Struggling Russian newspaper ‘Vedomosti’ publishes an editorial condemning its own new editor-in-chief
Senior staff at Vedomosti, one of Russia’s best-respected independent business newspapers, have published an editorial condemning their own new acting editor-in-chief, Andrey Shmarov. The text’s authors warn that Shmarov’s efforts to change Vedomosti’s long-standing editorial policies are undermining trust in the newspaper.
Andrey Shmarov took over as Vedomosti’s acting editor-in-chief in late March 2020, after the newspaper’s owners announced that they were selling the publication to Konstantin Zyatkov (the head of the “Versiya” publishing house) and Alexey Golubovich (the managing director of “Arbat Capital”). With the sale still pending, the future owners promised not to change the newspaper’s editorial policies, though their pick for chief editor, Andrey Shmarov, has been a nightmare from the start, censoring content and alienating staff.
First, Shmarov altered the headline in a story about the oil company Rosneft, then he deleted an op-ed that criticized Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin, and this week he prohibited Vedomosti journalists from publishing polling data from the independent Levada Center and any criticism of constitutional reforms that will allow Vladimir Putin to remain in office until 2036. Vedomosti staff have opposed Shmarov’s appointment and publicly asked the newspaper’s new owners to replace him with Anfisa Voronina, a longtime Vedomosti journalist who currently heads the partner project “Vedomosti &.” Zyatkov and Golubovich have refused.
“With this editorial, we would like to confirm that we cherish the values upon which Vedomosti’s reputation is built and we intend to continue defending them. If Vedomosti loses its reputation, it will become just another subservient and controlled media outlet driven not by readers’ need for verified news and high-quality analysis but by the interests and ambitions of its official and hidden owners. There are already enough media outlets like this in Russia. This would be a publication with the old storefront and logo, but with fundamentally different content,” say the newspaper’s editors, repeating their request that Anfisa Voronina takes over as editor-in-chief.