April 21, 2024

Press Freedom

Russian Federation

Russia September 14, 2005

H.E. Vladimir Putin
The Kremlin
Russian Federation
Fax: ( 011.7.095) 206-6277/ 5173

Your Excellency:

We were gratified to learn that the independent journalist, Nikolai Goshko, who had been sentenced in June to five years in a prison camp for criminal defamation, has been unconditionally released. As we wrote you on June 20, 2005, the sentence was absurd and should not have been imposed in the first place, and we applaud this resolution of a case that reflected badly on Russia .

However, several other matters continue to trouble us. On August 12, Pawel Reszka , the Moscow correspondent of the Polish daily paper, Rzeczpospolita, was severely beaten by four or five men in a street underpass near his office. According to Reporters Without Borders, he had recently written several articles about attacks by thugs on two employees of the Polish embassy in Moscow on August 5 and 7. The day he was attacked, he had asked in Rzeczpospolita  : “Who’s next ?” Reszka was left with serious injuries to his face, head and back and bruises all over his body. We urge you to instruct your government to do everything possible to find and punish those responsible.

On August 16, journalist Pavel Lyuzakov was sentenced to two years in a prison camp for illegal possession of a firearm. Lyuzakov, who edits the opposition news Web site, Svobodnoye Slovo (Free Speech), and writes for two media outlets that focus on the conflict in Chechnya , has been attacked several times on the street. He says he had asked an acquaintance to get him a tear gas pistol, together with the permits that would make it legal for him to carry it. But immediately after the acquaintance thrust the gun into Lyuzakov’s pocket, officers of the Internal Affairs Department arrested him — leaving the acquaintance to go his own way. This has all the earmarks of a set-up in retaliation for Lyuzakov’s articles about Chechnya , part of the on-going campaign to obstruct and intimidate journalists who try to report honestly about the war.

Apparently as another part of that campaign, Yuri Bagrov , a North Caucasus correspondent for the U.S. government-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, was prevented by Russian police on September 1 from covering the first anniversary of the Beslan school hostage tragedy. Bagrov has been harassed before; he was stripped of his passport and press credentials last year, making it illegal for him to travel outside the area around his hometown. As it happens, Beslan is only 25 kilometers from his home, but when he arrived there with three other reporters, an unknown man in plain clothes told him to leave and warned him not to come back until the ceremonies were over. We urge you to see that Bagrov’s passport and press credentials are restored. Indeed, we hope you will perceive the futility of the entire campaign to suppress independent journalism in Russia and call it off, leaving Pawel Reszka, Pavel Lyuzakov, Yuri Bagrov and all their colleagues free of persecution for doing their jobs.

Thank you for your attention. We would appreciate a reply.

Respectfully yours,
Larry Martz
Norman A. Schorr
Co-chairmen, Freedom of the Press Committee


Mikhail Yefimovich Fradkov

Prime Minister

Government Offices

2 Krasnopresnenskaya Naberezhnaya


Russian Federation

Fax: (011.7.095) 206-4622


Yuriy Viktorovich Ushakov

Ambassador of Russia to the U.S.A.

Embassy of the Russian Federation

2650 Wisconsin Avenue, NW

Washington , DC 20007

Fax: (202) 298-5735


Ambassador Andrey Ivanovich Denisov

Permanent Représentative

Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

136 East 67 th Street

New York , NY 10021

Fax: (212) 628-0252


Alexander R. Vershbow

U.S. Ambassador to Russia

Embassy of the United States of America

8 Bolshoy Devyatinskiy Pereulok

Moscow 121099


Fax: (011.7.095) 728-5090


Sergey Viktorovich Lavrov

Foreign Minister

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Moscow 121200

Russian Federation


Aleksey Kirillovich Simonov


Glasnost Defense Foundation

4 Zubovskiy Blvd., # 432

Moscow 119021


Fax: (011.7.095) 201-4947

E-mail: simonov@gdf.ru


Lynn Berry


The Moscow Times

16 Vyborgskaya Street , building 4

Moscow 125212

Fax: (011.7. 095) 937-3393

E-mail: l.berry@imedia.ru


Aleksander Vitalyevich Stukalin


Kommersant Daily

4 Vrubelya Street



Fax: (011.7.095) 943-9728

E-mail: kommersant@kommersant.ru



Tatyana Petrovna Koshkaryova


Nezavisimaya Gazeta

13 Myasnitskaya Street , building.3



Fax: (011.7. 095) 981-5434

E-mail: office@ng.ru


Vladimir Alekseyevich Borodin



18 Tverskaya Street , building 1

Moscow 127994


Fax: (011.7.095) 514-0223

E-mail: alekseeva@izvestia.ru


Pavel Nikolayevich Gusev


Moskovskiy Komsomolets

7 Ulitsa 1905 Goda

Moscow 123995


Fax: (011.7.095) 259-4639

E-mail: berestovenko@mk.ru


Robert Munro


The St.Petersburg Times

4 Isakiyevskaya square

St.Petersburg 190000


Tel/fax: (011.7.812) 325-6080

E-mail: munro@sptimes.ru


Tatyana Gennadyevna Lysova



16 Vyborgskaya Street

Moscow 125212


Tel: (011.7.095) 232-3200, 956-3458

Fax : (011.7.095) 956-0716

E-mail: vedomosti@imedia.ru


Dmitriy Andreyevich Muratov


Novaya Gazeta

3 Potapovskiy pereulok

Moscow 101990


Fax: (011.7.095) 923-6888

E-mail: gazeta@novayagazeta.ru