It is no secret to anyone, that there is no journalism in Russia. This happened partly due to the following individuals, that use their reporters’ authority, backed-up by press-cards and accreditations, to pursue the political goals of their bosses. These people claim themselves (often without proper introduction) as reporters but in fact are well trained firebrands. Let us call them “hybrid reporters”.
They prey mainly after civil and human rights activists. Their method is easy: ask most improper and provocative questions like “Why do you eat people?” or “Why do you fund terrorists?” Their main goal is to unbalance their victim for emotional reaction and record it. No matter what you say, no matter how you try to explain your position – everything will be distorted, reassembled and put out to defame you.
Here is the list of typical questions to lawyer Cherkasov asked by one of those starring in our investigation – participant of the “Seliger” forum – Maria Barzunova:
“Did you stand for Maidan 2014? Do you stand for terrorists and extremists on purpose to discredit the Russian Federation” Do you receive funds from the US Department of State? Are you ok with the chaos? Are you ok with the “Right Sector”, terrorists and extremists?”.
Be reminded: «Meduza» online media has already made a report on Ms. Barzunova in April. The reporter with NTV channel mic was annoying human rights activists and the lawyer for “Penza case” asking provocative questions and refusing to introduce herself. According to the state investigators, all persons involved in the case were participants of a terrorist cell “ Set’ ” (“Net”), planning to start a revolt and overthrow the power.
A curious thing is that NTV editorial office disproved any contacts with this reporter. NTV Information service chief editor Tatiana Mitkova told “Meduza” that she knows nothing about this employee. NTV St. Petersburg editorial office informed that they checked if they had a Barzunova on the list of employees and found out there were no employees with last names starting with «b».
Furthermore, Ms. Barzunova was chasing consul of Finland in Petrozavodsk. The consul refused to make any comments regarding the case and soon left the court, but the reporter kept persistently following Tarvo Nieminen until he reached his car.
In 2017 Ms. Barzunova participated in municipal elections in Moscow and put NTV television channel as her place of work in elections declaration. She was participating in elections for Arbat district from Russian Liberal-Democrat Party but was not among the five winners. The Central elections commission profile of Ms. Barzunova has the same information about her education as her profile on VKontakte social network does – the Institute of humanities education and IT.
According to Ms. Barzunova’s Twitter in 2016 she was working as an observer during elections of the head of Ramenskiy municipal district in 2016.
Ms. Barzunova’s profile on Facebook features “reporter” as her work place, and she also claimed to be “TV reporter” in her blog on Instagram.
Ms. Barzunova’s profile on Vkontakte: https://vk.com/id232120
Picture by: Igor Podgorniy/ TASS
The next «hybrid reporter» is Aleksandra Miroshnichenko, who also works for the NTV channel. You can recall her by the story from Sheremetyevo airport when the girl and her colleague Eduard Zhuravlev were allegedly attacked by activist from voters’ rights movement “Golos” (“Voice”).
Intentionally provoking a conflict is one of «hybrid reporters» common tactics. It is made to later call police and to falsely accuse you of a crime. This was the trick Ms. Miroshnichenko was trying to do with «Golos» co-chair Roman Udot.
You must remember one thing: you will be slandered and defamed.
Aleksandra Andreevna Miroshnichenko:
Miroshnichenko’s account in “VKontakte”: https://vk.com/id11496496
Mr. Zhuravlev in his turn was waiting for “Golos” coordinator in Krasnodar region David Kankiya near his house. The activist reported that on Facebook following up his post with the video of the incident.
Mr. Zhuravlev was asking numbers of similar questions about alleged cooperation between “Golos” and opposing political parties, about sources that fund Mr. Kankiya’s voyages to conferences abroad and if “Golos” makes any reports for «foreign agents» as if according to a manual.
Radio Svoboda mentions that Mr. Kankiya was very surprised with NTV reporter’s awareness of his upcoming voyages.
According to the information of the movement, NTV employees have access to wiretrapping data and addresses of opposition activists they are hunting (that is what co-chair of the movement Grigorii Melkonyantz told on Facebook). Numberous proofs of shadowing have also been provided by Roman Udot.
It is obvious they could not obtain data on whereabouts and phone calls of political and human rights activists if not provided by special services according to a direct order.
Meet the “dark reporter” Ekaterina Mosina to conclude the first part of our investigation. She was spotted in Petrozavodsk while waiting for the head of “Memorial” center Karel branch Yuriy Dmitriev near the court.
Ms. Mosina positively had refused to introduce herself (thus breaking the mass media law) and had run away, but later her report was still shown on NTV channel.
According to paragraph 9 of the «Mass media law» of the Russian Federation while carrying out their professional duties reporters are obliged to present their editorial certificates or other papers proving their identity and authority at the first request.
Andrey Racheev is the permanent cameraman of this NTV propaganda brigade.
Andrey Racheev profile in “VKontakte”: https://vk.com/id51069862
The people listed above are professional propagators that work according to instructions provided by President’s administration and in close contact with FSB operatives.
With their work they intentionally discredit the profession of the reporter, violate reporters’ ethics and access to confidential information unties their hands. Antisocial activities of these individuals are not punished but rather supported by their bosses while common police officers prefer not to get involved into the situation following an unofficial ban.
We invoke the reporters’ community of Russia to indicate its position regarding the actions of these individuals.
If you have any additional information, please email us to firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us via our administration feedback channel @bewareofthembot.