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Russia

2010

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Left to right: Nadira Isayeva, Dawit Kebede, and Laureano Márquez in Washington. (CPJ/Rodney Lamkey Jr.)

The last few weeks have been extremely busy for everyone at CPJ as we've been preparing for the 2010 International Press Freedom Awards. Today's press conference in Washington will be followed by a series of events culminating in our awards ceremony Tuesday in New York. As always, the awardees make it special. 

Beketov must be transported to trial in an ambulance while his attackers walk free. (Foundation in Support of Mikhail Beketov)

Mikhail Beketov is lucky to be alive, although I'm sure there are days when he doesn't think so. On November 13, 2008, the environmental reporter who campaigned against a highway that would have destroyed a forest in Khimki, a town outside Moscow, was beaten nearly to death by men with metal bars. The attackers made a special effort to destroy his hands and left him to die in the November cold. He would have if neighbors had not noticed him and called the police 24 hours after the attack.

Chief Justice Vyacheslav M. Lebedev of Russia's Supreme Court told CPJ, "The independence of journalists is just as important as the independence of judges." (Reuters/Mackson Wasa)

At the end of our recent mission to Moscow, our delegation squeezed in one final official meeting. Vyacheslav M. Lebedev, the chief justice of Russia's Supreme Court, had sent word only the night before that he would receive us. The meeting had been brokered by Aleksei Venediktov, the legendary founder of the radio station Ekho Moskvy, who told us that Lebedev had a keen interest in freedom of expression issues.

How do you crack Russia's vaunted security service? You go to low- and mid-level officials for information, say Russian journalists Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan, authors of the new book, The New Nobility: The Restoration of Russia's Security State and the Enduring Legacy of the KGB. At a luncheon for CPJ supporters on Thursday, Soldatov and Borogan detailed how today's Federal Security Service, or FSB, enjoys the impunity of the noble classes of bygone eras. And, of course, the authors discussed how they managed to get information about the secretive agency.

In Moscow, progress is often followed by heartbreak. So it was on the day after our meeting with Russia's top investigator, when we hit the wall of Russia's dysfunctional criminal justice system.

Western companies that venture into Russia ought to remember this police rule: "Everything you say can and will be used against you." In this particular case--any attempt to bring civilized rules to the Russian market game could, instead, turn into a colossal blow to your image. 

A vigil for Anastasiya Baburova and Stanislav Markelov was held in January in Berlin. (AP/Franka Bruns)In an encouraging ruling last week, the Basmanny District Court in Moscow ordered that two suspects in the January 2009 double murder of Novaya Gazeta reporter Anastasiya Baburova and human rights lawyer Stanislav Markelov be kept in custody pending trial.

A new show on PBS says the problem with the rise in cyber dissent is that governments like Iran are "pretty good at social media too."Social media and cyber dissidents have exerted a increasing influence on global politics over the last few years—Twitter, for instance, was widely utilized by protesters and journalists during Iran’s 2009 post-election Green Movement, and China has been locked in conflict with Google over allegations of censorship and hacking. “Ideas in Action” with Jim Glassman, a half-hour weekly show on PBS, is airing an episode this weekend called “Cyber Dissidents: How the Internet is Changing Dissent.” Already online, the show details how authoritarian regimes are working hard to quash this rising form of opposition.

Kazakhstan, the current chair of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, has failed to live up to its press freedom commitments, CPJ’s Muzaffar Suleymanov told the Congressional Helsinki Commission in Washington today.

Last week, I attended an unusual event called the Courage Forum at which half a dozen speakers, from tightrope artist Philippe Petit and Sudanese rapper Emmanuel Jal to Virgin founder and chairman Richard Branson, talked about about overcoming fear.

2010

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Killed in Russia

56 journalists killed since 1992

36 journalists murdered

32 murdered with impunity

Attacks on the Press 2012

9th Impunity Index ranking, reflecting poor record in combating anti-press violence.

Country data, analysis »

Contact

Europe and Central Asia

Program Coordinator:
Nina Ognianova

Research Associate:
Muzaffar Suleymanov

nognianova@cpj.org
msuleymanov@cpj.org

Tel: 212-465-1004
ext 106, 101
Fax: 212-465-9568

330 7th Avenue, 11th Floor
New York, NY, 10001 USA

Facebook: CPJ ECA Desk

Blog: Nina Ognianova
Blog: Muzaffar Suleymanov