Two Steps Forward, One Step Back:
Russian Journalism in the Post-Soviet Era
by Adam Jones, Ph.D.
Profesor/Investigador, División de Estudios Internacionales
Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE)
México, D.F., MÉXICO
(Note: To reduce the number of endnotes, all quoted passages not specifically referenced are drawn from interviews conducted in Moscow in mid-1997. A full list of these appears at the end of the text.)
Oleg Golembiovsky, chief editor and director of the Izvestia publishing house, welcomed me into his spacious office, and lit the first of a number of cigarettes. As I arranged my tape recorder, I noticed a souvenir ice-hockey stick on the window-ledge. It was a memento of the Izvestia Cup, long the most prestigious of Soviet sporting events. The stick linked Golembiovsky to Izvestia's venerable tradition as a leading organ of Soviet propaganda. After the fall of the USSR in 1990-91, while its "big brother" Pravda teetered on the edge of bankruptcy, Izvestia came dramatically into its own. It established a reputation as one of the most critical and professional newspapers of the post-Soviet era. During the August 1991 coup attempt, Izvestia journalists rebelled against conservative chief editor Nikolai Yefimov, defiantly publishing Boris Yeltsin's anti-coup decrees over Yefimov's objections. After the coup, Izvestia successfully re-registered as an independent publication owned by its own "journalists' collective." Yefimov was dismissed as chief editor, and replaced by the man -- Oleg Golembiovsky -- whom I was now interviewing. Under Golembiovsky, wrote Frances Foster, Izvestia's editors and journalists
repeatedly emphasized the newspaper's independent status and line. ... They served notice that Izvestia would no longer mechanically reproduce legislation on instruction from above but, rather, would print only those documents "of interest to readers." ... There was a marked change as well in the content and tone of Izvestia articles. Reporters paraded their liberation from party and state sponsorship in pieces that openly criticized even the highest Soviet and republic leaders and bodies. There was an immediate response from readers and authorities -- a noticeable increase in retail sales and bans on circulation by several republic governments.(79)
But if the transformations generally proved popular with readers and foreign observers, they also brought Izvestia directly into the sights of Supreme Soviet speaker Ruslan Khasbulatov. The parliament, as the successor to the State Presidium, claimed it was the rightful heir to Izvestia's plant and personnel. The result was an extraordinary tug-of-war, which reached a climax in October 1992. Khasbulatov, furious at Izvestia's independent posturings, dispatched armed guards to the publishing complex in downtown Moscow. In response, President Yeltsin sent his own presidential guard to engage the interlopers in a "brief skirmish." By good fortune, "a potentially bloody confrontation" was narrowly avoided.(80) In the end, the parliamentary forces retreated. The battle shifted to Russia's newly-created Constitutional Court, which in a landmark May 1993 decision found in Izvestia's favour, declaring the journalistic collective the rightful inheritors of Izvestia's name and publishing enterprise.
Meanwhile, though, the paper was staggered by new developments: the 1992 market reforms. The paper supported these staunchly in editorials, earning it the opprobrium of some readers. But the reforms sent prices of paper and printing, among other inputs, skyrocketing. Izvestia joined three other leading papers in petitioning the Yeltsin regime for subsidies and other handouts. Its critical spirit appeared to many to grow less bold as its dependence on the regime increased -- although its in-depth, harshly critical coverage of the war in Chechnya was among the best available in the Russian media.(81) In 1995 it "repeatedly drew attention" to machinations by both Yeltsin and the Parliament to manipulate media in the run-up to the parliamentary elections of that year (and the looming 1996 presidential vote). It criticized "parliament's move to close down the Judicial Chamber on Information Disputes which provided relatively impartial judgments on fair election coverage, and the Yeltsin administration's move to harness three state committees (Press, Film and Broadcasting) to the Central Electoral Commission's pre-election educational campaign." Downing called Izvestia "after October 1993 a highly independent newspaper."(82) As late as mid-1997, Yassan Zassoursky, dean of the Moscow State University journalism faculty, said he still considered Izvestia "the best, the most serious newspaper" in the country; The Economist lauded it as "arguably, Russia's best all-round daily newspaper."(83)
But the economic crisis sent Izvestia in search of new sponsors and investors. Things seemed promising in November 1996, when the giant oil corporation LUKoil agreed to purchase 22 percent of shares in the paper -- money that could be used to expand Izvestia's coverage and reach in the far-flung Russian regions. As Golembiovsky and I spoke in the summer of 1997, though, the supposed outside saviour was looking more threatening by the day. In April 1997, Izvestia had reprinted an article from the French daily Le Monde accusing Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin of amassing US $5 billion in unaccounted-for wealth. (Le Monde later retracted the allegation.) A few days later, LUKoil's president, Vagit Alekperov, protested Izvestia's decision to publish the article. Readers, he said, might get the impression that LUKoil sought to smear Chernomyrdin.(84) The oil company and Izvestia exchanged numerous public broadsides in the weeks that followed. Rumours abounded that LUKoil was seeking to buy up shares from Izvestia journalists and editors, seize control of the board of directors, and depose Oleg Golembiovsky and other senior figures at the paper. By March 1997, indeed, LUKoil appeared to have gained control of a full 49 percent of Izvestia shares.
To head off LUKoil's designs, Izvestia turned to another corporation: Oneximbank, described by its chair (and former First Deputy Prime Minister) Vladimir Potanin as a "private bank with a state mentality."(85) Despite the widespread concerns about editorial changes made to Komsomoskaya Pravda after Oneximbank acquired control the previous year, the company was invited to purchase 25.8 percent of Izvestia's shares. Izvestia would hold 25.8 percent more; together the two would be able to counter LUKoil's 49 percent. There was only one problem, and Golembiovsky himself mentioned it in passing during our interview: "There are no intimate relationships in business." What would happen, I asked, if Oneximbank and LUKoil cut a deal behind Izvestia's back, combined their shares, and took the paper over? Golembiovsky acknowledged the hypothetical danger, but dismissed its likelihood. "We have reached an agreement [with Oneximbank]," he proclaimed confidently, "in which the editorial and financial aspects of Izvestia will be strictly separated."
The interview was conducted on 2 June 1997. On 4 June, news broke of a charter signed by LUKoil, Oneximbank, and the Izvestia collective that seemed to bolster Golembiovsky's claim. The corporations agreed not to use their shares to "take actions restricting the independence of views [stated] in the publication" or "aimed at promoting anyone's interests through the publications."
Exactly one month later, a flustered Golembiovsky was calling a press conference in Moscow, seeking to explain the sudden decision of Izvestia's board of directors to fire him as chief editor. Oneximbank had indeed switched sides, combining its shares with LUKoil and seizing control of the board. It was announced that the procedure to choose a new editor would be altered, reducing the role of the journalists' collective. In the end, longtime deputy editor Vasily Zakharko was selected. RFE/RL Newsline reported that "most Izvestia journalists were discouraged by the selection process, and have little hope that the new editor will be independent of the paper's major shareholders."
Oleg Golembiovsky, meanwhile, defiantly announced plans for a Novye [New] Izvestia -- to be located just down the road from the old one. Thirty Izvestia journalists resigned to join him in the venture. Even Golembiovsky, though, seemed to recognize that such a project was unviable in the new Russia without substantial corporate sponsorship. He announced that the principal investor in Novye Izvestia would be none other than media magnate Boris Berezovsky. "If Berezovsky really is behind the new project," media analyst Laura Belin wrote gloomily, "it doesn't augur well for the future editorial independence of Novye Izvestia."(86) Indeed, in the paper's first month of publication, (October 1997), journalist Leonid Krutakov announced that he had been fired for publishing an article (in another publication) that criticized Berezovsky.
The case of Izvestia offers a particularly dramatic example of an institution caught up in transition's turbulence. Evident at every point, though -- even to a limited extent under the Soviets -- is Izvestia as an actor in the drama, not merely a passive reflection of mobilizers' designs. In the late 1980s, Izvestia was one of the vanguard publications of glasnost. In the early 1990s, it frequently and publicly defended its autonomy against perceived outside "threat"; subsequently, it did not merely react to material constraints, but actively sought and lobbied for outside sponsorship and investment. Ironically, that lobbying effort would prove the undoing of the first post-Soviet Izvestia. It was not easy, though, to see how it could have been avoided.
Much of the constituency and credibility Izvestia was able to carry into the post-Soviet era derived from its reputation as the more liberal "little brother" of the Communist Party house organ, Pravda. As the official organ of the Soviet State Presidium (parliament), Izvestia was the mouthpiece for a body without much of a voice. This appears to have granted it a certain freedom of movement not open to Pravda -- though such "freedom" was strictly relative, given the oppressive constraints of the USSR's propaganda system. Foreign editor Alexander Sychev put the case for post-Soviet continuity in Izvestia's functioning this way:
Izvestia throughout its history was more liberal during the Soviet period. It was on the left of the political spectrum: it more resembled the capitalist newspapers. It always tried to defend the popular interest in areas like human rights. Izvestia now has the same role; it inherited it from the Izvestia of the Soviet period. But under the Soviets, it criticized only the lower levels of government -- never the higher. It was liberal enough, but it was never punished, because its criticisms were not so harsh. But it was always pushing the boundaries of what was allowed.
