LIVE UPDATES: The Russian journalists’ community as well as many bloggers have been avidly discussing a transcript leaked from a meeting of the new management of RBC with the staff.
Welcome to our column, Russia Update, where we will be closely following day-to-day developments in Russia, including the Russian government’s foreign and domestic policies.
The previous issue is here.
Recent Analysis and Translations:
– NATO Got Nothing From Conceding To Russia In the Past, Why Should It Cave To The Kremlin Now?
– Who is Hacking the Russian Opposition and State Media Officials — and How?
– Does it Matter if the Russian Opposition Stays United?
As we reported, three lead editors at RBC, a wire service which had a reputation of independence, were fired evidently under pressure from the Kremlin, and two new editors were put in their place.
They are Elizaveta Osetinskaya, editor-in-chief of the site; Maksim Solyus, chief editor of the RBC newspaper; and also Roman Badanin, chief editor of the RBC news agency
“If you cross the double line when you are driving, your license is removed. Does that mean that you will no longer drive an automobile or you will now fly a plane, or something else perhaps?”
“And it is a road. The news space, as you know full well, is a very sensitive zone. And we all have now a catastrophically difficult moment. Not only in RBC, but in all mass media. This difficult moment, I don’t know — the overflowing street traffic, very nervous drivers, the catastrophic tension everyone who is outside the automobile has, and inside of it. And our job is to display our professionalism in such a way that this traffic is as safe as it is for those who sit inside the car as it is for pedestrians.”
Trosnikov then continued with his concept of RBC as “colleagues” with TASS, as many of them trained at Kommersant.
“We are of the same school, believe me,” he claimed. “Both regarding the audience and responsibility to the audience — it’s the same in fact.”
“And when we get into not news content, but deep content, then everything has to be looked at through the prism of money, state money, the corrupt element, corrupt money, personal money, that is, the basic by-word is not in news content for RBC but in money.”
Golikova asked if the journalist didn’t think there should be any rules of the road at all:
“…there are rules of the road; everyone here are adults and understand perfect well that they [the rules] are thought up so that traffic is safe and so that people going 180/km and hour understand that they are risking their own lives.”
Trosnikov replied in exasperation, “I’ll tell you honestly, I will not answer such a question, you want too much.” Golikova urged the journalists to discuss future material.
The journalist came back at them with the remark that they had more material on Putin’s daughter.
Next the journalists discussed Putin’s absence. “It’s not investigation; it’s news,” said one.
Molibog asked, “Is it news?” He felt that the end of the piece RBC did publish, about people praying for the president was “irrelevant.”
“Believe me, we have sat many times where you have sat now, the shareholders changed in Kommersant, Berezovsky came to us, Usmanov, Kovalsky was fired. It was exactly the same, to be equal you would have to ask about computers that didn’t work.”
Kashin cited the story of a media outlet using an article from Le Monde about how many billions the Russian prime minister had; this led to the editor being fired. That was the “double line” — newspapers should not peer into officials’ wallets.
In fact Kashin was referring not to the current story of RBC, but to Izvestiya, and the firing of Igor Golembiovsky, its editor, and the involvement of the shareholder Lukoil. The prime minister in question was Viktor Chernomyrdin, and the story was back in 1997.
But now it is widespread, and all journalists will have to figure out how to cope with it.
— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick