Journalists Flee Putin’s Russia in Droves

Russian Journalist Oleg Panfilov

Hero journalist Grigory Pasko, writing on Robert Amsterdam’s blog:

A well-known Russian journalist, head of the Center for Journalism in Extreme Situations  Oleg Panfilov in early November moved for permanent residency from Moscow to Tbilisi. In a conversation with journalists he explained that his decision was based on the fact that in Russia unknowns were constantly threatening him through the internet with physical lynching.

This news appeared on the internet on the 9th of November. To me this «news» was known two months ago: Oleg himself had told me about his desire to forsake Russia. In so doing no arguments in the form of threats did he name. I think that in this situation, unnamed colleagues were inaccurately treating the essence of the event.

Oleg told me that he intends to live in Georgia and to read lectures at the journalism school in the Tbilisi state university, as well as to actively cooperate on the “Caucasian telechannel”  being opened as of the new year in Tbilisi, which, presumably, will broadcast to the whole Caucasian region.

Also Oleg spoke about how the Center for Journalism in Extreme Situations will continue to work as before. The Center – is a noticeable phenomenon in the milieu of human rights journalism and the system of monitoring the observance of the rights of journalists not only in the RF, but on the whole post-Soviet space as well.

The appearances and declarations of Oleg Panfilov on this topic are well-known to my colleagues. Thus, in particular, he , making reference to facts, asserted that in recent years a catastrophic situation has evolved in the Russian mass information media. As a result of the crisis, several thousand journalists have lost their jobs – mass information media have reduced staffs by 15-30%. In so doing “it is complex to say specifically how many mass information media employees were reduced with violation of Labor legislation”, noted the journalist.

Panfilov had likewise declared that Russia is found in first place in the world with respect to the quantity of initiated criminal cases in relation to journalists. In so doing 95% of them are initiated by representatives of the power.

By the way, Oleg Panfilov is far from the first (and, most likely) not the last journalist to abandon Russia. In their time from the country left correspondent of radio «Liberty» Andrei Babitsky;  television presenter Savik Shuster;  «Novaya gazeta» correspondent Sergei Zolovkin;  the female Chechen journalist Mainat Abdullayeva; journalists from Karachayevo-Chnrkessia Yuri Bagrov and Fatima Tlisova; Elena Tregubova, who had written the book «Tales of a Kremlin Digger»;  journalist from Kemerovo Alexander KosvintsevManana Aslamazyan, who had headed the foundation “Educated Media” and the organization “Internews»;  Mikhail Voitenko,  former editor-in-chief of the authoritative net magazine “Morskoy bulletin – Sovfrakht“… The list can be continued. All of them were threatened by obvious danger. Panfilov, I can presume, could have had such danger lying in wait for him in the future.

At any rate, on the site Grani.Ru he said: «In Georgia I can feel myself professionally indispensable. I can take part in public processes, that are interesting to me. It is not wanted to conduct the remaining years to no purpose… If one is to speak of some kind of undercurrent, then, of course, it is there. The undercurrent consists of the fact that Georgia – is a country much more free than Russia, and here there are prospects for development both for journalistics, and for society, it is more interesting for me here now. Unfortunately, I have to say that in Russia there are fewer and fewer such prospects, and to be honest, I am already sufficiently disenchanted in the prospects of my work in Russia»


4 responses to “Journalists Flee Putin’s Russia in Droves

  1. AP reporter was caught up in Stalin family’s agony

    Today at 12:07 | Associated Press

    WASHINGTON, Connecticut (AP) —

    Newly arrived in Moscow on his first foreign assignment, Associated Press correspondent George Krimsky sensed he had a sensational Cold War scoop on his hands, and he pounced. The story was the possible defection to the United States of the grandson of Josef Stalin, the notorious Communist dictator and World War II hero of the Soviet Union.

    “For survival reasons, the normal journalistic rules didn’t apply in covering the Soviet Union in those days,” Krimsky says. “For example, agency correspondents shared dissident news with their competitors, so no single journalist could be blamed by the authorities. That practice would have been anathema elsewhere.”

    In February 1977, the Soviets ordered his expulsion following Soviet media allegations of unspecified “intelligence activities” and “illegal currency transactions.” There was no mention of his contacts with Stalin’s grandson then or later.

    When Krimsky left, Sakharov came to the airport to say goodbye. “Such expulsions,” Sakharov wrote in his “Memoirs,” published in 1990, “far from being tokens of professional failure, were the rewards of exceptional journalistic diligence.”

    In a 1986 interview with The New York Times, she said he had been phoning and writing to her, but after they met, “I could see that my son and Olga did not like each other. My son and his new wife were drinking lots of vodka whenever we saw them. This alarmed me. Conversation was uneasy. …”

    She said she later realized that he had been instructed to get her to return. “When we appeared before him in person, he was more embarrassed than glad to see his mother. … It was really a dirty game, and quite possibly one played by the KGB.”

  2. Welcome to Georgia Oleg, we are proud to have you here.

  3. Well that’s one more great journalist for Georgia. -1 for Russia… Oh and how many are there left in Russia? 0? 1? 2?

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