As with all other case-studies examined in this work, Izvestia specialized in "demipoliticization": limiting acceptable political discussion to a range of issues and perspectives consonant with the shifting priorities of the regime and corporate sponsors.(87) The other case studies also lead one to seek out powerful personalities, usually directors or chief editors, in explaining the institution's evolution and functioning. In Izvestia's case, several staffers and other commentators pointed to both high points and low points in Central Committee selections for the top editorial post. The combination of forward-thinking leadership and maximum political freedom clearly came during the tenure of Alexei Adzhubei (1959-64). Adzhubei, son-in-law of Premier Nikita Khrushchev, was shifted from Komsomolskaya Pravda to take up the Izvestia post. He sought to apply to Izvestia some of the innovation and exploration that his father-in-law was now permitting in the wider culture. As a result, said veteran "Izvestian" Stanislav Kondrashov, "All Izvestia people, if you talk to them, will remember [Adzhubei]":(88)
Under the previous editor-in-chief, Konstantin Gubin [1948-59], Izvestia was a strictly bureaucratic newspaper, the official organ of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. Of course, under Adzhubei it preserved its position as an official organ, second only to Pravda, because Adzhubei was Khrushchev's son-in-law. So we became equal with Pravda, and sometimes it even looked as if we were a little bit ahead of Pravda, because of these close family connections between Khrushchev and our editor-in-chief. ... Adzhubei changed Izvestia in many ways. The newspaper became a little more vivid, more interesting; its circulation increased. Izvestia's writers had more freedom, though the conception of freedom at that time was a rather narrow one.(89)
A more detached perspective was offered by the young Reuters journalist Dmitry Soshin:
I think the best time for Soviet journalism was in the '60s, the Khrushchev years, when Khrushchev moved his sometimes-very-talented relatives into journalism. Khrushchev's son-in-law, Adzhubei, was editor-in-chief of Izvestia, and I think that was the best time for Izvestia under the Soviets. Because he enticed some very good people over from other publications. He created an excellent staff, and apart from being this streamline for the party, they were very good at human-interest-stories. They covered economics nicely; they had a staff of brilliant political commentators and analysts.
The era, though, ended abruptly with Khrushchev's downfall in 1964. Izvestia's glory days ended with it. Something of a nadir appears to have been reached during the regime of Pyotr Alekseyev (1976-83), which staffer Igor Kovalev recalled as "the worst": "Everybody was unhappy under him. It was really a black time at Izvestia. ... He was too conservative, too inhuman." Alekseyev's tenure coincided with the broader cultural and economic "stagnation" under Leonid Brezhnev. This period may actually have seen improvements in the professional calibre of Soviet journalism, reflecting (among other things) détente and greater contacts with the outside world. But such transformations were not likely to be reflected in a newspaper run by a chief editor handpicked, in turn, by a conservative and culturally philistine Central Committee.(90)
Izvestia's performance during glasnost, however, showed that the energies evident under Adzhubei had not entirely dissipated. The paper leapt to the forefront of the breathless period known as the "golden age." A new generation of journalists at the paper coalesced around the figure of Oleg Golembiovsky.(91) But the more conservative group that had flocked to the conservative Alekseyev was still powerful at the paper. Moreover, it had a firm alliance with the chief editor, Nikolai Yefimov. Thus, when the political reaction against glasnost gathered steam, many at Izvestia proved ready to roll with the forces of reaction.
The confrontation came with the coup attempt of August 1991, in a scene described by David Remnick in Lenin's Tomb.(92) Under Nikolai Yefimov, whom Remnick calls "a shameless sycophant," Izvestia had become "one of the most paradoxical institutions in the country" -- "brimming with talent," but with many of the most talented feeling estranged from their boss.(93) Tensions had been rising for some months before the coup-plotters struck. They arose from the Supreme Soviet's appointment of Yefimov over the preferred candidate of the Izvestia collective, deputy editor Oleg Golembiovsky.(94) Yefimov immediately set about trying "to remove several leading journalists," including Golembiovsky; but the Izvestia editorial board, still smarting from the imposition of the new editor over their objections, bluntly "suggested to Yefimov that he leave instead."(95)
When the coup began, Izvestia, because of its regime affiliation, was spared the banning that other papers suffered. But when Izvestia reporters brought back Boris Yeltsin's appeal to the Russian people at the height of the abortive coup attempt, in the early-afternoon hours of 19 August 1991, Yefimov's underling, Dmitry Mamleyev, refused to print it. Yefimov, for his part,
had missed the start of the battle because he was racing back to Moscow from his vacation house. As soon as he walked through the door, a small group of reporters surrounded him and demanded he publish Yeltsin's statement. Yefimov said there was no way and yanked the metal type from the printing press. Ordinarily, Yefimov would have had his way. But now the printers ... said they would sooner quit than give in. They would sooner destroy the presses than publish Izvestia without the appeal of Boris Yeltsin. Twenty hours late, Izvestia appeared on the streets of Moscow and in every city and village of the Soviet Union. The Emergency Committee's [coup-makers'] proclamations blared out from page one. Yeltsin's appeal to resist the coup was on page two.(96)
Key to the resistance were the Izvestia "printshop workers, typesetters, makeup personnel, press operators and stereotypers" -- a reminder that the actors in such media battles do not always come from the editorial side of the operation.(97) For editors and journalists, though, "this was an important example of our genuine professional worth. ... We lived those three days in the relentlessly brilliant light of conscience."(98) On 22 August, Izvestia renounced its chief editor, publishing a resolution to the effect that "in light of the position taken by N.I. Yefimov" during the coup, he was to be removed "immediately" from office. The Supreme Soviet Presidium, which had "failed to ensure the newspaper's free operation during the period of the unconstitutional putsch," saw "its status as founder" of Izvestia suspended -- at least in the eyes of most staff. Workers also resolved "to postpone ... the question of [naming] Izvestia's editor-in-chief until I.N. [Oleg] Golembiovsky ... returns from official assignment."(99) In the meantime, the journalistic collective would stand as the "official founder of the newspaper." It was duly accorded registration certificate number 1057 by the Ministry of the Press and Public Information of the Russian Federation for a publication to be called simply Izvestia (News), rather than the more partisan "News of the Soviets of USSR People's Deputies," its former official moniker. A charter was adopted in which Izvestia staff pledged to avoid "dependen[ce] on political parties or other public associations that pursue political ends."(100)
When Golembiovsky returned from "a brief assignment abroad," he was confirmed as the new chief editor.(101) Izvestia staff rejoiced, proclaiming on 24 August:
Henceforth we, and we alone, will bear responsibility for every word that appears in our pages. Our confidence that this will be so is bolstered by a key fact -- from now on we will be under the supervision of an editor-in-chief whom we ourselves have elected. Nothing like this has ever happened in Izvestia's history. We are proud and happy that it has fallen to the present generation of staffers to write a new page in that history. And we are confident that our newspaper will be open to different kinds of political thinking, clashes between the most dissimilar points of view, honest debate and -- most important -- 100 percent truthful information.
"Dear readers!" the editorial exclaimed. "We are starting a new life. Our own life, Izvestia's life and, we hote, yours too. We congratulate ourselves and you on this new beginning. ... To our freedom and yours!"(102)
We shall certainly bring this so-called conflict with Izvestia to a conclusion. The newspaper has quite consciously pursued its course of waging war on the Supreme Soviet. How can we tolerate this? How can we allow such things? What sort of Supreme Soviet chairman would I be if I permit two, three, or four people of that collective to prevail over the Supreme Soviet, the country's top legislative authority? This will never happen.
-- Ruslan Khasbulatov, chair of the Supreme Soviet, 21 September 1992(103)
Izvestia's unilateral declaration of independence in August 1991, and its re-registration as a journalistic enterprise controlled by its staff collectively, only deepened the ambiguity of the paper's status. It laid the foundations for a showdown between the paper and the Russian parliament under the leadership of Ruslan Khasbulatov. This meant, in essence, a confrontation between the executive and legislative branches of the Russian federation, since the Yeltsin regime had already shown itself willing to back Izvestia in a showdown with "reactionary" forces. Media organs regularly serve as important "prizes" in transitional power-struggles. In no other case studied here, though, did a newspaper assume Izvestia's status as object of an all-out conflict between contending, national-level political forces.
The events of April 1992 to May 1993 have been expertly chronicled by Frances Foster, upon whose work the following account draws heavily.(104) Izvestia became "the catalyst for direct confrontation between Russia's First and Fourth Estates" on 10 April 1992, when Supreme Soviet chief Khasbulatov -- furious at Izvestia for "deliberately driving a wedge between the Parliament and the President"(105) -- announced his intention to "restore" Izvestia to its former status as the official organ of the legislative branch. A bill introduced and passed in July of the same year sought to negate Izvestia's declaration of independence and declare the Russian Supreme Soviet, as the supposed "successor" to the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet, the rightful owner of the paper.(106) Izvestia appealed to President Yeltsin, who duly "expressed ... his unequivocal and resolute support for Izvestia's collective."(107) Yeltsin's Press Ministry refused to implement the parliamentary resolution, referring the matter instead to the newly-created Constitutional Court. Khasbulatov and the parliament responded by shifting the focus from the attempt to seize control over the existing Izvestia, to attempting to register a new version of the paper, the full name of which -- "News of the Soviets of People's Deputies of the Russian Federation Supreme Soviet" -- made its intended function plain. Central to any such strategy, of course, would be control over the newspaper's physical plant.
