16 Марта 2011 года

Glasnost Defence Foundation Digest No. 515

March 14, 2011


Elections: reporters seen as nuisance

A single voting day announced nationwide on March 13 marked the election of deputies to legislative assemblies in 12 regions of the Russian Federation. As usual, numerous law violations were registered, including infringements of journalists’ rights.

In Perm on March 11, canvassers were detained while distributing a special release of the newspaper Permskiye Sosedi that had been officially paid for from the election fund of one of the candidates. And in the town of Kurchatov near Moscow, Pyotr Zimovets, a reporter for the newspaper Oblastniye Vesti, was charged with “misbehaviour” at the polling station on March 13 and taken to the police. As it turned out, he had disturbed committee members with what they took to be “strange questions”, like “Why haven’t the committee protocols been brought yet?”, “Why are United Russia’s canvassing materials lying around at the polling station on the voting day?”, and “Why does Lyudmila Semiletova combine her election committee chairwomanship with the position of deputy mayor of Kurchatov, in defiance of the law?”

Reporters for the newspaper Grazhdansky Golos (issued by the Golos [Voice] Association which monitors elections in 40 regions across Russia) were treated in a particularly unfriendly way.

In Syktyvkar, Komi Republic, they were simply ousted from the polling stations as votes began to be counted. They were told Grashdansky Golos was not “on the list of accredited newspapers” – and this despite media reporters’ right under the law to attend election committee sittings without any additional authorisation. Asked to furnish an official written document explaining the reasons for the journalists’ expulsion, committee officials called the police to clear the station of the outsiders.

In Saratov, a correspondent for the Versiya-Saratov news agency was driven out of the school building that housed polling stations Nos. 198 and 199. Initially, he had been allowed to come in and even sit beside a group of observers, but after a telephone talk with an unknown person, election committee head Nadezhda Imshina told the journalist his presence at the polling station with just his ID was impossible – he had to present a document confirming the fact of his employment as a media reporter, or else a special warrant. After that, police officers saw him to the door.

In Nizhny Novgorod on March 13, police detained Grazhdansky Golos correspondent Aleksandr Alperovich. According to Nikolai Nikolayev, local Golos coordinator, officers at the police station persuaded Alperovich to give up his monitoring of procedural violations during elections, which they described as a “nearly extremist” kind of activity.

In the region of Kaliningrad, Grazhdansky Golos reporter Vladimir Bogatyryov was beaten up at the polling station in the village of Lesnoye, where he had arrived to cover municipal elections. Having shown his ID, the journalist asked permission to look at the election committee documentation, the news agency Regnum reported. When he wondered why the lists of electors were not sealed and why some names were checked out, three unknown men attempted to drive him out – with the help of a policemen present at the polling station. As a result, the journalist was left beaten up and bleeding. He went to the hospital to have the beating officially certified, and reported the attack to the police.

And in the Republic of Agydei, Grazhdansky Golos journalists refused to go to the polls at all. “That was because of the pressure exerted on them by the administrations of the universities they go to,” Golos spokeswoman Olga Novosad told the Ekho Moskvy radio station.

Each time an election is held in this country, many media reporters get detained by the police, signalling an evil trend taking shape. One may only wonder who is actually interested in having the press held at arm’s length during elections.



World Day Against Cyber-Censorship

Marking World Day Against Cyber-Censorship on March 12, Paris-based media rights group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) released a special report on the status of online freedom of expression worldwide.

Censorship is practised in various forms in more than 60 countries, RSF General Secretary Jean-Francois Julliard said. “At least 119 people have been put into custody only for using the Internet to express their personal opinion. State governments have been seeking to take information circulating in the Web under their control and exclude any criticism of their performance. We need more than ever today to defend online freedom of expression and protect cyber-dissidents,” Julliard said.

