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The Real Russia. Today. Journalist Sergey Dorenko dies, photojournalists share their favorite WWII photos, and two notable women will face off in the Moscow City Duma elections

Source: Meduza

Thursday, May 9, 2019

This day in history: seven years ago, on May 9, 2012, a Sukhoi Superjet 100 airliner on a demonstration tour in Indonesia crashed on Mount Salak, killing all 45 people on board, including several journalists and prospective clients.
  • Sergey Dorenko, journalist who criticized Putin on state TV, dies at 59
  • We asked Russian photojournalists to tell the stories behind the World War II photos that are most important to them
  • ‘Russia Today’ said foreign news outlets and Navalny’s team spread a fake video about Sunday’s deadly aircraft fire. Two days later, the network retracted the story.
  • Two women with civic credibility will face off in the Moscow City Duma elections this September
  • Arrested Pussy Riot member Veronika Nikulshina accused of drug use post facto as six of her friends are also arrested
  • Airborne portion of Moscow’s annual Victory Day parade canceled
Sergey Alexandrov / Kommersant

Sergey Dorenko, who served as the editor-in-chief of the radio station Govorit Moskva until 2014, died on May 9. Most Russians know Dorenko as the host of the TV show Vremya and then of his own program on Public Russian Television (ORT), which became Channel One in the late 1990s. Dorenko was fired from his state TV job in September of 2000 after he released a segment on the Kursk submarine disaster, which killed all 118 of the vessel’s crewmembers. In the segment, Dorenko sharply criticized the Russian government’s response as well as Vladimir Putin’s individual actions during the rescue mission. Russian speakers can watch the segment and English speakers can read about its context below.

Read Meduza's story: “Sergey Dorenko, journalist who criticized Putin on state TV, dies at 59”

‘Staged shots are as powerful as any gun’

Margaret Bourke-White / Time & Life Pictures / Getty Images

On May 9, a number of post-Soviet countries commemorate the Soviet victory in the Second World War. Contemporary Russian photographers Sergey Maximishin, Yury Kozyrev, and Nigina Beroyeva chose three photographs from the war and told us what it is about those images that continues to amaze them. They also reflected on the difficulties today’s war photographers can face.

See the photos and read the stories: “We asked Russian photojournalists to tell the stories behind the World War II photos that are most important to them”

RT's phony fake news report

On May 7, the Russian state television network RT (formerly Russia Today) published an online article (read the original version here) that was titled: “Fake News: Sheremetyevo ‘Dispatcher’ Video Spread by Ukrainian Bloggers and Navalny Supporters.” The report accuses “accounts from Alexey Navalny’s media network” and other “public opinion leaders,” like Radio Svoboda, Golos Ameriki, Deutsche Welle, and the bloggers Rustem Adagamov and Andrey Malgin, of spreading footage that allegedly shows Moscow airport staff laughing at Sunday’s deadly fire aboard an SSJ100 aircraft.

Find out how RT had to retract this reporting: “‘Russia Today’ said foreign news outlets and Navalny’s team spread a fake video about Sunday’s deadly aircraft fire. Two days later, the network retracted the story.”

Clash of the civic activists

The Moscow City Duma’s 45 seats are up for grabs in elections this September, which means it’s time for another round of “the state authorities vs. the opposition vs. the real opposition,” as officials recruit, by hook or by crook, various public figures with varying degrees of “liberal” credibility to compete against those uncompromising anti-Kremlin activists daring enough to run for office. One of the central dramas this season is between Anti-Corruption Foundation attorney Lyubov Sobol and Moscow Palliative Care Center director Nyuta Federmesser, who are campaigning for the same seat in the city’s 43rd District.

On May 7, Alexey Navalny published an open letter addressed to Federmesser, asking her to withdraw from the election, arguing that the authorities engineered her candidacy to take votes from Sobol, who works at Navalny’s foundation. “Nyuta, you shouldn’t help them,” Navalny wrote. “You can’t allow your work, for which you are loved and respected, to be so humiliated and debased.”

For years, Federmesser has managed different hospice care projects in Moscow. Last November, to the dismay of many in the anti-Kremlin opposition, she joined the All-Russia People's Front, a political coalition launched in 2011 by Vladimir Putin. According to research by Meduza, she is one of the “independent” candidates supported by Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin.

In a Facebook post on May 9, human rights activist and journalist Zoya Svetova argued that Navalny’s open letter is “correct,” but it doesn’t tell Federmesser anything she doesn’t already know. Svetova says Sobol should register in another district to avoid the clash with Federmesser that City Hall clearly wants. Svetova speculates that Federmesser is only running for office to fulfill the terms of whatever bargain she struck with the authorities that ensures the continued existence of her foundations. It’s essentially a “deal with the Devil,” Svetova says, and that kind of thing is hard to pull off, she warns.

News briefs

  • An administrative protocol has been filed against Pussy Riot member Veronika Nikulshina that accuses the actress and activist of using narcotics or refusing to undergo a medical inspection, Mediazona reported. A court may consider the accusations as soon as May 10. Nikulshina was arrested on May 8 without a warrant or a protocol; at the time, the police reportedly attempted to explain their actions by saying that “a group of young people have damaged a piece of government property.” Read the story here.
  • The military flyover planned for Moscow’s annual Victory Day parade has been canceled due to weather concerns. A journalist standing on the Moscow Kremlin’s Spasskaya Tower announced the cancellation on the air for the state-owned Channel One. Fifty-six airplanes and 18 helicopters were meant to fly in the parade. Read the story here.

Yours, Meduza