Yeltsin countered by instructing Anatoly Chubais, chair of the State Committee for Management of State Property, to recognize a new entity -- the Izvestia State Newspaper-Publishing Complex. Oleg Golembiovsky was appointed general director. The controversy now clearly pitted Yeltsin's executive authority against Khasbulatov's legislature, which in October 1992 formally approved a resolution transferring control of the publishing enterprise and plant to the Supreme Soviet. There followed an ominous instruction: the legislature called out the Supreme Soviet guards, "a 5000-person armed unit under ... Khasbulatov's command," to secure the facilities of Izvestia Publishing House. The climax came on 27 October, when a volatile scene unfolded at the Izvestia plant:
... The Supreme Soviet leadership decided to back up its demands with force by dispatching its troops to the shared premises of Izvestia Publishing House and Izvestia Editorial Office. At this point Boris Yeltsin reentered the arena. In a presidential directive of October 27th, he declared the parliamentary guards an "illegal armed formation" and ordered their immediate disbandment. After a brief skirmish between governmental and parliamentary forces, Khasbulatov's guards withdrew from the Izvestia facilities, thus avoiding a potentially bloody confrontation between the executive and the legislature.(108)
It was a close call, but a turning point. Hereafter, the conflict between the executive and legislative branches would move to other arenas, culminating in the military showdown of October 1993, when troops loyal to the executive shelled the parliament into submission. As for Izvestia, the Constitutional Court in May 1993 "finally issued its long-promised decision and ruled in favour of Izvestia on all counts."(109) The paper's independence, it seemed, was guaranteed. In fact, though, the events left the paper heavily in the debt not only of President Yeltsin, but of Yegor Gaidar and Anatoly Chubais, masterminds of the Russian privatization, behind-the-scenes, supporters of Izvestia's new pro-market orientation, and vital lobbyists on the newspaper's behalf. In fact, "combining all the assets of the former USSR-owned Izvestia publishing company into one 'government newspaper-publishing complex'" briefly turned Izvestia into "a government-owned enterprise"! Eventually, though, shares in the complex would be distributed among Izvestia staff and various regime-affiliated banks.(110) Such affiliations, when interwoven with unfriendly corporate takeovers, would eventually prove fatal to the Izvestia that emerged from the ashes of the old order in 1992-93.
Key to that post-1992 era, though, was an extensive housecleaning facilitated, in part, by the economic crisis that descended with the Gaidar reforms. As millions of subscribers and newsstand buyers were erased from Izvestia's constituency; as the mass public abandoned newspapers to devote themselves to private concerns, so was a radical restructuring of the paper's orientation and staffing deemed to be in order. One aspect of the response was Izvestia's role, along with three other leading dailies, in petitioning the Yeltsin regime for relief from the new economic measures that they all supported editorially. Despite Golembiovsky's March 1992 pledge that "We simply will not accept any government subsidies," his paper by that point had been accepting them for several months, and would continue to do so as long as regime generosity lasted.(111)
Internally, it was clear that a newspaper that had fallen in circulation from 12.5 million to 600,000 copies could not support anything like the payroll it had during the "golden age" of glasnost. But Izvestia's new guard could take the opportunity to rid the paper of recalcitrants. Andrei Zolotov's summary is concise, and bolstered by other testimony:
I know that Golembiovsky has been making a lot of staff changes over his whole term of office. I think their direction was to create a more politically- and stylistically-solid staff, which would be like a party, in a sense. ... The task they were facing was very difficult. They wanted to maintain the name and the reputation of Izvestia, but in fact create a new newspaper. The way they were going to do that was to keep a couple of "sacred cows" and at the same time get rid of a group of journalists who were very honest and professional, but in an old-Izvestia way.
Golembiovsky himself acknowledged that in cutting Izvestia's staff from 1600 people in 1991 to 483 in mid-1997 -- that is, by 75 percent -- "we cut the staff that were connected with the old Soviet governmental system," and "tried to retain the younger age [group] of 'Izvestians,' to release older people." By "older people," one suspects Golembiovsky meant "older mindsets."
The end-result of the "restructuring" was also to concentrate power in a group around a single figure (Golembiovsky), perhaps more than was true during Nikolai Yefimov's tenure. By the time of our interview in June 1997, Golembiovsky, 61 years old, had worked at Izvestia for 31 years, "starting from the most basic position of reporter and ending as chief editor." Over the years he had also served as the paper's Mexico correspondent and a reporter on the economics beat. The 1991-93 events did for him at Izvestia something of what they did for Boris Yeltsin on the national stage: brought him to power on a wave of democratization. His personality and ambitions also seemed important in explaining Izvestia's functioning through to LUKoil/ Oneximbank crisis of mid-1997 -- and well-informed commentators cited Golembiovsky's role as no less significant in the crisis itself.(112)
Some staffers voiced concerns and criticisms of this centralization of power under Golembiovsky. Yuri Feofanov, despite his generally favourable estimation, conceded that Izvestia was "very much under the control and direction" of the chief editor. The journalistic collective, so key to the conflict with the Yefimov regime within the paper, now seemed vestigial. Its role was "almost nothing," in Feofanov's view. There was "no representation for staff -- a body that would help people to express their opinions." Stanislav Kondrashov, one of the unassailable "sacred cows" of the old guard who remained at Izvestia after 1992, switched (interestingly) to the first-person-plural in declaring that "We are on friendly terms with Mr. Golembiovsky." Kondrashov added: "I have some reservations about his line, but it would not be quite appropriate for me to discuss them." He then proceeded to do so:
What I want to say is that Golembiovsky is a clever man, he's effective. He once said, "My major dream is that Izvestia will not perish, will not disappear under my leadership." At the same time, of course, he concentrated more and more power in his hands -- at the expense of a kind of collective judgment, which we were accustomed to at Izvestia during the glasnost years. We had a very strong tradition, even from the very beginning, of weekly staff meetings to discuss issues ... to engage in friendly discussions, and sometimes rather harsh criticisms, trying together to chart the course of the newspaper. Now, sometimes -- too often - [decisions] are made on an authoritarian basis, by Golembiovsky and two or three people around him. They are good, they are honest journalists, but it seems to me a rather serious shortcoming.
Of particular concern was Golembiovsky's dual function as chief editor and director of the Izvestia publishing enterprise. As at a number of other post-Soviet dailies, Golembiovsky came to combine functions that in western models at least are normally separated, at least formally.(113) More skeptical observers saw this as an ideal means for Golembiovsky to fortify his personal position within the paper. Able to reappoint himself whenever he chose, Golembiovsky was secure from any internal revolt by staff. Only Izvestia's board of directors could -- and eventually would -- remove him.
In the meantime, Golembiovsky's daily round became a whirlwind of interwoven managerial and editorial functions. "It's very difficult," he said in the interview. "I spend more time on management concerns, because there are good people on the editorial side to take care of those issues, and I trust them completely."(114) Whatever the perceived advantages of the arrangement in stabilizing Izvestia after the turbulence of the early 1990s, it seemed to have outlived its welcome by mid-1997. Stanislav Kondrashov was frank in stating that Golembiovsky's
two positions, as the manager or president of the company, Izvestia, and editor-in-chief ... have to be separated. ... We want to return to the previous stage [of Izvestia's functioning], where the editor-in-chief is elected by the staff of the newspaper. That is Golembiovsky's idea too. And it would be a good counter to the commercial structures which are so influential in the newspaper right now. It would be a good counter to LUKoil or Oneximbank, if they wanted to suppress our editorial independence.(115)
Golembiovsky indeed voiced his own criticisms of the dual-function arrangement,(116) telling me he expected the duties to be formally separated at the board meeting scheduled for 22 June 1997.(117) In the end, of course -- on 4 July 1997 -- the board unceremoniously sacked him from both posts.
Izvestia is kind of a special paper, with a specific political direction. So people working here usually have the same political views. Q. How would you define that political direction? It's a deep understanding that Russia can do nothing without drastic changes in all spheres: political, social, and economic.
-- Oleg Golembiovsky
The reputation for professionalism and political independence that Izvestia garnered in the first half of the 1990s was considerable. Attesting to this is the high praise meted out by the dean of MSU's journalism faculty and the London Economist, quoted earlier. On a couple of prominent occasions -- the 1991 attempted coup; the 1994-95 war in Chechnya -- a core of Izvestia's staff showed themselves willing to withstand outside pressure and advance a more crucial and autonomous journalistic project. The paper proclaimed the validity and necessity of such a project throughout the post-1991 era. Izvestia tended to frame crucial controversies in its post-Soviet life -- the battle with the parliament in 1992-93; the decisive crisis with LUKoil and Oneximbank in 1997 -- as a "just war" waged by the journalistic collective against the forces of darkness.
It is important to acknowledge, however, that the assessment of many interview subjects and outside observers varies sharply from such a depiction (and self-depiction) of Izvestia's role. Typical is Eric Johnson's critique:
I'm not that big a fan of Izvestia. I don't think it's the kind of journalism that the country needs. It's too much commentary-based, and by definition that means it's going to be pushing a particular point of view.
The "particular point of view" that Izvestia consistently advanced was quite neatly encapsulated by Golembiovsky's reference to "drastic ... political, social, and economic" change in Russia. In 1990-91, Izvestia pushed a solidly pro-market, pro-democracy line that increasingly associated it with the "reformist" wing of the Yeltsin regime, notably Anatoly Chubais and Yegor Gaidar. The paper's support for harsh reform measures announced in January 1992 (while it sought to evade them through back channels) may have cost Izvestia a sizable chunk of its traditional readership, as we will show. But its "modernizing" orientation won it important supporters within the regime -- supporters able to mobilize successfully on Izvestia's behalf through the struggle with Khasbulatov's parliament. The Izvestia collective under Oleg Golembiovsky emerged with legal control over the material and "intellectual" structure of the enterprise. But as noted, this also left the paper even more indebted to the reformist camp. When Ivan Zassoursky, for example, chose to argue that Izvestia "was always very close to the government," he cited the 1992 events as constituting the essence of the bond.(118) For Zassoursky, the alliance had led the paper into a Manichean view of the forces contending for power in Russia. As with all quasi-religious discourses, Zassoursky argued, specifics tended to be sacrificed to abstractions:
Izvestia is a bad newspaper, extremely bad. It is very old-fashioned; it is very engaged in politics. Lots of journalists from Izvestia still think that a good journalist is an agitating journalist. ... They are very old-fashioned in terms of selecting one political line, and then fighting for it, like communists. ... They're thinking about politics all the time. It's not good for journalists to think about politics all the time, I think. It's not professional. Because they think of politics not from the point of view of a person who voted in the election and demands that power deliver on the things it promised. They look at it in terms of processes. Reform, or no reform. Democracy, or totalitarianism. People's capitalism or monopoly capitalism. You can't do anything with these abstractions! They're not good for judging the situation anymore.