The report section dedicated to Russia says that “2010 was the year when the Internet galvanised Russian society, exerting its influence on the country's politics and current events despite government efforts to make the Russian Web suit its own purposes. Enhanced collaboration between bloggers, online media and certain traditional media outlets may have a positive impact on the right to information, bucking the trend towards a large-scale erosion of freedoms in Russia.”

The reports says that “among the key issues which bloggers have tackled – successfully compensating for the absence of coverage by the traditional media – is the fight to preserve the Khimki Forest”, as well as “the Help Map project which has enabled Russian netizens to warn firefighters about the spread of forest fires and to grant or offer help to those most affected by this disaster”.

Special attention in the report is given to Russian authorities’ attempts to control information flows via the web. “Russia is not enforcing a website filtering policy like that of China, for example, but its leaders are using more subtle control methods designed not to prevent the transmission of information but to shape it, often by resorting to genuine propaganda and by placing pressure on Internet access providers,” the RSF report says. “Regional-level attempts to filter the Internet were observed in 2010, when local access providers tried to block certain IP addresses – initiatives less likely to raise a public outcry and which directly affect the target population. While such attempts failed, they may be the first signs of delocalised censorship.”

In order to tighten their grip on cyberspace, Russian authorities increasingly depend upon Internet access providers and the various blog and social network platforms, thus to some extent privatising their surveillance and control, the report says. “This is all the easier to implement in that popular social networks such as Vkontakte and the LiveJournal blogs platform were bought out by oligarchs with close ties to the Russian leadership.”

“Cyber attacks have continued, yet it is still difficult to trace them back to the perpetrators. The website of the independent daily Novaya Gazeta was paralysed for a week in late January 2010 after several denial-of-service (DdoS) attacks,” the report says.

Its authors point to bloggers’ successes in denouncing corruption as well as their work during local elections which showed “the capacity of bloggers to denounce instances of fraud and to document them. The Russian blogosphere and online media will probably be tested during the upcoming 2012 presidential elections,” the report says.



Moscow. Markelov-Baburova murder trial continues

The Moscow City Court has continued hearings of the murder case of lawyer Stanislav Markelov and journalist Anastasia Baburova.

At the March 9 hearing, more witnesses for the defence were questioned. Komsomolskaya Pravda staffer Dmitry Steshin said his friend Nikita Tikhonov, who is accused of shooting Markelov and Baburova, had been hiding out (prior to his arrest) because he was afraid of attacks by activists of the anti-fascist movement. Besides, Steshin does not believe Tikhonov or his companion, Yevgenia Khasis, are guilty: according to him, the accused don’t even know how to use firearms. As Steshin was teaching Tikhonov to handle the Saiga carbine one day, he said, he had “nearly got shot” by the trainee. The witness did not deny that Tikhonov is a nationalist, which to him means “simply a patriot”. “He was very much annoyed by Moscow’s occupation by large numbers of migrants; he said he couldn’t just sit and watch that quietly,” Steshin said. He could not say anything intelligible, though, about Tikhonov’s passport that had been found in Steshin’s house.

The defence lawyers again attempted to challenge Judge Aleksandr Zamashnyuk for his “biased attitude” and “enmity” toward them – a motion that the judge turned down.

The court then heard testimony by A. Baburova’s parents. “Anastasia’s friends said she was being threatened,” Larissa Baburova, the victim’s mother, said. “After my daughter’s death I re-read her correspondence and saw she had walked on the razor’s edge. … They killed her because she was a devoted anti-fascist.” Eduard Baburov, Anastasia’s father, was quoted by the ITAR-TASS news agency as saying he was sure the accused knew his daughter. He maintains Markelov’s killing was preplanned, and Baburova was shot and killed as an eyewitness.

The court also turned down a motion by the accused to get married, which demonstrative act the judge saw as signalling an attempt to influence the jury panel.


Republic of Karelia. Web newspaper’s archives “cleaned up”

By Anatoly Tsygankov,
GDF staff correspondent in North-Western Federal District

The newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets v Karelii (MKK) has changed hands. That actually happened last summer, but since this year began, more attentive readers have noted the disappearance from the online newspaper Vesti Karelii, where the majority of MKK publications are reprinted, of articles criticising the Petrozavodsk administration. Specifically, attempts to open the story “The Smart Wits” about Oleg Fokin, the incumbent head of the Petrozavodsk Council, results in the browser’s flashing a note, “The user’s limit of search requests is exhausted.”

The said article described Fokin’s unseemly behaviour prior to his becoming the City Council speaker. Naturally, the paper version of the publication is still available in the libraries – but not on the Vesti Karelii website, where it has been erased. The reasons are simple to explain: the new owner of both MKK and the online newspaper is a member of the so-called “Alikhanov Group” to which O. Fokin belongs, too. (Davletkhan Alikhanov, a local oligarch, has now been appointed Karelia’s deputy head.) Having got control over the two publications, the new owner very logically ordered the scrapping of all archival stuff criticising both him as a businessman, and his partners.

This reminds one of the gloomy years of Soviet-style censorship, when the names and photo pictures of political dissidents were crossed or even clipped out of books and newspapers: those people dared to be disloyal toward the Communist party leadership! But those who ordered the removal of critical stories from the Vesti Karelii website failed to take into account that, having once struck the cyberspace, any publication is bound to appear on other web portals as well, and any “banned” article can easily be found elsewhere in the Internet. Moreover, now that the fact of censorship has been brought to light, the number of people who might want to browse for the story exposing Fokin is likely to grow.


Moscow Region. Authorities eject independent newspaper from its premises

By Natalia Severskaya,
GDF staff correspondent in Central Federal District

Authorities in the town of Protvino near Moscow have been driving the independent newspaper Sobytiya from its office in the town centre which it has occupied for more than 17 years now. When editor Lyudmila Fomenko offered to buy the building out, Mayor Andrei Mazhenov said no.

He told the regional newspaper Yezhednevniye Novosti-Podmoskovye that the building would alternatively be offered to a municipal company that he hesitated to name, though. And asked whether any tenants of the office building had likewise been urged to move out, Bazhenov replied, “Not yet.”

The newspaper challenged the mayoral decision before the Moscow Region Court of Arbitration. Until a final decision is taken, it will stay at its current location.

The Glasnost Defence Foundation has sent the Protvino mayor a message reading as follows:

“We think it necessary to remind you of the fact of your being only the manager, not owner, of municipal property. Your attempt to gear administrative leverage in defiance of local community interests and the people’s right to be comprehensively informed and to freely express their opinion not only hinders journalists’ professional activities but also harms our common freedom.”


Belgorod. Editor fined for “propagation of Nazi symbols”

By Roman Zholud,
GDF staff correspondent in Central Federal District

Valery Dzhavadov, editor of the newspaper Zhitiyo-Bytiyo, has been fined by a justice of the peace for “propagating Nazi symbols”. The editor finds the decision irrelevant because “we only published a report about the customs service’s performance in Belgorod.” “If anything, that could be taken as a promotion of that customs service,” Dzhavadov said.

The scandal flared up after the newspaper published an article that cited the Belgorod customs service press spokesman as saying they had detained a man who had failed to declare a collection of rare coins, banknotes and stamps, an old gramophone, and antique photo cameras. The story was illustrated by a customs service-provided photo picture of the antiques, among them old German stamps with Nazi symbols, which gave rise to the charges of the “propagation of Nazism”.

The justice’s ruling has already been challenged before the Sverdlovsky District court of Belgorod.


Far Eastern Federal District. Seasonal neurotic exacerbation?

A strange action swept the Far East on March 11: the police departments of the Kamchatka, Magadan and Amur Regions, as well as the city of Anadyr, received e-mail messages about bombs planted on the premises of the TV/radio companies in Magadan, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky and Anadyr, and the TV tower in Blagoveshchensk.

The staffs of the “mined” facilities had to be urgently evacuated. No explosive devices were found.

Similar e-mail messages were received from unidentified senders by a score of educational establishments all across Russia on March 9-11.

The motives of the “online terrorists” are unclear. Maybe we are only dealing with an exacerbation of neurotic disorders that are typical of mentally imbalanced people in spring. But what if it’s something more serious?

But then, one can hardly expect our law enforcement to track down the perpetrators. They find it a lot easier to fight “extremists” who take the liberty of criticising authorities in the media…

[Based on Interfax, Radio Liberty and RIA Novosti reports]


Perm Region. Fake blog created to compromise opposition media group founder

By Vassily Moseyev,
GDF staff correspondent in Volga Federal District

Igor Grinberg, the founder of the Permsky Obozrevatel media group, has published a statement in connection with the emergence of a web blog featuring rude and discrediting texts the authorship of which is ascribed to him.

Permsky Obozrevatel (PO) is the region’s sole independent newspaper regularly featuring analytical material about government and business activities. Many publications gave rise to criminal proceedings instituted against ill-performing officials and dishonest businessmen.

This, the media group founder believes, is what makes many government officials feel unhappy about his newspaper’s independent editorial policy. In 2006, authorities attempted to close PO, for which purpose its office was repeatedly searched by law enforcers and secret service agents. Grinberg maintains those attempts were initiated personally by Perm Region Governor Oleg Chirkunov.

Over the years that passed since those searches, his newspaper’s policy has not changed. Moreover, each proven fact of administrators’ corrupt behaviour has given rise to publications in Moscow-based media as well.

Under the circumstances, it seems logical that provocations have been attempted “with a view to playing down the importance of PO’s corruption-exposing efforts, smearing my own good name, and undermining public trust in my newspaper,” Grinberg said, referring to the “rude and dirty postings” on the fake blog signed by his name and illustrated by his photo portrait borrowed somewhere in the Internet.

He made an officially certified protocol of the content of the pirate web blog and filed a report with the law enforcement agencies. The perpetrator of the provocation is said to have been identified and will bear liability under the law.

Meanwhile, more DDoS attacks on the Permsky Obozrevatel media group’s NeSekretno and PermskiyeSosedi websites have been reported, freezing the websites’ operation for a few days. An investigation has been launched to find out whether the attacks were part of a deliberate subversive action.


Sakhalin Region. Defence lawyer’s legal claim against journalist turned down

By Olga Vassilyeva,
GDF staff correspondent in Far Eastern Federal District

People in Severo-Kurilsk, Sakhalin Region, saw the recent litigation between Aleksandr Chernega, the founder and editor of, and a reporter for, the newspaper Paramushir-Vesti, and Yuri Antonenko, a defence lawyer, as a case out of the ordinary: lawyers and journalists have much in common, earning money (different money, though) by helping people resist unlawful treatment by executives, legislators or, to a lesser degree, by businessmen… So what is it that caused representatives of the “fourth and fifth estates” to quarrel?

It turns out Y. Antonenko is the head of the district election committee which, as established by a prosecutor’s office check-up, forged the mayoral election returns in 2009. “Actually, the election campaign was turned into a big and noisy judicial quarrel,” Chernega wrote, also stressing the point that the College of Judges in Severo-Kurilsk, chaired by Antonenko, had been offered a cosy office at the local administration headquarters, without the need to pay for the premises, office equipment or communications. No less oddly, one of the local VIPs, the head of the District Assembly, turned out to be employed as an accounting officer with the College of Judges. Although the assembly chair claimed he worked for the lawyers free of charge, Chernega, knowing all too well how much work an accountant is supposed to do, called the disinterested nature of his part-time employment into question. Those and other facts, coupled with suspicions concerning the lawyer’s professionalism and observance of ethical norms, were published in Paramushir-Vesti last year.

Hurt by that publication, Antonenko filed a legal claim asking to protect his honour, dignity, business reputation and privacy, and demanding RUR 1 m in moral damage compensation.

