‘Ekho Moskvy’ chief editor Alexey Venediktov faces multiple sexual harassment allegations in new ‘BBC’ profile
On April 29, the BBC’s Russian-language service published an in-depth profile of Alexey Venediktov, the long-time editor-in-chief of the liberal radio station Ekho Moskvy (Echo of Moscow). The story by Svetlana Reiter and Sergey Goryashko covers Venediktov’s humble beginnings, rise to prominence in Russia’s post-Soviet independent journalism, and byzantine relationships with powerful politicians, state officials, and business owners. The article also describes sexual harassment allegations against Venediktov from multiple women, including Anna Veduta, Meduza’s former global outreach director and the ex-spokesperson for oppositionist Alexey Navalny.
According to Veduta, the Ekho Moskvy chief editor made unwanted advances in 2012, when she was 22 years old, while escorting her home after a dinner party. (Venediktov was 56 at the time.) On Twitter, Veduta said she’s come forward now about the incident because this was the first time any journalist asked her about her experiences with Venediktov. On condition of anonymity, another woman told the BBC that Venediktov forced his hand on her inner thigh at a restaurant in August 2017. Other sources told the BBC that Venediktov is a “tactile person” who often caresses women’s backs and addresses female staff with pet names.
In comments to the BBC, Venediktov denied all allegations of sexual harassment.
The profile story — more than 7,400 words long — provides a detailed look at Alexey Venediktov’s business activities (for example, he runs a private consulting firm that provides public relations advice to several of the country's wealthiest individuals) and his unique role in Russian politics, where he often acts as a bridge between the authorities and the anti-Kremlin opposition.
Update: After the BBC published its report, Venediktov appeared on Ekho Moskvy and issued a qualified apology to Veduta, saying, “I have a different view of these events. I don't even remember that they took place. [...] But if this has been gnawing at Anna for eight years, and if she feels uncomfortable because of how she imagined this, then I apologize to her.” On Twitter, Veduta responded that she doesn't seek Venediktov's apology and says she only spoke out to break the silence about his behavior.