22 Июня 2012 года

Glasnost defence foundation digest No. 574

18 June 2012



Investigative Committee head in conflict with Novaya Gazeta

Novaya Gazeta (NG) chief editor Dmitry Muratov on 13 June sent an open letter to Col.-Gen. Alexander Bastrykin, head of the Investigative Committee under the Office of the RF Prosecutor General, about the threats NG deputy editor Sergei Sokolov had received from Russia’s chief investigator after their joint trip to Nalchik, Kabardino-Balkaria.

The letter said, in part:

“After your airplane landed late in the evening, your bodyguards pushed Sokolov into a car and drove him, without explaining why, to a forest near Moscow. You then told the guards to go away, leaving you face to face with Sokolov… You, Mr. Bastrykin, are known as a prominent scholar and a consistent supporter of the so-called ‘truth establishment institute’ concept – a justice system whereby not only the formal, procedural side of law enforcement is to be observed to the last detail but the whole truth is to be necessarily established and brought to light. This time, as you know, the bitter truth is that, flying into a rage, you rudely threatened my deputy with murder. You even cracked a joke, saying it would be you who would be appointed to handle that hypothetical murder case.”

The incident caused S. Sokolov to leave Russia in order to save his life.

Meanwhile, the RF Journalists’ Union has urged the Prosecutor General’s Office to look at Bastrykin’s conflict with Sokolov at close quarters and guarantee the journalists a safe working environment. Participants in the “All Russia” journalistic festival appealed directly to Bastrykin, insisting that the general immediately and publicly explain the facts mentioned in Muratov’s open letter. Moscow colleagues held a series of one-person picketing actions in support of Sokolov outside the Investigative Committee headquarters; five of them were detained by the police (including Vladimir Varfolomeyev, Alina Grebneva, Natella Boltyanskaya and Olga Bychkova of Radio Ekho Moskvy, and freelance journalist and human rights defender Alexander Podrabinek).

The RF Public Chamber and a group of State Duma MPs, too, demanded an investigation into the incident. Information about the Bastrykin-Sokolov conflict was reported to President Putin, according to his press spokesman Dmitry Peskov. Bastrykin himself on 14 June first refuted the reported fact of his having talked rudely to Sokolov in the forest, but after a meeting with NG editor Muratov later that day, he apologized for his “nervous breakdown”, after which the parties publicly stated the conflict was settled.

Many, though, do not think it is. Some journalists are suspecting foul play here, considering that the settlement was reached “over so short a period of time”. But GDF President Alexei Simonov, who knows the facts well because he met with Muratov and Sokolov in the NG office right after the incident, believes the chief editor was right accepting Bastrykin’s apology and not insisting on furthering the controversy.

“I think Muratov did exactly what he had to do under the circumstances,” Simonov said in an interview for Radio Liberty. “On the other hand… the conflict may suddenly backfire one way or another. We are a country of ‘unpredictable backfires’ – this much we all know well enough. So I don’t think that was the end of this story.”

The GDF president called attention to one meaningful detail that many had failed to notice – that “the language in which Bastrykin talked to Sokolov reflected the authorities’ ‘normal’ attitude to journalists in general and to Novaya Gazeta reporters in particular”. “It wasn’t Bastrykin who invented this language,” Simonov said. “They habitually use it … among themselves when discussing – for example, at tea with [Prosecutor General] Chaika – what to do with those ‘press bastards’. To me, it’s a matter of great importance. It means that this camarilla at the helm in our country discusses us journalists using this disgusting, semi-criminal language based on underworld notions – it’s much like that story with audio tapes presented by [Leonid Kuchma’s bodyguard Nikolai] Melnichenko, revealing the sordid kind of language the Ukrainian [ex-] President used to speak.”

In this connection, the Glasnost Defence Foundation sent President Vladimir Putin a message reading as follows:

“Esteemed Mr President:

“After a couple more of such revelations concerning top-ranking officials from the power vertical under your control, are you not afraid you may fall in our esteem considerably?

“The reference is to the recent incident in a forest near Moscow, where Mr. Bastrykin – a professor, Ph.D. holder and colonel-general – swearing his head off, was threatening Novaya Gazeta’s deputy editor with murder. According to the editor, Bastrykin smelled of alcohol and, like a gundog unleashed, of total lack of restraint, in his ‘free fall into self-expression’. Was that his own improvisation, or had anyone said ‘Tally-ho!’ to him? If that was a spontaneous outburst of hatred – a pretty common occurrence within the circles he moves in – it makes the entire story look all the worse and more horrible.