Moscow Times reporter Andrei Zolotov also pointed to both the political affiliations of the paper as helping to spawn an unprofessionally partisan rhetoric:
Izvestia, though it claims to be objective and a flagship of the free press, has always been a very partisan newspaper. Since the beginning of the 1990s, Izvestia was ... associated with the liberal wing of the government, with the "westernizers": Gaidar, Chubais and company. ... The style pretended to be more information-driven, but it was still very propagandistic.(119)
For such critics,(120) the nadir of Izvestia's political coverage came when it joined nearly all the other Russian media in slavishly supporting Boris Yeltsin in the 1996 presidential elections. As with the defection of NTV's Igor Malashenko from the opposition camp to the Yeltsin campaign, Izvestia's "comprehensive display of craven servility"(121) towards Yeltsin contrasted poorly with the hard-hitting, agenda-setting coverage it had provided during the wretched military campaign in Chechnya.(122) Like many other Moscow editors, Oleg Golembiovsky defended the decision to dispense with a critical stance during the elections as a simple necessity, taken
only because we didn't want Zyuganov to come to power. Western countries and societies don't understand that Russia hasn't yet arrived at [the point of having] a truly democratic system. The danger of communism returning to power is still very high. I would rather see Bill Clinton elected president of Russia, if a Communist was running against him.(123)
The most detailed exploration of Izvestia's performance during the elections, however, was disinclined to let Golembiovsky and his fellow staffers off the hook. John Murray described Izvestia as "pull[ing] out all the stops" after the first round of the elections, in which Communist Party candidate Gennady Zyuganov overcame an "information blockade" to run a close second to Yeltsin. The paper began to publish interviews in which "the journalist warned the subjects that they would lose out if Zyuganov won," and articles that "attempted to blacken Zyuganov by associating him with the Soviet past." A "negative stereotyping of all communists" was evident.(124) "The principle during the election became: print the rumour as long as it damages Zyuganov." Typical was the paper's treatment of contending candidates' pronouncements on economic policy. The headline announcing release of the communist economic programme placed the word "programme" in quotation marks -- "a clear signal," Murray wrote, "that the ensuing commentary was going to be hostile." He set this against "Izvestia's entirely uncritical, in places eulogistic, coverage of the main election manifesto of the Yeltsin camp, the Programme of Action for 1996-2000." Meanwhile, information unfavourable to the Yeltsin campaign -- such as the candidate's failing health -- was systematically ignored, though space could be found for a photograph of "a young woman ... kissing an election poster showing a very healthy-looking Yeltsin." Izvestia also allowed its logo to be used in a Yeltsin campaign TV ad, "above the mock headline, 'Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin: President of All Russians.'"
In the wake of the successful push to elect Yeltsin, Izvestia, like other Moscow dailies, returned to "criticisms of Yeltsin's policies" and a focus on the president's health.(125) Murray was cynical about the turnaround:
This is the quid pro quo of the new relationship between the country's emerging elites and their "free" media: the media is free to say what it likes as long as it does not interfere with the fundamentals. When the poor state of Yeltsin's health really mattered, when it might have made a tangible impact on the result of the election and thus disturbed the fundamentals, then the whole topic was taboo. When the main battle was won and the health issue, though still important, was no longer vitally important to the future political shape of Russia, the taboo was lifted and virtually no restrictions applied.(126)
Murray also noted the irony of defending the uncritical stance during the elections as a bulwark against the return of communism. Izvestia and other Russian media, he argued, "in fact became the very thing they said they would become if the communists ever won, namely a creature of government."(127)
The relationship between Izvestia and the Yeltsin regime -- or factions within it -- is only part of the story of the post-Soviet Izvestia. We consider now the paper's attempts to preserve and, if possible, expand its constituency in the wake of the collapse of the USSR. This leads us to the fateful decision to seek outside investment from LUKoil, one of the large corporations taking an increasing interest in Russian media functioning.
With the internal configuration of authority and the broad political "line" of the newspaper solidified after 1992-93, Izvestia faced the challenge of retaining a sustainable core of readers and advertisers. This could not by itself preserve Izvestia from political and corporate machinations -- not forgetting its own energetic and deliberate involvement in those machinations. But it could provide Izvestia with some bargaining power in dealings with the regime and non-regime actors. In this respect, Izvestia's traditional constituency was both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, it gave the paper a still-impressive national reach, which remained a cornerstone of its professional identity.(128) The economics of post-Soviet production meant that sales and subscriptions generated relatively little direct revenue. But the reader demographics provided a reasonably attractive market for advertisers, a constituency Izvestia had courted from early on.(129) Their spending constituted 82 percent of Izvestia's revenue in 1997, according to Oleg Golembiovsky. Ivan Zassoursky, who otherwise voiced strong criticisms of the paper, agreed that
Izvestia is still very, very attractive in terms of its potential prospects. It has a stable share of the market, and lots of readers who are very used to it. If you've read a newspaper for 25 years over your cup of coffee, and you know how it looks, you can't just switch to another newspaper in a couple of days. Perhaps you can never leave it. That's why they have a lot of readers, in the provinces especially. This makes it rather profitable in the end. They also receive -- or used to receive -- a lot of advertising, because it was considered the only respectable national newspaper.
Interview subjects characterized this core constituency as upper-middle and upper-class intellectuals and professionals, including decision-makers.(130) Perhaps the most nuanced description was provided by media columnist Irina Petrovskaya:
I get a lot of letters from readers [gesturing at a pile on her desk]. I learn from those letters that [the average Izvestia reader] is usually an intellectual, in his forties probably, with some liberal political views on the situation; who has a habit of reading newspapers that he probably got from his parents, because this newspaper is eighty years old. They're willing to learn about events not from the yellow press, but from a serious newspaper, with solid expertise and respectable opinions. I think the reader is usually interested in particular authors, because Izvestia traditionally had a very strong journalistic staff here. People would be interested, for example, in what Stanislav Kondrashov thinks about political issues, or what I think about the mass media. I think [Izvestia's readers] are "Old Russians," not like the "New Russians" who are tempted to read Kommersant Daily for more business-oriented news. Younger readers tend to reader paper like Moskovsky Komsomolets where they can learn about scandals, who's sleeping with whom, criminal stuff. Izvestia tries to avoid these topics, but it's hard to do, because it's really easy to attract readers with this kind of coverage.
Petrovskaya touches on a number of the themes that preoccupied Izvestia in its attempt to bolster what remained of its old constituency, while appealing to new ones. Business readerships and the younger audience were targeted early on as potential growth markets. The paper expanded its business coverage, most notably with Financial Izvestia, the high-profile supplement first published on 29 October 1992. This joint venture with the Financial Times was negotiated by Oleg Golembiovsky on a visit to the UK; by the time of fieldwork in mid-1997 had nearly doubled, from 18 to 34, though frequency of publication had been erratic.(131) By mid-1997 it was distributing 200,000 copies -- that is, it was included in about one-third of Izvestia's print-run.(132) The focus, predictably, was on the 20 percent of copies that circulated in Moscow, home to the vast majority of business capital (and hence advertising revenue) in Russia.
The courting of younger as well as more prosperous constituencies was assisted by the staff restructuring after the 1992 economic reforms. As noted, this concentrated disproportionately on older, ostensibly more "conservative" staff. Over the following couple of years, the paper's appearance was somewhat streamlined and modernized.(133) Oleg Golembiovsky pointed with pride in 1997 to his recent appointment of "a 25-year-old editor of the culture section of the newspaper," and claimed "the most active group of Izvestia reporters" was "mostly from 20 to 30" years of age. There was also a risk, however, of alienating traditional constituencies by flirting with new ones -- including political constituencies along the lines referred to in the previous section. In particular, Izvestia's constant trumpeting of the merits of economic reform, at a time when these were causing great popular hardship, may have discouraged readers who sought from their newspaper a more balanced and empathetic treatment of their plight. "Many traditional readers of Izvestia could not accept the very and sometimes too liberal orientation of the newspaper," said Stanislav Kondrashov. "Let's say, our coverage of economic reforms under Gaidar. We were too enthusiastic about this reform, especially in its first stage, which caused the most suffering." Likewise, said Kondrashov, traditional constituencies had difficulty accepting "the total denunciation of our recent history" in Izvestia's pages:
They lived with their history; it was a part of their lives. So they could not accept that overly simplistic approach to the past. Now, we are more sober and moderate in our judgments; but at that time, in 1991, '92, '93, that is where we lost [readers]. Now, many of them find it difficult or almost impossible to return to Izvestia; but one of the difficulties is that we haven't been able to find a new and more or less stable audience [to replace them].
The result was a living-standard at Izvestia that was sufficient to cover subsistence needs, but permitted only limited expansion into new markets, technologies, and constituencies. The strategy had succeeded as of 1997 in giving the paper "a zero balance" economically -- "no profit, no loss," according to foreign editor Alexander Sychev. But Izvestia was left with "only enough money for the necessities." If it was to expand, or even limit its contraction, it would have to seek outside investment. Hence, Sychev said, the paper went "looking for a partner who could provide money for projects that would make the newspaper more profitable." It turned, first, to LUKoil, which promised an investment "without any conditions attached."
This is very good news for Izvestia. It will in no way affect the editorial policy of the newspaper, but it could mean financial opportunities and investments that can only improve its quality.
-- Eduard Gonzalez, Financial Manager, Izvestia, after LUKoil's purchase of Izvestia shares in November 1996.(134)
That story with LUKoil began on a rather optimistic note.
