy officials who refused Kolya and his mother entry visas would react if their ancestors, while seeking to flee the cold, hunger and poverty in Europe, had been denied entry into America by Native Americans!

What happened to Kolya is a manifestation of the growing arrogance of America today as a nation. The U.S. Embassy in Moscow only typifies and amplifies that arrogance, oblivious of the fact that mankind's history is cluttered with the ruins of great civilizations whose destruction was caused by such a vice. It was indeed this arrogance, and not the fear of their staying in the United States, that deprived Kolya an entry visa to seek quality medical care in Indiana.

But Kolya's situation was also worsened by the moral indifference of some of his own few rich compatriots who are accused of having impoverished him and 150 million other Russians through massive theft. It would have been a benevolent act if any of these scoundrels had volunteered to pay for his surgery in Indiana or here in Russia, in either St. Petersburg or Moscow, where it can also be done. Painfully, none of these notorious household names like Berezovsky, Abramovich, Chubais and others could play some sort of Robin Hood to poor little Kolya, who had to seek help in Slovakia. Kolya's case is one of several that has exposed the cold-heartedness of Russia's nouveaux riche, who, desperate to guard their ill-gotten wealth, have become insensitive to human suffering.

Emmanuel Conteh, Moscow

Extended Family

In response to "Grateful Contributor Bids Adieu to Readers," April 28.


Through the years, The Moscow Times has become a daily part of many living in Moscow. I was very disappointed to see Juliet Butler's last installment of "Growing Pains." It, too, has become part of my life and, I'm sure, the lives of many other readers.

The column offered a unique opportunity to look inside the life of a family with a configuration that many of us also share: one between cultures. Ms. Butler has great insight due to her many years here and has the ability to capture the essence of growing up.

In a way, we all are growing up with her kids - because we all grow and adapt to this culture. In the final analysis, the author has made her stories about her family a metaphor for this country's growing pains into adulthood. And I want to know what will happen with the kids. Bring back the skazka.

Jason Eskenazi, Moscow