“Would you please sort things out to determine who can insult whom, and for what, with impunity in a country where the phrase ‘We are masters of our homeland’ [a line from a well-known Soviet march of the 1930s – Translator.] refers only to a limited group of top-ranking bosses?

“Alexei Simonov, President, Glasnost Defence Foundation”
[13 June 2012]



District leader in Maritime Region bars reporters from conference on planned protest rally

By Anna Seleznyova, GDF correspondent in Far Eastern Federal District

In the township of Luchegorsk on 9 June, Pozharsky district administration head Vladimir Sinitsyn barred the press from a conference that was to discuss a protest rally to be staged on 13 June by schoolteachers, kindergartners and other educationalists, including instructors for a variety of extracurricular study groups and hobby clubs. Reporters for the district newspaper Pobeda and Luchegorsk TV were left behind closed doors.

The rally had been announced in the regional media, with news reports featured along with organisers’ comments and photo pictures of the placards and posters to be carried by protesters. But the district administration, fearing negative consequences, started putting pressure on activists, and even threatening them, in a bid to disrupt the protest action.

The conference in the district leader’s office was evidently to decide how to prevent the rally from taking place, so the journalists were barred from the event as unwanted eyewitnesses.

Karelian newspaper requests prosecutors’ assistance in getting town administration to reply to public inquiries

By Anatoly Tsygankov, GDF correspondent in North-Western Federal District

The district newspaper Oloniya has complained to the prosecutor’s office about the stubborn unwillingness of the administration in the town of Olonets, Karelia, to reply to journalists’ inquiries.

Answers can typically be expected within a month’s time or even longer, although the officials are required under the law to reply within a week. In the past few weeks, the administration has stopped replying to written inquiries altogether, and conventional press briefings, which would be a preferable way for reporters to gather information, have become a very rare occurrence.

As a rule, editorial inquiries cite questions received from readers. Therefore, by filing its complaint with the prosecutor’s office, Oloniya actually moved to defend people’s right to be informed about the administration’s performance.

Karelian MPs to check budgetary spending on government’s information policy

By Anatoly Tsygankov, GDF correspondent in North-Western Federal District

Government bodies in Karelia have traditionally allocated considerable funds for media coverage of their activities. The News Agency of the Republic of Karelia, the republican TV company “Sampo”, the weekly bulletin Karelia-Moy Petrozavodsk, and some district newspapers co-founded by the above-mentioned news agency, are all financed with budgetary money. This year’s provisions for the operation of government-owned media in the line of just one government subdivision, the State Committee on Ethnic Policy and Contacts with Public and Religious Organisations, which oversees the government media pool, have exceeded 70 million roubles, of which the lion’s share – 42 million – went to the government news agency.

Until recently, the financial flows directed to these media were controlled by the governor’s apparatus. Karelian parliament’s role was reduced to rubber-stamping government-proposed expenditures. However, the newly elected parliamentary body is different from the previous one, which was fully dominated by the United Russia party (URP) faction. Today, the Legislative Assembly is a multi-party body in real terms, and URP deputies are in no position to dictate to others anymore. This is why the issue of government media financing, which hitherto was actually overlooked, has become a topic for heated debates. Deputies from the Fair Russia party (FRP) faction came up with critical assessments of the performance of the government media pool, which they said is actually closed to opposition media outlets, and proposed holding a tender for all the Kareliam media to vie for the money set aside for media coverage of the authorities’ performance. The best bidders would get their respective shares of the overall budgetary allocations, they said.

Some MPs found this approach questionable, so the matter was not settled at once; FRP representatives themselves took the issue off the agenda, acknowledging the need to make some additional financial check-ups in view of the fact that government media, in addition to budgetary subsidies, have made money by placing commercial ads. It needs to be established how much they earn and where this extra money goes, since government media are constantly claiming they are heavily underpaid.

