The high price of journalism in Russia of Vladimir Putin

At his first press conference on Wednesday, January 11, Donald trump announced the main principle for further work us media: collaborate or become the enemy. The President-elect immediately dismissed all of the issues of various publications that published unverified controversial information: a 35-page dossier, which was collected stories of indecent assault of prostitutes in the hotel rooms, meetings in back rooms, and the dirt Russia, it is a “fake news”, what trump said at the press conference and tweeted.

At the moment, America offers a huge variety of diverse titles regarding trump and the mainstream media are trying to develop tactics work with the new administration. Antagonistic relations trump with free media, which it actively uses and which he regularly feeds, as a rule, their tweets, published in three in the morning — still pales in comparison with the relations of the President of Russia Vladimir Putin and the Russian journalists. In Putin’s Russia journalism has long been under siege.

“During the Yeltsin era, the Russian journalists received a salary below the subsistence level, writes the author of the column in Rolling Stone, Matt Taibbi (Matt Taibbi), who lived and worked in Moscow newspaper The eXile for 11 years. — Therefore, most journalists started to trade jeans”. We are talking about the post-Soviet practice of black marketeers who sell cheap jeans and oranges in the markets to somehow make a living. Many reporters were ready to sell and publish incriminating material for the money that they received from criminal gangs.

When the power in the country came Putin, according to Taibbi, he quickly “consolidated corruption, creating a monolithic media.” Opposition, criticism and dissent were quickly driven into rebellious publications, such as “Novaya Gazeta”. “They did not get paid, their work was very risky and jeopardize their families, says Taibbi. — Familiar journalists who wrote in the period when Putin came to power, were the real heroes.”

In the South East of Europe there is a relatively small Republic called Chechnya. The name of its capital Grozny is associated with the Russian Tsar Ivan the Terrible. According to the last census conducted in the Republic, the population of the Chechen Republic is approximately 1.2–1.4 million people, but this fact requires a thorough review. Experts still can’t believe that in Chechnya, the rapid increase in the birth rate could start so soon after a serious armed conflict, which lasted for several decades. Moreover, the national policy of Islamization means that Chechnya is quite sympathetic to polygamy and do not approve of such bad habits like gambling and alcohol.

This gradual transition to a more conservative lifestyle is the epitome of the project, developed by a man who was willing to try on the mantle of the terrible ruler of Chechnya: Ramzan Kadyrov. Being the son of the late Akhmad Kadyrov, the former leader of the Chechen rebels, who later became President of the Republic, Ramzan very quickly climbed the ladder of government posts, taking the post of Prime Minister. (The only obstacle for him, apparently, was that the right to run for President of Chechnya receive only those citizens who turned 30 years old.)

Ramzan is obviously trying to create a cult of personality: on his page in Wikipedia you can read that he founded fight club and sponsored a fighting tournament that he is friends with the stars of the championship on fights without rules and fighting with crocodiles and other fauna. Once he even met Mike Tyson. On his page in Instagram he published a variety of information, much of which is just nonsense: recently lost his cat, and his post in Instagram provoked a massive campaign to find his pet. Recently he tried to restore his reputation by running a pretty scary reality show called “the Team”, a prize which shall be the assistant to the head of the Republic.

However, attention should be paid not so much public antics of Ramzan Kadyrov as his close relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin. In 2005, when Kadyrov gave an interview with GQ, he said: “Putin is handsome. He thinks about Chechnya than about any other Republic. When my father was killed, he personally came to the cemetery went. Putin stopped the war… And Putin should for life by the President to appoint”.

Obviously, such a warm and friendly praise invariably cold-blooded Vladimir Putin will hear very often, and it has to be earned. (Sounds familiar.) However, aside from the loud titles and games with reptiles Kadyrov has a pretty terrible reputation. In the early 2000-ies Kadyrov has come to the attention of domestic and international media in connection with allegations of widespread government corruption, intimidation and human rights violations, in particular in prisons run by members of his personal regiment of internal troops, called “Kadyrovtsy”.

Of course, someone wanted to help tell these stories. “Now I have on the table are two pictures, wrote one journalist. I’m doing some investigation of facts of torture in Kadyrov’s prisons. These are pictures of people who were kidnapped by Kadyrov’s men for unknown reasons and who died. They died in a certain part of PR campaigns.” These lines were written by Anna Politkovskaya, Russian journalist, born in new York, which was covering the Chechen conflict for a long period of time and with an incredibly deep understanding of its essence and which focused primarily on the criminal acts of the young Kadyrov. Interview referred to above was taken on 4 Oct 2006 — then Kadyrov turned 30 years old, and he had the opportunity to run for the presidency of the Republic.

The content of these investigative journalism, apparently, could become a serious obstacle to Kadyrov to the post of President. A year earlier between Kadyrov and Politkovskaya took a rather candid conversation, during which the journalist was asking him very uncomfortable questions about his past and current activities. In the middle of this conversation one of the assistants of the Prime Minister told her: “it is a Pity that no one shot you in Moscow, on the street, as there at you in Moscow and done.” What Ramzan added: “You enemy, you want to shoot”.

I must say that Anna was faced with a similar and even more serious threats. In 2004, the journalist flew from Rostov-on-don to Beslan to help in the resolution of a stressful crisis with capture of hostages in a local school. Almost immediately after takeoff she had a Cup of tea, which later was discovered to be a poison. In the end, the hostage-taking in Beslan school lasted three days and resulted in the killed 385 people, most of whom were children.

October 7, 2005, two days later, after Politkovskaya announced its investigation into the activities of Kadyrov, she was shot in the Elevator of her own home. For some unimaginable accident the day of her death coincided with the birthday of President Putin.

Politkovskaya’s murder was a powerful blow to investigative journalism in Putin’s Russia. Just one month after her death, the former agent of the Russian security services officer Alexander Litvinenko suddenly fell ill and died, as it turned out, from poisoning with radioactive polonium. I must say that Litvinenko managed to write several books on the Putin came to power.

Among the high-profile killings can be attributed to the still unsolved murder of Paul Klebnikov, the American editor of the Russian edition of Forbes magazine, who was killed a few days after the publication of the list of 100 richest people of Russia, many of whom were closely associated with Vladimir Putin. In Klebnikov was shot on July 9, 2004, when he left the building edition of Forbes, he was transported to the hospital by ambulance, which was not an oxygen tank, and he died in the Elevator got stuck on the way to the operating room.

“A victim can be anyone, says Taibbi. Is one of the main lessons of the Putin era”. The list of critics of the regime inside the media and outside — very long: Boris Nemtsov, a liberal politician who was actively speaking out against speculation representatives of Putin’s entourage at the Olympic games in Sochi, was shot during an evening walk in the vicinity of the Kremlin. Lawyer Sergei Magnitsky informed the authorities about the large-scale fraudulent schemes within the government, after which he was arrested and placed in Butyrka prison, where he started to have health problems and where he later died without receiving medical care. Taibbi, have called a lot of names of writers, journalists, her friends, whom were intimidated, persecuted and attacked them.

When trump calls BuzzFeed a “pile of garbage”, it’s just empty words. The information contained in the dossier is spreading rapidly, information on the reaction of the tramp is spreading rapidly, and observers and experts have criticized each other in unison. Reporters in Russia should not be afraid of mentions in the tweet, but they do need to be careful to the elevators, flight attendants and walks at night. When it comes to the Russian press, Vladimir Putin behaves like a wolf: he attacked without further warning.