Last December, Federal Judge Kondratyev of the Severo-Kurilsk district court satisfied his claim partially, slashing the compensation amount to RUR 40,000. Anyone reading that ruling would see how hard the court had had to work getting to the core of the conflict. The document contained dozens of references to Russian and international laws, as well as to precedents considered by the European Court of Human Rights. Yet the resulting decision was quite unexpected: the court agreed with the conclusions of a linguistic expert who claimed that the conflict was over information that journalist Chernega failed to prove to be accurate and true to life. The judge believed the payment of just RUR 40,000 in moral damage compensation “would not constitute an infringement of media freedom”.

However, the plaintiff found the amount of compensation awarded to him insufficient and challenged the primary court’s decision before a court of appeals, insisting on the sum originally claimed. The defendant, for his part, found it inordinately large and filed a protest, too, stressing that all the facts cited in his publication had been duly checked, and all the rest were no more than evaluative judgments. He also pointed to the system of mutual protection existing among the district administrators, prosecutors and defence lawyers, which had resulted in not a single criminal case opened against local officials suspected of corrupt behaviour. In addition, he drew the higher-standing judicial authority’s attention to the fact that his newspaper would have to close automatically in the event of its paying the forty-thousand-rouble compensation charged by the court; Russia has never heard of a media outlet required to pay an equivalent of its 4-year income in moral damage compensation (Paramushir-Vesti is printed on an ordinary printer in 300 copies). “The largest fine so far – RUR 330 m – has been charged to the newspaper Kommersant, amounting only to its one-month, not four-year, sales proceeds, and even that fine was later cancelled,” Chernega wrote in his appeal.

The Civil Law College of Judges of the Sakhalin Region Court cancelled the district court’s ruling on the grounds that the statements challenged by the plaintiff were evaluative judgments, not assertions, after all, and turned down Antonenko’s claim in full.



Conflicts registered by GDF Monitoring Service on RF territory in February 2011

Attacks on journalists – 3 (Aleksandr Chernega, editor and publisher of newspaper Paramushir-Vesti, Sakhalin Region; Anatoly Makarov, NTV journalist, Moscow; Ivan Ivanov, deputy editor-in-chief, TASS-Centre news agency, Moscow).

Instances of censorship – 6 (Bratsk TV/Radio Company, Irkutsk Region; NTV, Moscow; newspaper Surgutskaya Tribuna, Khanty-Mansi Autonomous District; newspaper Vladimirskiye Vedomosti, Vladimir; Channel One, Moscow – censored twice).

Criminal charges against journalists and media – 3 (Aleksandr Tolmachev, former editor, regional supplement Argumenty Nedeli-Yug, Rostov-on-Don; Alla Chernyshova, editor, website ecmo.ru and newspaper Khimkinskaya Pravda Zhiva, Moscow Region; news bulletin Spravedlivaya Rossiya, Kursk).

Illegal sacking of editor/journalist – 1 (Dmitry Gubin, journalist, Vesti FM radio station, Moscow).

Detention by police, FSB, etc. – 13 (Piotr Falkowski and Marek Borawski of Polish newspaper Nasz Dziennik, both detained in Moscow Region, twice; Luke Harding, The Guardian reporter, detained in Moscow Region; Andrei Koretsky, owner and editor of website UralDaily.ru, Chelyabinsk; Rimma Akhmirova, correspondent, Sobesednik magazine, Krasnodar Region; Dmitry Florin, correspondent, Caucasian Knot news agency, Moscow; Alla Chernyshova, editor, website ecmo.ru and newspaper Khimkinskaya Pravda Zhiva, Moscow Region; Yevgeny Tatarnikov, freelance reporter, newspaper Rezonans, Saratov Region; Pavel Yermolov, graphics designer, NTV, Moscow; Yevgeny Titov, correspondent, newspaper Novaya Gazeta, and Yuri Kutsenko, journalist, newspaper Chelovek Truda, both detained in Krasnodar Region).

