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The News That Doesn’t Get Reported

Published: February 12, 2008 (Issue # 1347)


There is something very strange about the way news is presented in Russia. On one hand, there is news that we are all aware of — news of Medvedev meeting with dairy farmers, for example, or Medvedev outlawing inflation and increasing pensions.

But there is another type of news that distinguishes Russia from most countries in the West. I’m speaking of the news that doesn’t exist.

For example, a few years ago former FSB General Anatoly Trofimov and his wife were gunned down in front of their home in an apparent contract murder. Trofimov had been working for investment company Gruppa Finvest for a few years prior to his shooting.

In the United States, if a gangster kills a law enforcement official — and not merely another gangster — he is a marked man. The police will go to all lengths to hunt him down and bring him to justice. But, in Russia, there is no news concerning Trofimov’s murder even though it should have been a simple case to solve.

Hired killers used similar methods to get rid of Nazim Kaziakhmetov, an investigator with the Prosecutor General’s Office who had been investigating the criminal fraud case against Finvest.

Even before former security agent Alexander Litvinenko was poisoned in London, President Vladimir Putin’s former head of security in St. Petersburg, Roman Tsepov, was also poisoned. Tsepov thought he had a free hand to meddle in important Kremlin business affairs, including the Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works and Yukos.

Although Tsepov had been fairly close to the president, he apparently overestimated Putin’s loyalty to him. It seems that Putin should have ordered an investigation to find out who killed his friend, but not a peep has been heard from the media about the case.

In addition, a former department head at the Federal Property Management Agency, Sergei Korolko, was stabbed to death in Novosibirsk on April 11, 2005. Korolko was a high-ranking government official in charge of selling off property confiscated in criminal investigations. It is not difficult to guess who might have had an ax to grind with Korolko, but you won’t hear any news about the investigation into that case.

About a month ago, the body of VTB managing director Oleg Zhukovsky was found at the bottom of the swimming pool at his luxury dacha in Odintsovo, just outside Moscow. Although Zhukovksy’s arms and legs had been tied up and a plastic bag was tied around his head, his death was classified as a suicide. Moreover, the police carried out a thorough investigation to try to understand how Zhukovsky could have possibly tied his own hands behind his back. But where is the media coverage of this crime?

Of course, I understand that Tsepov, Trofimov and Korolko might not have been the easiest people to get along with and that Zhukovsky was probably no angel either. Nonetheless, the basic principles of a civil society dictate that it is wrong to kill a former FSB general, a friend of the president, a top government official or a managing director of a bank; they also dictate that the details of the investigation — or the lack of investigation — into these crimes should be reported in the mainstream media.

Not long ago in St. Petersburg, the poisoned bodies of two Federal Drug Control Service agents were found near a bridge. Less than an hour before their deaths, the men were having dinner at a restaurant. Their colleagues paid for dinner using credit cards. It should have been an open and shut case, but no leads have been reported in the media.

Although there is virtually no media coverage on these high-profile killings, we are bombarded almost every day with information about an entirely different topic — the strengthening of Putin’s power vertical, the increase in law and order and the way Putin has returned stability to the country after a decade of lawlessness, corruption and chaos.

Yulia Latynina hosts a political talk show on Ekho Moskvy radio.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Sunday, Jan. 25


Get out your running shoes for the 46th International Road of Life Marathon. Dedicated to the end of the blockade, three runs are offered — 5, 21 and 42 kilometer runs — starting in different places outside the city. Busses leave from 13/1 Arsenalnaya Naberezhny at 8 a.m. but check complete details and registration fees on www.newrunners.ru/race/doroga-zhizni-2015



If you are planning a wedding, head over to the Azimut Hotel, 43/1 Lermontovsky Prospekt from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The day includes live music, free dance classes and vendors selling wedding dresses, accessories, cakes and services to help make your special day perfect. Admission is free.



Monday, Jan. 26


Feeling stressed by the crisis? The Northwest Coach University at 3 Ulitsa Vostsstanaya is hosting a master class by lifecoach Tatiana Almazova. She will shed light on the coaching process, the usefulness of coaching during times of economic downturn and how coaching can improve your career and business prospects. The event starts at 7 p.m. and admission is free. Pre-register by calling 424 3700.



Discover the State Hermitage Museum's collection of English painting at a lecture by art historian Yelizaveta Renne at the Prince Galitzine Library, 46 Nab. Reki Fontanki. The event starts at 6 p.m. and the lecture will be followed by a concert of arias, songs and duets by English composer Henry Purcell. The event is free of charge.



Tuesday, Jan. 27


Celebrate the 71st anniversary of the end of the Siege of Leningrad on Palace Square with a free concert at 7 p.m. Listen to WWII-era songs and the poetry of Olga Bergholz while you peruse outdoor exhibitions dedicated to life during wartime. The event is capped off by a fireworks display at 9 p.m.



Stop by the Lexica School of Foreign Languages at 73 Ligovsky Prospekt from now until Friday for a free English lesson. The classes start at 7 p.m. and cover all levels, from Beginner to Advanced. Registration by telephone on 7641692 and a desire to improve your skills are the only prerequisites.







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