Masha Gessen has posted her explanation for leaving the Moscow Times as a columnist on her blog together with her final column. Here it is:
This is my last column for the Moscow Times. I have written 81 of them over the last year and a half, and they have begun to feel repetitive. I suspect this has more to do with the ways of this country than with the specifics of writing a column: last time I wrote a column for the Moscow Times, in the mid-to-late 90s, I had no trouble keeping it going for three or four years. Things had a way of changing back then. Now they just have a way of getting worse, which makes the columnist feel like a self-referential grouse. But the actual excuse for quitting the column is that I am starting a new project. More details later–but it promises to be a hoot. Russian-language.
Stay tuned for further details. Masha had already been doing precious little in English outside her column, and not even posting that regularly on her blog. Her voice in English will be missed; hopefully, she’ll be doing something that will matter in Russian, where something that will matter is most needed. But is so, that will put her on the Kremlin’s hit list.
UPDATE: Vilhelm Konnander says that Masha is just getting promoted at her newspaper Bolshoi Gorod so apparently she plans to be busy with editorial duties. Will Bolshoi Gorod get more provocative (right now it’s pretty innocuous, certainly no Novaya Gazeta)? Time will tell.