-- Stanislav Kondrashov
With Izvestia's life's-blood still flowing, albeit anaemically, the decision-makers around Golembiovsky decided it was time to make a concerted push into the Russian regions. Izvestia's reputation, in considerable part, depended on its national reach. Golembiovsky and his senior staff sought to bolster the paper's presence in (and reporting on) the regions, thereby transcending some of the limitations of the old mobilizing model, which had strictly separated national from regional media.(135)
Nothing is known (to this author, at least) about the early negotiations between Izvestia and LUKoil, the para-statal oil giant headed by Vagit Alekperov. But the talks culminated, in November 1996, with a joint agreement that LUKoil would, through its pension fund, purchase 19.9% of the shares in Izvestia at a price of US $16-$18 million.(136) (The state was the largest shareholder in LUKoil, and it was thus possible to view the investment as a continuation of regime subsidies to Izvestia by indirect means.) Relations between the paper and the corporation were "quite good" for the first several months, according to Golembiovsky. But in his account, it was not long before Izvestia learned it "had not a partner, but a firm that wanted to be master of the newspaper."
The precipitating event -- the spark for this most significant of post-Soviet press transitions -- was a brief story published in Izvestia on 1 April 1997, reprinted from Le Monde's edition of 29 March. The snippet accused Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin of amassing a fortune of some US $5 billion through his association with the state natural-gas monopoly, Gazprom. The Chernomyrdin camp responded with outrage. Senior government spokesman Igor Shabdurasulov claimed to be "deeply saddened and hurt by the utter oblivion of [sic] professional ethics illustrated by such a sound and respectable newspaper as Izvestia."(137) There is no question that the item resulted from sloppy reporting on Le Monde's part -- it quickly issued a retraction -- and that the damage was compounded by Izvestia's dubious decision to reprint the article unchecked. Igor Golembiovsky in June 1997 defended the decision to publish.(138) A number of other staffers voiced disapproval.(139) Even one of the critics, though - Stanislav Kondrashov -- allowed that the article at least "clarified the situation" with LUKoil.
It did that. On 7 April, Vagit Alekperov, LUKoil's president, denounced Izvestia's decision to reprint the article. Coming not long after LUKoil's purchase of shares, he said, it could be seen as an attempt by LUKoil itself to defame Chernomyrdin. There could be few people within the government whom LUKoil was less anxious to defame. Chernomyrdin, the former head of the Soviet gas monopoly, was key to the awarding of lucrative drilling contracts -- including one that had apparently been the subject of delicate behind-the-scenes bargaining when the snippet about Chernomyrdin was published in Izvestia. Thus, "implicitly there was a condition" underlying Valekperov's protest, said Alexander Sychev: "Don't say anything bad about the government or the oil industry." It was, to Sychev's mind, outright "censorship."
Izvestia dug in its heels. It offered no apology for, or retraction of, the offending article. In an editorial of 15 April, it directly accused LUKoil of serving as Chernomyrdin's "censor." Three days later, it published an open letter signed by prominent intellectuals and media figures protesting LUKoil's attempt "to bring Izvestia to its knees." The company's "general objective," alleged the signatories, was "to change the newspaper's political line and turn it into the obedient mouthpiece of its new owners." For Russian media, it augured "a new totalitarianism."(140)
Izvestia's approach struck many as confrontational.(141) LUKoil's surely was. The company now sought to consolidate its shares, apparently bidding to acquire a majority on the Izvestia board of directors and strategic control over the institution. When Izvestia delayed its annual shareholders' meeting from 22 April to 4 June, LUKoil held one regardless. By then it felt confident enough of its position to announce -- erroneously, it seems -- that it had purchased more than 50 percent of shares, and thus had the right to appoint a new board of directors. In this spirit, it announced the appointment of four LUKoil representatives and three Izvestia staff to a new board. The decree was symbolic and had no effect on Izvestia's functioning. But LUKoil's intentions were now unmistakably clear. Izvestia now turned to another major corporation -- Oneximbank, the para-statal banking group -- to head off LUKoil's thrust. Leaving aside the issue of whether regime actors were pulling the corporate strings, this meant all three players in the Summer 1997 battle over Izvestia were now on centre-stage.
The resultant struggle for control of the newspaper can be pieced together only in fragmentary form. Even seasoned observers of the Moscow media scene were perplexed by the murky, rapidly-unfolding events.(142) In the light of the economic collapse of mid-1988, moreover, these machinations seem of declining historical interest in themselves. I therefore concentrate on the broader question: whether Izvestia's strategy of approaching Oneximbank was a viable one.
In hindsight, but also reflecting sentiments that I and others voiced at the time, there were grounds for caution. Izvestia was not the first national daily to attract Oneximbank's interest. Throughout early 1997, it had sided with a faction of staff at Komsomolskaya Pravda led by the commercial director, Vladimir Sungorkin, against then-chief editor, Valeri Simonov. Simonov had already courted the gas monopoly, Gazprom, tied (as we have seen) to the Chernomyrdin faction of the regime. By late 1996, Gazprom had already invested some US $12 million in the paper. According to Dmitry Babich, who then worked at Komsomolskaya Pravda, "in return for this ... investment, [Gazprom] was planning to buy 20 percent of the newspaper's stock" at the April 1996 shareholders' meeting. But Sungorkin, who in Babich's view had ambitions to be not just commercial director but editor-in-chief,(143) engaged in backroom wheeling-and-dealing that led, shortly before the meeting, to Oneximbank's announcement that it planned to buy 20 percent of KP shares. These were duly purchased from the paper's employees, at vastly inflated prices. Oneximbank and Sungorkin emerged victorious; Simonov was deposed from the chief editor's post at the shareholders' meeting on 7 May 1997.
The possible implications for the editorial independence of Komsomolskaya Pravda seemed clear enough to Izvestia when it published its appeal to Boris Yeltsin on 22 April, requesting Yeltsin to take measures to ensure that shareholders did not interfere in KP's -- and Izvestia's -- editorial independence.(144) Nonetheless, Oneximbank's offsetting alliance with the Chubais faction, and its readiness to come aboard on short notice, apparently redeemed it in the eyes of Izvestia's leadership. An alliance with Oneximbank was duly announced on 14 May 1997.(145) The next day, Izvestia trumpeted its supposed victory over LUKoil by publishing an exposé of the company's operations, accusing it of criminal links and profiting from Viktor Chernomyrdin's patronage to the tune of more than US $200 million in overlooked debts.(146)
At this point, admittedly, things looked rosier for Izvestia than they had for some weeks. It was also at this point that the majority of interviews for this monograph were conducted. "There is no question of [LUKoil] dictating to us," proclaimed foreign editor Alexander Sychev confidently. But even before the corporate endgame that brought a close to the Golembiovsky era at Izvestia, there was a question to be posed about the longterm practicality of using one corporation to head off the ambitions of another. Golembiovsky, as noted at the beginning of this case-study, dismissed the danger. But Ivan Zassoursky offered a much more far-seeing outside appraisal. "Soon," Zassoursky predicted, Izvestia would "find out that it's a lot easier for investors to negotiate with each other than with journalists. Investors have lots of spheres where they can cooperate, and they'll make journalists do whatever they please. ... In a couple of months I expect these investors will dismiss Golembiovsky. Everything is pretty simple." So it proved.
On 4 June 1997, Izvestia published the text of a "Charter on Relations Between the Newspaper ... and the Publication's Shareholders." Signed by twelve representatives from Izvestia, three from Oneximbank, and two from LUKoil, the Charter "recogniz[ed] the social responsibility of the press, respectful of the principles of freedom of speech and of the press":
No one is to take any actions aimed against freedom of speech or of the press. The newspaper is to bear full responsibility for the articles it publishes and for the reliability of the facts it reports. ... No one is to take actions restricting independence of opinions in the joint-stock company's publications. Editorial decisions are to be made without external influence. ... Journalism and promotional activity are incompatible.(147)
Anyone tempted to see the charter as a true entente between Izvestia staff and their mobilizers, though, was disabused of the notion within a month. At a meeting on 23 June, a new board of directors was elected, consisting of three representatives from LUKoil and two each from Oneximbank and Izvestia. The paper's autonomy was entrenched, but perilously - "between two fires," as it were. At the same meeting, a new president of Izvestia Publishing House was chosen. Oleg Golembiovsky had decided not to run, apparently owing to the longstanding concerns over his dual role as president and chief editor. The new Izvestia president, Dmitry Murzin, was the former editor of Financial Izvestia (and was interviewed in that capacity for this project).
On 1 July, a new dispute between Izvestia and LUKoil broke into the open, with the paper's published accusation that LUKoil had failed to abide by the terms of the autonomy agreement. The company was allegedly pressing for revisions to the process by which chief editors were selected, to reduce the role of staff in the process.(148) On the same day, Izvestia fired another salvo, this time lashing out at Anatoly Chubais -- the First Deputy Prime Minister whose program of economic "reforms" it had long acclaimed! Izvestia's story charged Chubais with having received an interest-free loan of about US $3 million.
The motives for publishing the Chubais piece remain unclear. It may be that Oneximbank chair Vladimir Potanin had decided to turn against Chubais -- though if so, Izvestia's renewed strong support for this regime figure after 1997 is difficult to fathom. It may be that Oleg Golembiovsky, sensing the way the winds were blowing, had decided to depart with a final broadside against the pro-Chubais alliance of Oneximbank and LUKoil that would shortly defenestrate him. It is also possible that the Chubais article precipitated the final crisis at Izvestia: that Chubais, while publicly ducking the accusations, worked behind the scenes to assist in the takeover of the paper. What is known is that within three days of publication of the Chubais piece, Oleg Golembiovsky was no longer chief editor of Izvestia. In a meeting on 4 July, the Izvestia board voted to depose Golembiovsky and revise the editor-selection process along LUKoil's proposed lines. Obviously, negotiations had taken place between LUKoil and Oneximbank, resulting in a decision to sell out the mutual partner -- Izvestia's journalistic collective -- and impose a new order at the paper.
