11 Сентября 2014 года

Glasnost defence foundation digest No. 673

8 September 2014


Anna Politkovskaya “Camertone” Awards handed

The Grand Hall of the Moscow Conservatoire on 7 September hosted a ceremony to honour the memory of journalists killed while on assignment. The Musica Viva Chamber Orchestra and its art director and conductor Aleksandr Rudin gave a charity concert in which they played compositions by Tchaikovsky, Bach, Vivaldi and Haydn.

The event was timed to International Journalist Solidarity Day. Last year, the Secretariat of the RF Journalists’ Union established, in memory of the murdered Novaya Gazeta observer Anna Politkovskaya, the “Camertone” Award to be handed that day to journalists distinguished for their work in defence of human rights and press freedom.

This year’s awards were posthumously conferred on Italian journalist Andrea Rocchelli and his local fixer Andrei Mironov, who were killed in May while covering the armed conflict in Ukraine. “This year we decided to give awards to two journalists at once – the first of our colleagues to die in eastern Ukraine. By honouring them posthumously with these awards, we pay tribute to the courage and professionalism of the two men whose names stand first on the mourning list of [reporters] killed in this insane, undeclared war,” RUJ Chairman Vsevolod Bogdanov said.

He said the ceremony would continue on 15 December, when four more “Camertone” Awards would be posthumously given to VGTRK correspondent Igor Kornelyuk, VGTRK sound engineer Anton Voloshin, Channel One cameraman Anatoly Klyan, and Russia Today photojournalist Andrei Stenin.


Trial over two opposition journalists in Chelyabinsk Region ends in convictions

By Irina Gundareva, GDF correspondent in Urals Federal District

The city court in Zlatoust, Chelyabinsk Region, has concluded hearings of the case of Valery Uskov and Vyacheslav Boidariko, two reporters for the newspaper Pravda Goroda Zlatousta. The first was charged under Criminal Code Articles 222 (“Illegal purchase and carrying of firearms, ammunition, and explosive substances and devices”) and 119 (“Murder threat”); the second under the same Article 222, and Article 116 (“Beating”).

As we have reported, the journalists received an SMS message naming the place where “sensational revelations about Zlatoust Mayor Vyacheslav Zhilin” allegedly lay waiting for them. The reporters rushed after the sensation – only to be caught opening a parcel that turned out to contain some odd, old pieces of ammunition. That gave rise to the charges of illegal keeping of weapons. Also, quite a long time after, one “trade union activist” suddenly remembered having received threats from Uskov, which resulted in the murder threat charges additionally brought against the latter (see digest 662 .

The Uskov-Boidariko case was heard behind closed doors. The court sentenced Uskov to one year in a general-regime penal colony for the first offence, while clearing him of the murder threat charges in view of no elements of crime in his behaviour. Boidariko got a suspended one-year imprisonment term with a two-year probationary period. Neither defendant pleaded guilty of any of the “crimes” they were charged with.

Reporters in Omsk barred from covering Gazprom-sponsored event

By Georgy Borodyansky, GDF correspondent in Siberian Federal District

Gazpromneft-Omsk Oil Refinery’s PR officers have outstripped those Omsk-based bureaucrats who attempted in May to forbid a lady reporter to move about the regional administration building (see digest 655). Amid Oil Workers’ Day celebrations at the Omsk Philharmonic Theatre on 6 September, not only did they bar the press from entering the theatre – they drove the journalists away from the square in front of it. But then, reporters did not actually insist on being admitted – they came to take pictures of Governor Viktor Nazarov arriving to attend the corporate party in the company of Oleg Belyavsky, the refinery’s director.

Meanwhile, many company workers, who had been watching actors’ performances outside the theatre prior to the party’s start, were eagerly posing before cameras and chatting with reporters, the newspaper Biznes-Kurs wrote. That is why media workers were surprised to hear Anna Dyakonova, head of the company’s corporate communications unit, insisting that they “take away the cameras and leave” – and this despite the regional Economy Ministry’s announcement that admittance would be free to all. “The officials simply made a mistake saying so,” Dyakonova told the press.

Unwilling to quarrel with her, the reporters walked a few steps aside to watch from afar, but the PR officer demanded that they leave the place altogether. “My bosses aren’t in the mood to speak to you tonight. I’ll be able to answer your questions not sooner than Monday, and only if you file official inquiries,” Biznes-Kurs cited Dyakonova as saying.

Meanwhile, two limos pulled over to the private entrance, bringing the governor and the oil refinery director. The press could only take a few pictures of them from a distance.

It is absolutely not clear why hush up a Gazprom party like that. Prior to his latest appointment, the governor worked as a senior Gazprom manager; moreover, he is reputed to be a “guy open to the press and others”: time and again he has been seen standing in line in an ordinary shopping mall or taking a stroll with his son without any bodyguards around. Yet petty clerks with big ambitions, who surround the regional leader, seem to be trying to change his public image for reasons known to them alone.

