Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 3 Issue: 35

In the aftermath of the storming of the Moscow theater at Dubrovka on October 26, Russian authorities commenced a crackdown against two television channels whose coverage of the hostage crisis had evidently deeply angered the Kremlin. “The president [Putin] himself,” the website Politcom.ru reported on November 13, “has manifested an interest in the question of how an entire [television] channel is administered. Vladimir Putin lambasted the stockholders of the television company NTV–for the fact that the station had functioned without taking into account the demands placed on journalists by the situation generated by the seizure of the hostages.” At a meeting with television journalists from NTV, the channel’s director, Boris Jordan, noted that Putin had remarked that “he expected the removal of an oligarch,” that is, presumably of Jordan himself, to be one result of NTV’s perceived inadequate performance during the time of the hostage crisis. The Kremlin, Jordan said further, is dissatisfied because “NTV conducted itself independently not only in regard to the position of the authorities but also in regard to the position of the chief stockholder of NTV, Gazprom.” Gazprom is currently being pushed hard by the Kremlin to remove the chief editor of NTV, Tatyana Mitkova, and her deputy, Savik Shuster.

The November 12 issue of the website Newsru.com wrote, in similar fashion, that “they are planning to fire the well-known television commentator [Shenderovich] from the television channel TVS…. Shenderovich said that one of the stockholders of TVS, [Anatoly] Chubais, had been summoned to the Kremlin.” The wrath of the authorities had been elicited by a program, “Free Cheese,” narrated by Shenderovich and broadcast on November 2.