Golembiovsky was absent when the boom was lowered, having suddenly announced a two-month leave on 1 July. Vasily Zakharko, a former correspondent in Bulgaria who had served as Izvestia's deputy editor since February 1996, replaced him -- supposedly as a stopgap measure. On 10 July, Golembiovsky finally reappeared at a Moscow press conference. He acknowledged ruefully that "Izvestia ha[d] found itself defenceless before the new owners," but defended the decision to publish the article on Viktor Chernomyrdin. Golembiovsky, officially still chief editor of Izvestia, said he would leave the paper rather than contest any new election for the post.
Meanwhile, other Izvestia staff were scrambling to adjust to the new reality at the paper. Over the previous week, they had worked to form a trade union, "to combat possible diktat by the investors" and work towards regaining a controlling share of the newspaper.(149) But Izvestia journalist Stepan Kiselyov, writing in Moskovsky Novosti, stated succinctly what was now obvious to all:
Izvestia's journalists have lost the shares war and completely lost control of their own newspaper. The new collective owner ... has already replaced the president of the company and now intends to replace the editor-in-chief [both posts held by Golembiovsky]. ... Once the new board of directors adopted its rules for electing Izvestia's editor-in-chief, even a child could tell that the days of democracy at the paper were over. ... The staff remained, to face the new order alone. ... Our last line of defence is the independent trade unions. Ten of Izvestia's leading journalists ... declared their right to organize only a week ago. Now there are almost 50 of us. We understand that our new employer would be more comfortable dealing with an amorphous collective than with organized trade unions. ... The president [new Izvestia president Dmitry Murzin] represents the interests of the owners who appointed him, and he owes his allegiance to them alone. If they tell him to fire half the Izvestia staffers and replace them with other journalists, he'll do it. Not because he's evil, but because that's his job.(150)
Yet the potentially incendiary question of Golembiovsky's successor fizzled. The Izvestia board had the right to choose any of three candidates presented by the journalistic collective. But on 18 July, the board accepted Zakharko, the candidate who received the largest number of staff votes -- thereby heading off a clash with Izvestia staff, many of them newly-unionized. Though it appeared Zakharko was not the ideal candidate for shareholders and board members, he was nonetheless "an eminently electable figure." Accepting his candidacy allowed the chairman of the board, Oneximbank's Mikhail Kozhokin, "to announce proudly to the Izvestia staffers that the collective's opinion was 'sacred to the investors.'"(151) Turnout for the elections were heavy, but an observer nonetheless described the mood among staffers as "dispirited." Many may have voted for Zakharko as a compromise candidate, aware of his reputation for caution. Many may also have feared their jobs were at risk if they took too strident a stand. On 28 July, seven of twelve members were axed from Izvestia's editorial board. All in turn lost their jobs with the newspaper. "There were no professional, editorial or production-related reasons for this 'revamping' of the editorial board," protested Stepan Kiselyov. Along with Sergei Dardykin, he had pushed to found the Izvestia trade union; now both were out in the street.(152)
At the very time that the new/old Izvestia celebrated publication of its 25,000th edition, Kiselyov and Otto Latsis joined Oleg Golembiovsky and three other defenestrated editors in announcing a new enterprise to be known as Novye Izvestia. It would employ 32 former Izvestia personnel, and seek to capture Izvestia readers alienated by the departure of the paper's "backbone" staff.(153) The project claimed US $40 million in financial backing -- "quite a sizable sum," Kommersant noted, "considering that the cost of publishing the average national daily newspaper in Russia is currently on the order of $9 million a year."(154)
Novye Izvestia, "put together at breakneck speed,"(155) published a pilot edition late in October, and its first issue on 1 November 1997. In several ways it sought to distinguish itself from its rival. Izvestia's logo and design changed notably after the failed coup attempt of 1991, but remained monochromatic. Novye Izvestia, though, adopted a jazzier logo. In shades of Barricada's post-revolutionary marketing strategy, it also became the first Russian newspaper ever to publish colour photographs. The circulation, though -- 100,000 copies -- was barely a fifth of the old Izvestia's. Inquiring minds wanted to know: where had the money come from? Who was the sponsor for a project that seemed unlikely to cover its extravagant costs for a long while?
The apparent answer was no surprise to anyone who had followed developments in post-Soviet media, but it disappointed those who hoped for a press institution less constrained by powerful mobilizers. The main investor in Novye Izvestia was widely reported to be media magnate Boris Berezovsky. (The involvement of another magnate, Vladimir Gusinsky, was "possible," in Oleg Golembiovsky's cagey estimation.) For public consumption, both media barons denied involvement. But there were indications even before the new paper hit the streets that sponsors would have a decisive effect on Novye Izvestia's "line." On 29 October, three days before the scheduled launch of Novye Izvestia, the paper's reporter Leonid Krutakov told Komsomolskaya Pravda that he had been fired because of an article criticizing Berezovsky that he had published in Moskovsky Komsomolets. Golembiovsky, contended Krutakov, had expressed his unwillingness to criticize one of Novye Izvestia's key investors.
The configuration of the post-Soviet media system (including Izvestia and Novye Izvestia) was thrown sharply into question by the events of August 1998. If the severity of the economic meltdown came as a shock, the ramifications for the Russian press were largely predictable. In a replay of the Gaidar reforms of 1991, the press was thrust into a subsistence crisis, "immediately laying off staff, reducing frequency and volume, cancelling subscriptions to outside news sources," and so on.(156) These comments are drawn from an evaluation of the regional press's plight, but could be extended to its national counterparts without difficulty -- or rather, with enormous difficulties. The chaos this time extended to the national broadcast sphere, which had had a comparatively smooth ride in the post-Soviet era. Now its main sponsors -- the Yeltsin regime and big business -- were nearly bereft. Costs of basic inputs had doubled, with further increases on the horizon. Among the casualties was the post-coup Izvestia. Oneximbank, itself crisis-ridden, merged the paper with a much-vaunted but ill-timed addition to its media stable, Russkiy Telegraf. Fifty percent of the staff of each publication was laid off.
Perhaps the most significant element of the new crisis for press functioning was the body-blow -- very nearly the death-blow -- dealt to advertising revenue. In the regions, the effects were instantaneous. "Many advertising contracts already signed ... have been reduced by 30 to 50 percent. Payments for advertising ... have been lost or delayed due to the banking crisis. Many retailers have cancelled advertising simply because the rush to purchase goods has made advertising unnecessary" -- or, one might add, because they could no longer afford it.(157) In the broadcasting sphere, revenues collapsed by 60 to 70 percent.(158) According to the Russian National Press Institute (NPI), "Newspaper managers were just beginning to think that a commercial orientation was possible, that advertising works. Now, with advertising revenues contracting so drastically, they will be convinced that it is better to be on good terms with the government."(159) But was the government in a position to grant the necessary sponsorship, however impassioned the pleas?
This monograph must end somewhere, and the structural effects of the collapse of 1998 would in any case be years in playing themselves out -- whether in the press or elsewhere. The events served, though, as a stark reminder that the analyst of transition always risks having his or her frameworks rendered dubious, even obsolete, by the onset of an all-consuming economic or political crisis.
78. Andrei Richter: "Russia has too many newspapers: in Moscow there are probably more than in any other capital city in the world. ... Many newspapers will die, and I don't think that would be a bad thing. The market will get a stronger hold in the Russian economy; then there would probably be more advertising. So the fewer newspapers that remain would be more supported by advertisers, and could survive without subsidies." Alexei Pankin: "It's very difficult to predict, but logically speaking, if in Moscow we now have roughly twelve dailies, [in ten years] you'll find three."
79. See Frances H. Foster, "Izvestiia as a Mirror ...," pp. 681-82.
80. Foster, "Izvestiia as a Mirror ...," p. 701.
81. Jean MacKenzie, "Study Says NTV, Izvestia Best on Chechnya," The Moscow Times, 10 March 1995 (study prepared by the Russian-American Press and Information Center).
82. Downing, Internationalizing Media Theory, p. 142.
83. "All the news that fits," The Economist, 15 February 1997. Writing in The New York Review of Books in 1992, Jamey Gambrell likewise called Izvestia "the foremost paper of record throughout the former USSR." Gambrell, "Moscow: The Front Page," p. 58.
84. The account here benefits from the chronology of "Changes in Editorial Policy and Ownership at Izvestia", prepared by Laura Belin of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
85. Potanin quoted in Jonas Bernstein, "Oligarchic Plurality of Ideas," The Moscow Times, 23 April 1997.
86. See "Moscow signs peace deal with LUKoil," Moscow Tribune, 4 June 1997, and Laura Belin's reporting in RFE/RL Newsline, 1, 3, 7, and 21 July, 13 and 20 August 1997.
87. This notion of "demipoliticization" is examined further in Chapter 6 of Jones, The Press in Transition.
88. Vachnadze calls Adzhubei "the most famous and truly the best central newspaper editor" in the Soviet system; as "Khrushchev's son-in-law, he had the right to his own opinion and besides, he was very talented. Vachnadze, Secrets of Journalism, p. 87. Finnish researcher Reino Paasilinna confirms the judgment: "A singular role in the restoration of openness and the more vivid character of information [under Khrushchev] was played by the revamped press. Here the lead was taken by some of the central newspapers -- first Komsomolskaya Pravda and later, to a great degree, by Izvestia. It is worth noting that in both newspapers the initiative belonged to their chief editor Aleksei Adzhubei ... In a short space of time he managed to alter dramatically the content of the material published, raising the information level by means of a substantially new mechanism of getting information, in particular official information. The structure and make-up of the papers were also changed radically: the erstwhile 100% official, Kremlin-inspired front page that consisted of an anonymous editorial and one or two articles of an instructive and propagandist nature (plus an official photograph) acquired a more dynamic and vivid outlook. But most importantly, the front page provided really significant information, particularly that coming in from all over the world. Thus the paper was beginning to work somewhat more along the lines of so-called quality newspapers in the rest of the world." Paasilinna, Glasnost and Soviet Television, p. 28.
