Alexander Shcherbak: In the oval office I photographed it, and they joked

Moscow — His photos taken during the meeting of Donald trump and Sergei Lavrov, could speed up the likely announcement of the impeachment of the American President. However, the 34-year-old Alexander Shcherbak, author of “epic” as they are called, pictures of the photographer documenting this meeting at the highest level — it did not seem to care. He didn’t like what he was at the center of the hype and even accusations of espionage. “This slander,” he says in an interview to our newspaper. “I became a victim of the strained relations between Russia and the United States.”

La Repubblica: Alexander, let’s start our conversation with the photos themselves, we see wide smiles and handshakes. What else can You tell us about this meeting?

Alexander Shcherbak: They exchanged jokes, laughed, but I couldn’t catch anything of what they were saying. According to Protocol, I have only a few seconds, and I should be most concentrated. I look in the lens and move away from what is happening. I thought the atmosphere was relaxed, lively and fun. It’s what I tried to capture in my photographs. Fortunately, I was alone and didn’t have anyone to push.

— That’s why You were in the center of the scandal. You have been accused of violating security protocols. How did this happen?

— I was the only photographer near Laurel. After meeting with Tillerson, I performed in the White house, subjected to the strictest controls and even search dogs. I was able to take only the camera. Then I was told to follow a woman who is probably a personal photographer trump. When the White house has arrived the Russian delegation, I walked her to the door of the Oval office. When the meeting began, I made a sign, so I went first. I immediately turned between the seats and only a few seconds later realized that I was standing just a few inches from trump.

You are also being blamed…

— Yes, it’s insane, trump all greeted and invited to sit. A minute later I had to go out. Meeting behind closed doors lasted about an hour. I used it to send footage to the Agency Photo ITAR-TASS in the Ministry of foreign Affairs. They wrote that I should wait because the White house released photos of the evening, but no one restricted me in time.

— Everyone was amazed to see published by the Agency ITAR-TASS images, people thought that You work as his personal photographer Lavrov. Where do You work?

— In 2015 I worked in an Agency Photo ITAR-TASS and part of the pool of journalists Lavrov. In addition to his personal photographer Edward Pesov, the Ministry of foreign Affairs decided to take two other photographers, me and my colleague from the Agency RIA-Novosti.

I always cover the meeting and travel Lavrov. This time I had to replace Pesava. In accordance with our agreement, I can send all the material to the TASS. In the past it happened that I was asked not to publish photographs taken in an informal setting, but this time I did not put any restrictions.

Someone even spoke about wiretapping…

Is slander. I’m willing to listen to criticism of my photos, but not this kind of charges that might be associated with professional envy. It causes me anger and indignation. Fortunately, intervened as the White house and the Ministry of foreign Affairs of Russia. Hopefully soon it will all burst like a soap bubble.