Nor is it clear why a company whose business it is to sell publicly-owned natural resources feels free to keep the public – specifically journalists as people’s representatives – at arm’s length when celebrating its corporate holidays, such as Gas Workers’ or Oil Workers’ Days. Doesn’t the public have anything at all to do with those celebrations?

Perm governor’s PR specialist left with his “dustbin” newspapers

By Mikhail Lobanov, GDF correspondent in Volga Federal District

Kirill Markevich, a PR adviser to Perm Governor Viktor Basargin, has failed to refute the regional newspaper Zvezda’s report about his prior criminal record or its suggestion that he uses his private “dustbin” newspapers for publishing stuff compromising the local opposition. The regional court in Perm on 3 September upheld a primary court’s decision turning down Markevich’s legal claim in defence of honour, dignity and business reputation, along with his claim of 40,000 roubles in moral damages.

It all began with Markevich’s claiming offended by Zvesda’s 25 March publication entitled “In a Blue Light”. Yet the Motovilikhinsky district court in Perm on 28 May rejected his claim as unfounded. At the time, Judge Tatyana Oprya referred in the text of her decision to the 10 August 1998 sentence passed by the Uvelsky district court in the Chelyabinsk Region, which pronounced Markevich guilty of a traffic accident and sentenced him to a suspended 6-month term of imprisonment with a probation period of the same length. As indicated in the document, the sentence entered into full legal force on 18 August 1998. Yet Markevich appealed, calling that “a mistake” and the Motovilikhinsky court decision “a delusion”. The convictive sentence, he claimed, had been cancelled by a higher-standing court, and when reviewing his case again on 24 August 1999, the Uvelsky court had amnestied him, which was tantamount to his never having been tried before.

Yet there was an official letter (No. 5526 of 20 June 2014) attached to the complaint, in which Judge Igor Vardugin of the Uvelsky district court informed Markevich in reply to his previous-day inquiry that “the convictive sentence was not cancelled”. Having heard both sides – lawyer Svetlana Ushakova representing the claimant’s interests and Zvezda’s lawyer Arkady Ivanov – the regional court left the Motovilikhinsky court ruling unchanged, including in its part recognising as “a subjective judgment” the disputed passage about the newspapers Permskiye Gubernskiye Vedomosti and Permskoye Vremechko (both owned by Markevich), which read: “The media holding’s director has from the outset used these two ‘dustbin’ newspapers for purposes of publishing critical materials about political opponents of the regional leader.”


Russian journalist Andrei Stenin’s death confirmed

Andrei Stenin, the Russia Today photojournalist who went missing in south-eastern Ukraine on 5 August, died near Donetsk about a month ago. The car he was last seen in on his way to fulfil an editorial assignment came under fire and was burnt down.

Late on 6 August Stenin, with a convoy of vehicles carrying refugees from eastern Ukraine under the guard of six militiamen, was moving along the Snezhnoye-Dmitrovka highway when the convoy came under fire from an armoured personnel carrier and a tank. Stenin’s car was hit, too, RF Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin told journalists.

Representatives of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic on 27 August handed over to the Russian side the remains of five victims. DNA tests identified one of them as Andrei Stenin.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry has urged the Ukrainian authorities to thoroughly investigate the circumstances of Stenin’s death and bring those responsible to justice. The National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine denied Ukrainian troops’ involvement in his killing.

Stenin is the fourth Russian media worker killed in Ukraine since that country was engulfed in the crisis. Before him, VGTRK correspondent Igor Kornelyuk, VGTRK video engineer Anton Voloshin, and Channel One cameraman Anatoly Klyan were killed there.


Media-related conflicts registered by GDF Monitoring Service on RF territory in August 2014

Deaths of journalists – 1 (Timur Kuashev, correspondent for Kavkazskaya Politika, Kavkazskiy Uzel and Dosh, Nalchik).

Attacks on journalists – 8 (Vassily Kuchushev and Dmitry Starodubsky, Zvezda TV correspondents, attacked at Gukovo checkpoint, Rostov Region; Aleksandr Yakovenko, cameraman, Gazeta.ru, Moscow; Magomed Khanmagomedov, chief editor, newspaper Derbentskiye Izvestia, Dagestan; Arseniy Vesnin, reporter, Ekho Moskvy v Peterburge radio station, St. Petersburg; Aleksandr Krutov, columnist, Obshchestvennoye Mneniye magazine, Saratov; Nina Petlyanova, Novaya Gazeta reporter, and Irina Tumakova, Fontanka.ru correspondent, both attacked in Pskov region, twice; Vladimir Romensky, Dozhd TV channel correspondent, and Ilya Vasyunin, Russian Planet correspondent, both attacked in Pskov Region, twice; Lev Shlosberg, chief editor and publisher, newspaper Pskovskaya Guberniya, Pskov).

Instances of censorship – 1 (Respublika news website, Karelia).

Criminal charges against journalists and media – 2 (Igor Makarov, chief editor, ChelNovosti.ru news agency, Chelyabinsk; Andrei Marchenko, blogger, Khabarovsk).