Perm officials require newspaper to print “inconspicuous” land sale ads

By Mikhail Lobanov, GDF correspondent in Volga Federal District

The Usolsky district court in the region of Perm has called Galina Prutova, executive secretary at the newspaper Usolskaya Gazeta, and make-up operator Yelena Beresneva to testify as eyewitnesses in the renewed trial over Natalya Belyakova, former head of the district administration’s Property Management Committee, who faces corruption charges. As established in the course of investigation, local officials placing advertisements for the sale of municipal and state-owned land insisted that those ads be designed to look as inconspicuous as possible.

The regional court in Perm on 5 June upheld a protest by the Usolsky district prosecutor’s office against the first-instance court’s decision to sentence Belyakova to a fine of 120,000 roubles for 7 instances of office abuse, and to acquit her of taking 6 bribes worth a total of 360,000 roubles. The court cancelled the sentence as one too lenient, and the acquittal as contradicting the facts of the case. The 8 volumes of case files were returned to the Usolsky district court for review.

According to the FSB and Investigative Committee, Belyakova in 2009-2010 unlawfully – for bribes – transferred 7 land plots (in all, 0.61ha) to private buyers at a heavily discounted price, thereby underpaying 1.99 million roubles into the budgets of the town and district of Usolye. The new owners resold the land (part of the ancestral estate of Count Stroganoff’s family) several times more expensively.

Material evidence in the case included three issues of Usolskaya Gazeta, the local administration’s official mouthpiece. To give their dirty dealings an appearance of lawful operations, Belyakova and her subordinate Natalya Voronina, chief specialist on land sales, brought to the newspaper notices of land reassignment for purposes of private housing construction, to be printed for pay. They insisted that the ads be printed inconspicuously so as not to catch unwanted eyes. That made the holding of mandatory auctions impossible, because there was only one bidder for each land plot.

In court, executive secretary Prutova disclaimed responsibility for those postings, describing herself as a person who only fulfilled another’s will, and confirmed that Belyakova and Voronina personally brought the ads to the newspaper office. “Those were ‘hidden’ ads, since they were printed without frames, as part of a straight text,” she said explaining specifics of that kind of page make-up.

Former Omsk mayor at law with media and ex-governor

By Georgy Borodyansky, GDF correspondent in Siberian Federal District

Viktor Schreider, former mayor of Omsk, knows the in-depth mechanisms of the city’s justice system quite well. This seems to explain why he never filed a single legal claim in defence of his good name during his tenure as the city head – not even at the peak of his “information war” with ex-Governor Leonid Polezhayev. He must have understood that coming to grips with that political heavyweight, his cronies, or any of the media he controlled would be futile.

After Polezhayev’s term of office expired on 21 May, the situation in the Omsk Region changed drastically: the new governor, Viktor Nazarov, is said to be close to Schreider, who is now a State Duma deputy representing United Russia. The ex-governor is only a retiree with much of his political weight lost today. So the regional justice system has tended to lean toward Schreider recently.

After years of patient silence, Viktor Schreider has now exploded with a torrent of legal claims that he has been filing one after another – six in May and June, of which three have been satisfied already. One was against the newspaper Novoye Obozreniye which featured “distorted images” of the plaintiff; in one picture, he was shown wearing ladies’ garments. The Kuibyshevsky district court upheld this claim, as well as another one, worth 100,000 roubles, filed in the wake of a publication that struck Schreider as “insulting”. On 8 June, the court commenced hearings of two more claims against Novoye Obozreniye, worth a total of 1,100,000 roubles.

On the same day, the court awarded Schreider 15,000 roubles in moral damages from his Duma colleague Yan Zelinsky, a Liberal-Democrat, who called the ex-mayor “the city’s largest bribe-taker” in an interview on local TV last November.

Meanwhile, the Central district court has accepted for scrutiny what may be called Schreider’s most important legal claim – against Polezhayev and the State TV/Radio Company “Omsk” (until recently, one of the ex-governor’s “pocket” media), for showing an interview in which Polezhayev accused Schreider of unlawfully building a mansion in downtown Omsk. A similar claim in connection with the same TV interview was lodged by the mayor’s office in March, when Schreider had already left for Moscow. The plaintiff demanded a symbolic amount – 1 rouble – in moral damages at the time. Evidently, that was a premature move, since it was not yet clear who would replace Polezhayev as governor; so the mayoral claim was turned down. Now Schreider has filed it again as a private person, increasing the claimed compensation amount million-fold (sic!), vividly demonstrating the political weight change between him and his opponent, to which the regional justice system is so sensitive.

