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Moscow court satisfies RT host’s lawsuit against Novaya Gazeta and politician Leonid Gozman

The Moscow Arbitration Court has ordered the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta to delete an article by politician Leonid Gozman, reports the human rights group Pravozashchita Otkrytki. The article in question alleges that the state-owned television network Russia Today (RT) obtained wiretapped records of a phone conversation between Gozman himself and journalist Igor Yakovenko.

The lawsuit was filed by RT talk show host Anton Krasovsky in March 2021, shortly after Novaya Gazeta published Gozman’s article and the politician appealed to state investigators to open a criminal case over an alleged violation of the confidentiality of his phone conversations. 

In his March 2021 article for Novaya Gazeta, Leonid Gozman describes his experience appearing on a live broadcast of RT’s talk show “Antonyms.” Gozman says that his intention was to discuss RT’s reporting, which he considers unreliable, on air. As such, prior to going on the show, he reached out to journalist Igor Yakovenko “who knows everything about our propaganda.”

However, as Gozman says in the article, during the broadcast the talk show’s host — Anton Krasovksy — “mockingly” told him that RT had received a call from the presidential administration, warning that he was “coming with a dossier on Russia Today, on [RT editor-in-chief Margarita] Simonyan, and on Putin,” allegedly given to him by Igor Yakovenko.

Gozman says this was only four hours after his conversation with Yakovenko. He therefore concluded that their phone conversation was wiretapped and shared with RT.

Following the incident, Gozman and Yakovenko appealed to Investigative Committee Director Alexander Bastrykin with a request to initiate a criminal case on charges of violating the confidentiality of phone conversations (under Russian Criminal Code Article 138). The article published by Novaya Gazeta includes a photo of the request. 

The court also ordered the newspaper to publish a retraction of the article within three days of the court ruling entering into force.

RT host Anton Krasovsky wrote on Telegram that the court obliged Leonid Gozman to pay him 300,000 rubles (more than $4,000) in compensation for moral damages. “Of course, I don’t expect any payments from Mr. Gozman, nor an apology,” he added.

In turn, Gozman told RBC that he plans to challenge the court’s decision. “We will appeal, we will file with Strasbourg and, of course, we will not leave the case like this,” he said, insisting that the Moscow court “absolutely ignored common sense.”

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