89. Kondrashov nonetheless pointed to "shortcomings" in Adzhubei's tenure: "What do I mean? Khrushchev began with the denunciation of Stalin's 'cult of personality' [at the Twentieth Party Congress, 1956]. Adzhubei, in a way, together with Pravda's editor-in-chief at that time, [Pavel] Satyukov, was intentionally or unintentionally involved in a new cult of personality: of Khrushchev. Khrushchev denounced Stalin; that was a historic act on his part. At the same time, in his way, he was rather an anarchistic man. He was not very systematic, not very clever. His knowledge of history, and of other fields, was rather limited, but his arrogance was very strong. In this sense, Izvestia, together with Pravda -- Izvestia maybe even more than Pravda -- contributed to this new, rather interesting, and of course more liberal cult of personality -- that of Khrushchev."
90. "The mid-1970s. Toadying and debauchery were gathering momentum in the country. [Lev] Tolkunov [Adzhubei's replacement] was removed. Pyotr Fyodorovich Alekseyev came in. The new editor-in-chief shouted at his subordinates and stamped his feet. All the former practices were swept away. ... A 'new Alekseyev school of Soviet journalism' was announced and made public. The pages of Izvestia were filled with smiling heroes: weavers, metalworkers, collective farmers. ... The editor-in-chief sent galley proofs of feuilletons to the Party leaders of the provinces criticized therein to get their OKs. Subscriptions to Izvestia fell off by 50% in those seven-plus years ..." E. Polyanovsky, "Confrontation: Once More About Izvestia," Literaturnaya Gazeta, 17 July 1991 (CDSP 43: 29 , p. 11).
91. Dmitry Soshin referred to Golembiovsky as "a clear example of those people who moved upwards [in the Russian press] on the wave of democratization."
92. David Remnick, Lenin's Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire (London: Penguin, 1994), pp. 469-71.
93. "The better reporters and editors, the honest ones, despised Yefimov." Remnick, Lenin's Tomb, p. 470.
94. "Bad News About Izvestia," Komsomolskaya Pravda, 31 January 1991 (CDSP 43: 25 , p. 12). An Izvestia editor, Nikolai Bodnaruk, stated that "The conflicts [with Yefimov] began literally the day after the new editor-in-chief arrived; as time passed, not only were they not smoothed out, they grew bigger and bigger, and finally ... they developed into an outright confrontation between the collective and the editor-in-chief." Bodnaruk, "'Conditions Are Being Dictated to Us'," Literaturnaya Gazeta, 13 February 1991 (CDSP 43: 6 , p. 12).
95. "The Latest News About Izvestia," Komsomolskaya Pravda, 19 June 1991 (CDSP 43: 25 , p. 28).
96. Remnick, Lenin's Tomb, pp. 470-71.
97. I. Ovchinnikova, "In the Light of Conscience," Izvestia, 22 August 1991 (CDSP 43: 34 , p. 27). "During the coup," the paper editorialized on 24 August, "we saw once again that the editorial staff constitutes an indivisible whole with the large staff of the printing and publishing facilities and all their services." See "Our New Old Izvestia," Izvestia, 24 August 1991 (CDSP 43: 34 , p. 28).
98. Ovchinnikova, "In the Light of Conscience."
99. "Decision of the Izvestia Editorial Board and Staff," Izvestia, 22 August 1991 (CDSP 43: 34 , p. 27).
100. "Our New Old Izvestia."
101. "The Newspaper Izvestia Is Registered," Izvestia, 24 August 1991 (CDSP, 43: 34 , p. 28).
102. "Our New Old Izvestia."
103. Quoted in Foster, "Izvestiia as a Mirror ...," p. 699, n. 142.
104. Foster, "Izvestiia as a Mirror ..." Other useful sources on the 1992-93 controversy at Izvestia include Gambrell, "Moscow: The Front Page," and Remnick, Lenin's Tomb (pp. 469-71).
105. Khasbulatov's words, quoted by Gambrell, "Moscow: The Front Page," p. 60.
106. The draft resolution, signed by Khasbulatov, is reprinted in "An Attack on the Status of Izvestia," Izvestia, 14 July 1992 (CDSP, XLIV: 29 , p. 10).
107. In the words of his press secretary. Quoted in "An Attack on the Status of Izvestia."
108. Foster, "Izvestiia as a Mirror ...," p. 701. See also "The President of Russia Eliminates An Illegal Armed Formation," Izvestia, 28 October 1992 (CDSP, XLIV: 43 , p. 6).
109. Foster, "Izvestiia as a Mirror ...," p. 701.
110. Gambrell, "Moscow: The Front Page," p. 61.
111. Quoted in Foster, "Izvestiia as a Mirror ...," p. 721. Gambrell wrote in 1992 that "Izvestia ... had received about 75 million rubles from the government for 1992 (approximately [US] $500,000 at current exchange rates)," according to interview with deputy editor-in-chief Vladimir Nadein. Gambrell, "Moscow: The Front Page," p. 59.
112. Andrei Richter: "I know Golembiovsky well enough to believe that he's a pretty ambitious person. He doesn't like being told what to do by somebody else. So that [the LUKoil controversy] was a fight of ambitions, and he could rally around him a number of journalists who were as ambitious as he. It's both a fight of journalists against moguls, and a fight of ambitions."
113. The growing conflict between editorial and managerial priorities was a key factor in Richard Steyn's decision to resign from the Johannesburg Star, as also discussed in Jones, The Press in Transition (Chapter 3).
114. Alexei Pankin translated aloud a passage from an article he had recently published, citing comments by Golembiovsky on his daily schedule. Pankin's translation: "At nine o'clock I'm in the office. At nine-thirty we plan the contents of the forthcoming issue. Until lunch, I work on the issue. At two o'clock I have business meetings and lunches. At 3:30 I sign the number [the next day's edition] into print. The sample copy comes at a quarter past five. In the intervals, I deal with money, finance, managing, budget, various projects, et cetera." Pankin added sarcastically: "That's how he copes with both [jobs] in one day. He deals with business administration in the interval between reading the paper."
115. See also the comments of media Izvestia columnist Irina Petrovskaya and foreign editor Alexander Sychev: "You should separate the functions. Because you can't do both things well" (Petrovskaya). Q. Do you think it's a good, constructive arrangement? "No. It's a bad arrangement, because it's almost impossible to perform these completely different functions at the same time. ... [Golembiovsky] is very good as chief editor, but perhaps not sufficiently experienced as a manager and a businessman" (Sychev).
116. Asked if felt the combination of duties had worked well over the last years, Golembiovsky said: "No, I don't think so. The reason we did it was because it was a new situation in Russia -- a joint-stock company built around a newspaper -- and there was no-one else around who could manage this new company."
117. "Those positions will be separated. We decided to do that even before the LUKoil events, but we just didn't have time." Golembiovsky said he would seek to stay on as chief editor: Q. Which of the positions is more interesting for you to continue in? "It depends on the situation, but I think for the first few years, it's better to be chief editor than director, because I should work to defend the newspaper's interests against those of LUKoil and Oneximbank."
118. "The building that the newspaper has was given to them as a present by Gaidar. That is why they like Chubais more than Chernomyrdin, because he's very close to Gaidar."
119. John Murray cited as a broader feature of the "liberal media" in Russia, including Izvestia, the fact that "the capitalist ideology being promoted by the Yeltsin government ... is presented simply as 'common sense.' Increasingly in the liberal media no explicit arguments are made to promote the 'reforms,' which are accepted without discussion as good and desirable in themselves. ... The liberal media are working to create a society where the fundamental arguments are generally and uncritically accepted as no longer being in dispute." Murray, "No Truth in the News?"
120. See also the comments of Nezavisimiya Gazeta editor Vitaly Tretyakov, moderating his support for Izvestia after signing a letter to Boris Yeltsin protesting LUKoil's designs on the paper: "An objective assessment of Izvestia shows that it is not the leader of free speech or of the independent press in Russia. It is a distinctly partisan newspaper of the Gaidar-Chubais camp - and without a doubt the most authoritative and influential publication of that wing." Tretyakov, "Letter Not to B.N. Yeltsin," Nezavisimiya Gazeta, 23 April 1997 (CDSP, XLIX: 16 , p. 7).
121. Murray, "No Truth in the News?"
122. Murray, "No Truth in the News?" The author writes: " Izvestia, which had its own reporter, Valery Yakov, on the spot [in Chechnya], consistently countered the government's deceitful accounts of what was happening. It ... characterised the official coverage as 'a smokescreen of feckless lies.' This was a high water mark in Izvestia's short history as an independent newspaper." In January 1996, after Chechen rebels seized hostages in the neighbouring province of Daghestan, a Russian attack was launched that killed many hostages, but allowed the rebels to escape. Izvestia political commentator Otto Latsis, appointed to Yeltsin's Presidential Council (a toothless advisory body) in 1993, resigned in protest over the conduct of the Chechen war.
123. Media Columnist Irina Petrovskaya: Q. Was that a controversial decision among staff of the newspaper [to support Yeltsin]? "Actually, there was no real controversy, because we had to choose between communists and democrats, and we decided to choose the least worst option." Political commentator Otto Latsis was equally straightforward: "We tried to be upstanding in this [election] fight, but we did not promise to be impartial. To stop the party of revanche was the most important question of our lives." Latsis quoted in Patrick Henry, "Press Gets Back to Critical Coverage," The Moscow Times, 6 July 1996.
124. One front-page headline in Izvestia in June 1996 read: "Communists Always Get Angry When the Truth Is Told." Sophia Coudenhove, "Russian Papers Press Hard for Yeltsin," The Moscow Times, 7 June 1996.