Knowing this all too well, the ex-mayor seems to have redoubled his efforts to have “the truth sought out” and “full justice done” to him. On the one hand, this seems reasonable. But on the other, to cite the new governor, “Omsk Region residents are waiting for change”. With a justice system as sensitive to the outcomes of political reshuffles as it is in Omsk, they are unlikely to see this change taking place, ever.

United Russia activist in Chelyabinsk claims 100,000 roubles from blogger in moral damages

By Irina Gundareva, GDF correspondent in Urals Federal District

The leader of the Chelyabinsk branch of the United Russia Youth Group (URYG), accusing a blogger of inflicting on him “moral and physical damages worth 1 million roubles”, has filed against him a legal claim worth only 100,000 roubles, though.

In February, university lecturer Andrei Lavrov posted in his LiveJournal blog a note about URYG leader Alexander Galkin’s introducing “a progressive scale for money extortion” from university students on the eve of the presidential vote.

“He claimed 2,000 roubles from poorer students, and 3,000 roubles from those who are better off, to finance URYG needs,” he wrote. “I figure he wouldn’t want to start begging for support from his financial guru, V. Burmatov. Mr Galkin is not only a tough ‘Urals macho’ but also a fairly good manager knowing what budgeting is all about. So his older colleagues may as well take a lesson or two from the young financial genius.”

Lavrov did not disclose – for well understandable reasons – the names of the students who had reported that information to him, and does not intend to cite their names in court.

According to Galkin, Lavrov’s blog posting (which the plaintiff unreasonably calls an “article”) caused him to “suffer morally and physically”, and “damaged” his business reputation. Hence his demand that Lavrov pay him 100,000 roubles to alleviate his suffering.

The URYG activist’s claim lists the Civil Code and international law provisions which Lavrov allegedly breached by circulating information about his extortionist operations. Meanwhile, local bloggers discussing the incident have concluded that it constitutes an instance of infringement of their rights and freedom of expression. They called for an action of solidarity with Lavrov in a bid to prevent attempts to put a gag on the Worldwide Web, where anyone is free to express one’s views and opinions.

Judge in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk requires journalists to “disclaim” queries

By Olga Vassilyeva, GDF correspondent in Far Eastern Federal District

The newspaper Sovetsky Sakhalin last August carried an interview with a deputy of the City Assembly of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, entitled “Protesters Against ‘Spot Construction’ Accuse Authorities of Corrupt Practices”. Becoming suddenly aware several months later that their business reputation was at stake, officials at the regional Chamber of Cadastres filed legal claims against the interviewee, interviewer and newspaper itself.

In court, the defendants rejected those claims, pointing to the fact that the plaintiffs’ activities significantly restricted tenants’ constitutional right to use the areas adjacent to their apartment houses as part of their collective property – only because the land under those houses had been registered by cadastral authorities in violation of the established rules, without clear boundaries drawn between the land plots, etc.

The city court in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk chaired by Judge R. Shestakova satisfied the claims partially, requiring the newspaper to disclaim several lines in its publication, including two questions asked by the interviewer:

- Is any government body besides the city administration responsible for the chain of unlawful practices that gave rise to this “spot” construction (erection of separate buildings amid densely populated residential areas)?

- So what is the federal Chamber of Cadastres to blame for?

At one time, Komsomolskaya Pravda columnist Pavel Voshchanov invented a new genre that he called “Queries”, referring to stories in which a journalist wants to make public some facts that he knows are perfectly true but no documents or eyewitness testimony are available to prove their accuracy. I remember one of his articles built entirely on questions: “Is it true that some prominent Russian officials and MPs have opened accounts in one of the Western banks? Who pockets the proceeds from the sales of aluminium?”, etc.

As a genre, this may seem pretty boring. But it’s safe from the viewpoint of legal claims that may potentially be brought against the author.

Judge Shestakova must have not known this when ruling for the interviewer to “disclaim” two of her questions to the interviewee.

“No text of a disclaimer was read out during the hearings or discussed by the parties,” the interview’s author Natalya Kotlyarevskaya told the GDF correspondent. “The judge suddenly remembered about that text after the hearings were over, and she had it co-ordinated only with the plaintiff, without our participation. The ruling itself was handed to us four months afterward.”