Legal claims against journalists and media, registered – 17, worth a total of RUR 12,210,000.

Denial of access to information (including bans on audio/video recording and photography; denials of accreditation; restrictions on visits to or presence at events held in government agencies, at industrial enterprises, in state institutions, etc.) – 23.

Threats against journalists and media – 2 (Sergey Krasilnikov, journalist, website Ulyanovsk Online, Ulyanovsk; Yevgeny Tatarnikov, freelance reporter, newspaper Rezonans, Saratov Region).

Ejection of media from their premises – 2 (newspaper Velsk-Info, Arkhangelsk Region; newspaper Cherkessk: Vchera, Segodnya, Zavtra, Karachai-Cherkess Republic).

Refusal to print (or distribute) media – 2 (newspaper Zashchita, Krasnoyarsk Region; newspaper Svetlogorye, Kaliningrad Region).

Closure of media – 1 (newspaper Ryazansky Dom, Ryazan).

Withdrawal, purchase or confiscation of print run – 3 (newspaper Zashchita, Krasnoyarsk Region; newspaper Surgutskaya Tribuna, Khanty-Mansi Autonomous District; newspaper Yayik, Orenburg Region).

Interference with Internet publications – 3 (Khakassia news agency, Abakan; website Ulyanovsk Online, Ulyanovsk; website of United Russia party).

Confiscation of/damage to photo, video or audio apparatus and computers – 3 (photo camera and PC of Piotr Falkowski and Marek Borawski, correspondents of newspaper Nasz Dziennik, confiscated in Moscow Region; PC of Andrei Koretsky, website UralDaily.ru, Chelyabinsk).

Other forms of pressure and infringement of journalists’ rights – 28.



Russian activists appeal to Amnesty International

Ladies and Gentlemen,

After Alexei Simonov’s failed attempt to hand this message personally, the Glasnost Defence Foundation hereby appeals to Amnesty International via the media.


To: Amnesty International, MA

Dear Sirs:

We have no doubt that our country’s authorities initiated the first trial of Mikhail Khodorkovsky first and foremost because he held an independent political position and was convinced of the need to do everything possible to thwart the curtailment of democratic institutions in the Russian Federation. This manifested itself in the form of the considerable financial support that he rendered to opposition political parties – in full compliance with the law, but contrary to the wishes of the authorities.

The obvious political motivation of the first trial provided every ground to recognise Mikhail Khodorkovsky as a political prisoner. The reason for the second trial against him, with its charges that were absurd to the point of being comical, was his work as a political commentator – his interviews and articles written from prison. Those public statements not only contain an analysis of what Khodorkovsky considers to be the erroneous political and economic course being taken by the current leadership of the Russian Federation, but also offer proposals on how to change this course. No hardships of prison life, not even the grossest violations of his rights in detention, have been able to break this person.

Over his years in prison, Mikhail Khodorkovsky has turned into a prominent public figure, capable of becoming a leader of a united democratic opposition. The ruling authoritarian regime too knows this well.

In these conditions, the leadership of the RF has conducted a shameful second trial, and by way of unprecedented pressure on the court has attained the issuance of a new harsh sentence, the main objective of which was not to allow the release of M. Khodorkovsky from jail.

We maintain that any person convicted for no other reason than giving voice to his convictions is a prisoner of conscience, and it is precisely for this reason that we are asking you to reconsider your position in relation to Mikhail Khodorkovsky and to recognise this status for him. We consider it necessary that this status be recognised also for Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s like-minded friend Platon Lebedev, unjustly convicted together with him, who was used in the capacity of a hostage at an early stage of the first trial, when the authorities had not yet made up their minds to arrest Khodorkovsky and were hoping to intimidate and squeeze him into emigration by arresting Lebedev.

We have received confirmation on numerous occasions in recent times that your esteemed organisation knows how to react quickly and expeditiously to fundamental human rights violations that the Russian authorities are allowing to take place.