125. Belin, "Changes in Editorial Policy ..."
126. Murray, "No Truth in the News?"
127. Murray, "No Truth in the News?"
128. Oleg Golembiovsky argued in 1992: "The empire has crumbled, but the common human space remains, and so does the Russian language -- the only means of communication for everyone in the CIS, as English is for the business world. ... We simply want to remain a newspaper that is a means of communication among different sorts of people. The political overlay [of Soviet power] will disappear, but the common interests of people in the former republics -- both economic and political interests -- will remain in the future." Quoted in Moskovsky Novosti, 8 March 1992 (CDSP XLIV: 11 , p. 12). As of mid-1997, Izvestia was distributed in a total of ninety-five cities in Russia and three republics of the Commonwealth of Independent States: Kazakhstan, Belarus, and Ukraine. Only a fifth of its circulation was in Moscow, reflecting its dependence (like most post-Soviet newspapers) on subscriptions versus newsstand sales. Seventy percent of Izvestia's circulation was subscriptions, according to Oleg Golembiovsky. Stanislav Kondrashov, from a somewhat more distant vantage-point, cited a figure of 80 percent subscriptions.
129. "Izvestia's relative success is due, in part, to a brave decision to carry advertising in 1988. Almost immediately, it was a roaring success." See "Life after Lenin" (The Economist).
130. Oleg Golembiovsky: "Seventy percent of our readers are people have at least some higher education. The readers are mostly intellectuals, and also government administrators and businessmen." Alexander Sychev: "The typical reader of Izvestia is someone with at least a high-school education, but the main reader is someone with higher education, like a college education. And the interest of this reader extends further than just earning money or doing business. [In English] Intellectuals." This was also a predominantly male demographic. In Tigran Vardanian's evaluation, "I would say Izvestia's demographic would be men 30 to 60, middle- and high-income; people who tend to work in the government and private sectors. A certain segment of women, not very high-profile though."
131. The supplement would be one of the casualties of the economic crunch of 1998.
132. According to The Economist, Financial Izvestia's circulation was "limited ... by the difficulty of finding pink newsprint outside Moscow." See "Life after Lenin."
133. Igor Kovalev, Financial Izvestia: "Look in the library at Izvestia from four years ago, and compare it [to today]. You'll see, it's the difference between heaven and earth." This is an exaggeration, since the paper also sought to preserve enough of the former design (along with the name of the publication) to keep it recognizable for traditional constituencies.
134. Sophia Coudenhove, "LUKoil Purchases Interest in Izvestia, The Moscow Times, 29 November 1996.
135. Yuri Feofanov asserted, and Oleg Golembiovsky confirmed, the regional focus of the projects that outside investment was supposed to fund. Q. It is my understanding that LUKoil also had an agreement with the newspaper to expand its circulation in the other areas of Russia. Is that correct? "Yes, Izvestia had been developing that project for two years, and finally LUKoil agreed [to invest in] it" (Oleg Golembiovsky). The bridging of the national-regional gulf is my own interpretation, however.
136. Oleg Golembiovsky interview.
137. Dmitry Zaks, "Kremlin Slams Chernomyrdin Story," The Moscow Times, 2 April 1997.
138. "I would do it again," said Golembiovsky. "If we have information that a foreign reader could access, a Russian reader should have it also." Foreign editor Alexander Sychev agreed: "There are people at Izvestia who think it was a mistake. But if information appears, there should be no limits on its publication, to make sure the Russian people can also know about it. Especially because the information was drawn from another newspaper, not prepared by Izvestia itself."
139. Stanislav Kondrashov called it "a rather brief and sensational article ... not quite a serious step on Izvestia's part." "It's funny, they didn't even intend to discredit Chernomyrdin," said longtime 'Izvestian' Yuri Feofanov. "They just wanted some 'hot news.' It's just a stupid thing." See also Irina Petrovskaya's comments: "It was careless. All newspapers want to publish some sensation and scandal at any price. For a large and famous newspaper like Izvestia, it's better to avoid this situation."
140. "An Attack on Freedom of the Press Is An Attack on Democracy," Izvestia, 18 April 1997 (CDPSP, XLIX: 16 , p. 6). On 22 April, 15 journalists and editors wrote to President Yeltsin, "appealing to you in connection with attempts to bring about the forced 'reorientation' of two major national newspapers -- Izvestia and Komsomolskaya Pravda ... A determined attack is under way against something that was achieved with enormous difficulty and at the cost of tremendous effort -- an attack against the very possibility for each and every one of us to conscientiously perform his professional duty, including the duty to be an effective instrument of public influence on the authorities, whether the authorities themselves like it or not." "Letter to Russian President B.N. Yeltsin," Izvestia, 22 April 1997 (CDSP, XLIX: 16 , p. 6).
141. Izvestia media columnist Irina Petrovskaya, among others, expressed sympathy for LUKoil's position in the controversy, and criticized her paper's decision to publish the Chernomyrdin article. "You have to respect the rules of the game. You can't be a little bit pregnant or a little bit independent. And if you decide to sell some shares to big business, you have to respect the interests of big business. Of course, there could be some agreement where the newspaper would respect those rules, and big business wouldn't intervene in the writing and political views of the newspaper. But in any case, the newspaper shouldn't go against its partners, against its commercial interests -- as with, for example, that article."
142. Said Igor Kovalev, who had spent a quarter-century at Izvestia by the time LUKoil and then Oneximbank made their play for the paper: "I've read five or six articles on the subject in Izvestia, in Kommersant, Sevodnya, and absolutely honestly, it's beyond my ability to understand." See also the interview with Andrei Zolotov of The Moscow Times: Q. I think I've almost figured out this share-transfer scheme that resulted in Oneximbank's -- "Tell me, tell me! I haven't."
143. "He was appointed director of the joint-stock company, but he wanted to be the editor-in-chief. He had economic power, but he wanted also political power. He wanted to control the whole thing."
144. Alexander Tutushkin of Kommersant also expressed concerns about Izvestia's strategy in the light of Oneximbank's track record: "What is strange is Izvestia's sudden fondness for Oneximbank ... It is worth recalling that only recently, in late April , when a battle was launched in the press against the danger of big capital dominating the news media, many authors, including Izvestia writers, coupled efforts to defend Izvestia against LUKoil with efforts to defend Komsomolskaya Pravda against Oneximbank, which had 'ridden roughshod' over it. Now it suddenly turns out that what's bad for one newspaper is just fine for another. It seems that press freedom means something a bit different for Izvestia than it does for Komsomolka [the nickname of Komsomolskaya Pravda]." Tutushkin, "Izvestia Threatened by Dual Power," Kommersant-Daily, 17 May 1997 (CDPSP, XLIX: 20 , p. 18).
145. Andrei Zolotov, "Izvestia Claims Control With Alliance," The Moscow Times, 14 May 1997.
146. See "Izvestia Attacks LUKoil for Alleged Criminal Ties, Tax Evasion," RFE/RL Newsline, 16 May 1997.
147. "Business and the Press Reach Agreement on Principles of Cooperation," Izvestia, 4 June 1997 (CDPSP, XLIX: 22 , p. 7). See also "Izvestia Signs Peace Deal with LUKoil," The Moscow Tribune, 4 June 1997.
148. Laura Belin, "Izvestia, LUKoil at Odds Over Editorial Appointment," RFE/RL Newsline, 1 July 1997.
149. "Golembiovsky to Leave Izvestia," Nezavisimiya Gazeta, 11 July 1997 (CDPSP, XLIX: 28 , p. 20).
150. Stepan Kiselyov, "The Izvestia Trade Union As A School of Capitalism," Moskovskiye Novosti, 13-20 July 1997 (CDPSP, XLIX: 28 , p. 20).
151. Zakharko received 104 votes, versus 80 for political columnist Otto Latsis and 53 for Anatoly Druzenko, Izvestia's first deputy editor-in-chief. See Alexander Tutushkin, "Chubais Hasn't Become Editor-in-Chief of Izvestia," Kommersant-Daily, 19 July 1997 (CDPSP, XLIX: 29 , p. 9). Some wit at the meeting apparently nominated First Deputy Prime Minister Anatoly Chubais for the chief editor's post -- hence the title of Tutushkin's piece. The author adds wryly that "Chubais, who is on vacation abroad, had no reaction whatsoever to the trust shown in him. ... [and] could not be a candidate for the high post, since he did not send in his written consent to be placed on the ballot ..."
152. See "Izvestia After the Coup," Pravda-5, 13 August 1997 (CDPSP, XLIX: 32 , p. 18).
153. Alexander Tutushkin, "New Izvestia Set To Start Publishing in November," Kommersant-Daily, 20 August 1997 (CDPSP, XLIX: 33 , p. 17). See also Laura Belin, "New Izvestia To Appear in November," RFE/RL Newsline, 1: 99 (20 August 1997).
154. The funding allowed Novye Izvestia to maintain something of the old Izvestia's international reach; the paper would "maintain five foreign bureaus in the US, Japan and Western Europe." It also backed attempts to lure talented journalists (especially former 'Izvestians') to the new project, with wages double those offered at the old Izvestia. See Tutushkin, "New Izvestia set to start publishing in November."
155. Lyubov Dunayeva, "No Day Without Lines of Print," Rossiskiye Vesti, 28 October 1997 (CDPSP, XLIX: 43 , p. 17).
156. "Regional Newspapers and the Russian Crisis," report of the Business Development Service of the Russian National Press Institute, 16 September 1998. <http://www.nyu.edu/globalbeat/pubs/npi091698. html>
157. "Regional Newspapers and the Russian Crisis."
158. Jean MacKenzie, "Casualty of Russia's Economic Crisis: A Free Press," Christian Science Monitor dispatch, 28 September 1998 (Cemail@example.com).
159. Quoted in MacKenzie, "Casualty of Russia's Economic Crisis."
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Copyright Adam Jones, 1998-2000. Excerpted from The Press in Transition: A Comparative Study of Nicaragua, South Africa, Jordan, and Russia, Ph.D. dissertation, University of British Columbia, July 1999.