Illegal sacking of editor or journalist – 1 (Roman Arbitman, reporter, Saratovskaya Oblastnaya Gazeta, Saratov).

Detention by police, FSB, etc. – 14 (Igor Makarov, chief editor, ChelNovosti.ru news agency, Chelyabinsk; Maria Borzunova, Sofia Feoktistova and Sergei Kholin, all of Dozhd TV channel, Natalia Zotova, Novaya Gazeta reporter, Dmitry Zykov, Grani.ru correspondent, and Filipp Kireyev, freelance journalist – all detained in Moscow Region; Maria Masyutina, reporter, Grazhdanskiy Golos newspaper, and Stepan Strogin, freelance journalist – both detained in Moscow Region; Andrei Novichkov, Grani.ru correspondent, Moscow; Yelena Racheva, Novaya Gazeta correspondent, detained in Rostov Region; Igor Gashkov, Nezavisimaya Gazeta correspondent, detained in Tver Region; Mikhail Pustovoy, freelance journalist, detained in Altai Republic; Maxim Sobeskiy, Novy Region news agency correspondent, detained twice in Altai Republic; Natalya Fonina, Vladivostok-based Arsenyevskiye Vesti correspondent, detained in Moscow; Vladimir Schreidler, freelance journalist, Moscow; Sergei Kovalchenko, chief editor, and Sergei Zorin, correspondent, Telegraf news agency, St. Petersburg, both detained in Pskov Region; Dmitry Florin, freelance journalist, Moscow).

Refusals to provide information (including bans on use of audio recorders and video/photo cameras; refusals to provide accreditation; restrictions on admittance to official events held by government bodies, industrial enterprises or state institutions) – 41.

Threats against journalists and media – 6 (Eduard Shmonin, editor, Yugra Public TV, Khanty-Mansi Autonomous District; Vladimir Romensky, Dozhd TV channel correspondent, Ilya Vasyunin, Russian Planet correspondent, Nina Petlyanova, Novaya Gazeta reporter, and Irina Tumakova, Fontanka.ru correspondent – all four threatened in Pskov Region; Dmitry Florin, freelance journalist, Moscow).

Ejection of publication etc. from its premises – 1 (Perm Region Journalists’ Union).

Closure of media – 1 (TV show “Week News with Marianna Maksimovskaya”, Moscow)

Withdrawal/purchase or confiscation of print run – 3 (newspaper Listok, Republic of Altai - thrice; newspaper Provintsiya–Severo-Zapad, Leningrad Region)

Interference with internet publications – 9 (websites of RIA Novosti and InoSMI, Moscow; website Novy Smysl, St. Petersburg; website of Dialog news agency, St. Petersburg; Ukrainian websites Tsenzor.Net, Glavnoye and Novy Region – all three interfered with on Crimean territory; website Pravdabeslana.ru, twice).

Confiscation of/ damage to photo, video or audio apparatus and computers – 1 (video camera of Revizorro TV show, confiscated in Yaroslavl)

Administrative pressure (unplanned inspections by sanitary, fire, tax inspectors, etc.) - 1 (Sintez-TV television/radio company, Krasnodar)

Other forms of pressure/ infringement of journalists’ rights – 42


Last week, the Glasnost Defence Foundation was referred to at least 10 times in the internet, including at:

Civitas.Ru:Men in black” prevented journalists from covering burial at cemetery in Pskov Region

SarBC.ru: Glasnost Defence Foundation urges not to write off assault on Aleksandr Krutov asordinary hooliganism

Kommersant: Attack made public

Noviye Izvestia: Governor’s conflict with Dvornik (Yardman)

Yabloko Party press release: Court decision announced on Friedman’s claim against Mitrokhin

The Moscow Post: Radayev “hampered” by journalists?

Vzglyad Info: Government security feared to let reporters through into Ayatskovs mansion

This digest was prepared by the Glasnost Defence Foundation in Moscow. The digest has been issued once a week, on Mondays, since August 11, 2000.

We acknowledge the assistance of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee.

Currently it is distributed by e-mail to 1,600 subscribers in and outside Russia.

Editorial board

  • Editor-in-chief, Alexei Simonov
  • Boris Timoshenko, Head of Monitring Service;
  • Svetlana Zemskova, GDF Lawyer;
  • Vsevolod Shelkhovskoy, translator.

We welcome the promotion of our news items and articles but if you make use of any information from this digest or other GDF materials please acknowledge the source.


Glasnost Defence Foundation, Room 438, 4 Zubovsky Boulevard,
119992 Moscow, Russia.

Telephone/fax: +7 (495) 637-4947 and +7 (495) 637-4420
e-mail: boris@gdf.ru , or fond@gdf.ru

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ФЗГ продолжает бороться за свое честное имя. Пройдя все необходимые инстанции отечественного правосудия, Фонд обратился в Европейский суд. Для обращения понадобилось вкратце оценить все, что Фонд сделал за 25 лет своего существования. Вот что у нас получилось:
Полезная деятельность Фонда защиты гласности за 25 лет его жизни