We do not know what other new ordeals await Khodorkovsky and Lebedev, and so we turn to you with a request to recognise them as prisoners of conscience without any undue delay. We feel this would be a powerful method of bringing additional public attention to the fate of these courageous people.


  • Konstantin Azadovsky, Chair of Executive Committee of St. Petersburg PEN Club, Associate Member of German Academy of Language and Literature
  • Boris Akunin, writer
  • Sergey Gandlevsky, poet, member of Russian PEN Centre
  • Nina Katerli, write, member of St. Petersburg PEN Club
  • Alexey Simonov, Vice-President of Russian PEN Centre, President of Glasnost Defence Foundation
  • Boris Strugatsky, writer, member of St. Petersburg PEN Club
  • Igor Irtenev, Russian poet
  • Marietta Chudakova, member of European Academy, Professor of Literature Institute (Moscow)
  • Ludmila Ulitskaya, writer, member of Executive Committee of Russian PEN Centre
  • Arkady Vaksberg, writer, Vice-President of Russian PEN Centre

Actors and artistic directors:

  • Liya Akhedzhaklova, People’s Artist of RF
  • Oleg Basilashvili, People’s Artist of RF
  • Kama Ginkas, film director, People’s Artist of RF, Professor
  • Alexey Devotchenko, Honoured Artist of RF
  • Eldar Ryazanov, People’s Artist of USSR
  • Natalya Fateyeva, People’s Artist of RF
  • Alexander Feklistov, actor
  • Genrietta Yanovskaya, Chief Stage Director of Youth Theatre, People’s Artist of RF.
  • Igor Yasulovich, People’s Artist of RF
  • Mikhail Kozakov, film director, theatre and movie actor, People’s Artist of RF
  • Sergey Yursky, Soviet and Russian theatre and movie actor, stage director, script writer, RSFSR People’s Artist

Scientists and scholars:

  • Sergey Beletsky, Doctor of Historical Sciences, Professor.
  • Rafail Ganelin, Doctor of Historical Sciences, corresponding member of Russian Academy of Sciences
  • Alexander Gorodnitsky, Academician of Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, poet, member of Executive Committee of Russian PEN Centre
  • Boris Yegorov, D.Litt, Professor
  • Alexander Kobrinsky, D.Litt, Professor
  • Alexander Lavrov, Academician of Russian Academy of Sciences, member of St. Petersburg PEN Club
  • Irina Levinskaya, Doctor of Historical Sciences, member of St. Petersburg PEN Club
  • Oleg Lekmanov, D.Litt, Moscow State University Professor
  • Yuri Ryzhov, Academician of Russian Academy of Sciences
  • Dmitry Zimin, Doctor of Technical Sciences, laureate of RF State Award; laureate of the A.S. Popov Award of USSR Academy of Sciences; founder and honorary president of AO Vympelcom (BeeLine); founder of Dynasty Charitable Foundation; founder of Prosvetitel Literary Award
  • Yevgeny Gontmakher, Doctor of Economic Sciences, Professor
  • Marc Urnov, Doctor of Political Sciences.
  • Irina Yasina, economist
  • Mikhail Delyagin, Academician of Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, Doctor of Economic Sciences, Director of Institute of Problems of Globalisation


  • Vladimir Posner, TV presenter, first president of Russian Television Academy (1994–2008)
  • Leonid Parfyonov, journalist, TV presenter
  • Dmitry Krylov, TV presenter
  • Boris Vishnevsky, Novaya Gazeta observer, laureate of Russia’s Golden Quill award, member of St. Petersburg PEN Club.
  • Maria Sedykh, journalist, member of Union of Theatre Workers, member of Union of Journalists
  • Yuri Rost, photographer, journalist, writer, actor
  • Victor Shenderovich, writer, satirist, TV and radio presenter

Musicians and visual artists:

  • Gidon Kremer, musician, laureate of Triumph award
  • Arvo Pärt, modern Estonian composer
  • Boris Zhutovsky, visual artist, illustrator, writer.



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