The slow death of Russian independent media

Andrei Malgin writes: Ominous storm clouds were gathering over the Ekho Moskvy radio station last week. That is serious because Russia only has one opposition-minded television channel, Dozhd, one such newspaper, Novaya Gazeta, one such weekly magazine, The New Times, and one such radio station, Ekho Moskvy. So if anything happens to that radio station, a very noticeable gap will appear in the already modest ranks of Russia’s independent media.

The reason for the scandal with Ekho Moskvy was a phrase that one of the radio station staff members permitted himself to post on Twitter. He wrote that when he learned of the death of the son of Kremlin chief of staff Sergei Ivanov, he realized that there is a higher justice. Although he offered no further clarification, his readers understood his meaning.

They knew that while driving several years ago, Ivanov’s son had run down and killed an elderly woman in a crosswalk in front of numerous witnesses. Not only was he never punished for his crime, he put pressure on investigators and relatives of the deceased, even going so far as to file false charges against the woman’s son-in-law for having supposedly beaten him at the scene. And now Ivanov’s son has drowned while swimming in the sea.

Of course, it was improper to post such a comment on Twitter, and the author himself soon realized that and removed it a few hours later. But in those few short hours it managed to set off a rapidly escalating chain reaction. [Continue reading…]

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