Some statistics cited




Kirov media sum up May results

By Anzhelika Korobeinikova, Kirov

Kirov media are not subject to any “shocking” change, generally. Of course, major replacements and reshuffles do occur time and again – once a month or still less often. But in end-May, so many meaningful things happened to the regional media community that one could not but sit down and think whether or not they might be interrelated.

It all began in mid-May with the dismissal of Biznes-Novosti (BN) editor Grigory Kholkin. The editor himself cited “some editorial policy differences” as the reason for his replacement. Biznes-Novosti is part of the InMedia holding, which also includes the Ekho Moskvy radio station, which often invites Governor Nikita Belykh as a friend and respected guest speaker. Not surprisingly therefore, many are linking Kholkin’s dismissal with his recent article “Dancing to Someone’s Tune?”, in which he pointed to the governor’s connections in the United States. The article caused a mixed reaction, but the author insists it was based on the findings of his independent journalistic research. The governor’s press secretary, of course, denied any pressure by Belykh on InMedia with a view to having the BN editor replaced, but the holding’s staffers think differently. Kholkin’s vacancy has now been filled by Oleg Prokhorenko.

This might remain on journalists’ memory as an odd and inexplicable case – but for InMedia’s changing hands shortly afterward. On 28 June, people reputed to be close to Vyatka-Bank President Grigory Guselnikov bought a share in the Kirov media companies group. The size of this share remains undisclosed, but again, word has gone around about Guselnikov’s closeness to Governor Belykh. As is known, rumours don’t arise out of nowhere. “It’s no one’s secret G.Guselnikov is the closest friend of Nikita Belykh, and if need be, he may use his media acquisitions not only as business assets but also as instruments of defending the Kirov governor’s interests,” Sergei Bachinin, editor of Vyatsky Nablyudatel, said in his article “Weeding the Media Field”. “A pressing need for that may arise pretty soon, since gubernatorial elections are to be held in our region not later than 2014, and Mr Belykh is very likely to take part in them. He may be trying in advance to guarantee himself against an outburst of ‘black PR’ like that we saw during the recent elections to the Kirov City Duma.”

On 5 May, Belykh signed Decree No. 56, “On the Funding of Publishers of the Kirov Region’s Official Laws”, which identified the newspaper Vesti-Kirov (part of the VyatInfo government media holding) and the regional administration’s official website as the official carriers of information about legislation passed in the region. The same decree cut short the flow of budgetary funds to pro-government Vyatsky Krai – the newspaper which published all the laws passed by the regional Duma and Legislative Assembly over the past 17 years. True, further “bounties” were denied also to Kirovskaya Pravda, another member of VyatInfo, which, too, has published official acts and resolutions for several years running. It is hard to explain this reshuffle, since both Vesti-Kirov and Kirovskaya Pravda belong to one and the same media holding. But one thing is clear: left without government subsidy, Vyatsky Krai and Kirovskaya Pravda will find it very difficult to survive unless they find an alternative sponsor. If they do, won’t that sponsor, again, be from circles rumoured to be close to the governor?

All those changes shook the regional media community drastically. Why they happened and what they will lead to remains to be seen shortly.

Statement by news agency “JudicialDecisions.RF”

Roskomnadzor officials against Putin’s policy?

St. Petersburg, which is called Russia’s “cultural and legal capital”, has created a dangerous precedent by labelling “confidential” all the rulings passed and pronounced by general courts, along with any reports about such decisions. The way officials look at it, journalists and other individuals reporting on judicial proceedings that have taken place (e.g., Mr N. has been awarded a certain amount in compensation for his car smashed by Mr M.) behave unlawfully. The texts of such decisions are not to be published either, not even if they have been posted on the official websites of the courts concerned. Such are official orders from the St. Petersburg and Leningrad Region Department of Roskomnadzor, the agency overseeing public communications.

Worthy of noting here is the fact that a special federal law was enacted in 2010, requiring the judiciary to publish in the Internet all judicial decisions passed (with the rare and quite understandable exception of those related to sexual offences, etc.) The Russian leadership’s stand on the issue is quite clear too: in his programme article “Democracy and the Quality of the State”, President Vladimir Putin pointed to the need to have a single database compiled, featuring all decisions passed by the country’s general courts. “Also, we should think of ways to arrange live TV reporting from judicial hearings, and to have verbatim records of court sittings published,” he wrote. “That will make it clear who is working and how, and what decisions are passed by different panels of judges in cases of one and the same kind.” His instructions to that effect were reflected in a decree the President signed on his inauguration day, 7 May 2012. Also, Putin wrote about the need to restore the system of courtroom reporting, which “will provide for deeper and broader discussions of society’s legal problems and help raise the level of people’s legal awareness”.

Judicial decisions have so far been published – although not all, often with delays, etc. Both the law and the regulations adopted by the RF Council of Judges explicitly stipulate that one may not exclude the surnames or initials of plaintiffs and defendants from the texts of the decisions posted on websites. Other persons (e.g., witnesses) may be de-personified, and their other personal data may be omitted, such as passport and phone numbers, etc., along with details about their health, and so on.

Naturally, not all are happy to see these regulations observed. For example, St. Petersburg resident S has filed a protest against the publication of court decisions about his crippling another person and refusing to pay him any compensation, as well as documents throwing light on his involvement in “grey” schemes of reselling an apartment, and in the bankruptcy process of the Impuls construction company which has left several hundred stakeholders without housing. His anger is understandable: no one likes to see this kind of compromising information published. Still worse, no honest businessmen who has read Mr S’s “judicial dossier” will ever want to do business with him.

In response to S’s protest, the city court in St. Petersburg obediently “corrected” the web-posted judicial decisions already passed and pronounced during open court hearings. But “Mr S.’s” dream was not to come true, since there are independent media in this country which were quick enough to copy and make public those court decisions before they were edited. Databases featuring such rulings (including that on the JudicialDecisions.RF web portal) are publicly accessible, easy to browse, and indexed by Yandex and other search systems. In contrast to subservient judges, the portal’s management did not allow itself to be “tied to the chariots” of dishonest individuals and refused to edit out their names or decisions passed in their cases.

That caused S to appeal to Roskomnadzor (former Glavlit, the notorious censor of literary works, and later the Department for Protection of State Secrets in the Press) at 14, Sadovaya St., asking to get the “disagreeable” web portal shut down. Evidently, Roskomnadzor officials never read Russian laws and don’t want to listen to Putin: they rushed to accuse JudicialDecisions.RF of disclosing S’s personal data without his consent, which in their view is “against the law”.

Meanwhile, in his appeals to controlling agencies, S did himself disclose news agency staffers’ personal data – not only their names but also their passport data, registration addresses, INNs, home and mobile phone numbers, etc., which he stole from “pirate” databases. Roskomnadzor found this perfectly lawful, while actively moving to defend him, a person whose unlawful behaviour has been confirmed by several judicial decisions. A suspicious double standard, isn’t it? Also, one may wonder what other decisions Roskomnadzor may choose to ban for publishing. Will the oversight agency support convict Yevsyukov [a former police officer who fired random gunshots in a supermarket, killing and wounding several shoppers] if he prohibits journalists to write about the crimes he committed? And, for that matter, if court decisions are de-personified, how can one possibly fulfil President Putin’s instruction and compare judicial decisions “passed by different panels of judges in cases of one and the same kind”?



Seminar for media lawyers held near St. Petersburg

By Roman Zholud, GDF correspondent in Central Federal District

In the town of Pushkin near St. Petersburg on 3-4 June, the Voronezh-based Media Rights Defence Centre held a training seminar entitled “Access to Information; Personal Data; and Copyright Protection in the Course of Media Activities”. The event attracted about 30 media lawyers and head-managers from several regions of Russia.

The first-day programme included discussions of practical ways of applying Personal Data Law provisions in everyday media activities. Under the guidance of Media Defence Centre President Galina Arapova, the participants discussed the major provisions of the law and specifics of media staffers’ role as personal data operators. Toward the end of the day, Yekaterina Stepanova of the St. Petersburg and Leningrad Region Department of Roskomnadzor [federal agency overseeing the sphere of public communications] answered trainees’ questions about practical application of Personal Data Law provisions.

On the second day, seminar participants focused on issues pertaining to copyright protection and access to information. First, Media Defence Centre lawyer Svetlana Kuzevanova described ways securing copyright protection in everyday journalistic work. In the afternoon, Yevgeny Smirnov and Maria Korotkova of the Media Freedom Institute gave an insight into problems with access to information in Russia.

The seminar was held with assistance from the International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX).


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.

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 Monitoring 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 432, 4 Zubovsky Boulevard,
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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