Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 2

For the second year running, Russia has been declared the world’s most dangerous country for journalists. The latest annual report of the International Federation of Journalists reports that eight of the 47 journalists killed in 1997 while carrying out their professional duties were Russian. According to Russia’s Foundation for the Protection of Glasnost, the death-toll was even higher. The Foundation says 14 Russian journalists were killed last year. This number does not include the Rostov journalist, Sergei Chekalin, who committed suicide in protest against wage arrears. There were in addition at least 40 reports last year of Russian journalists being beaten up. (Ekho Moskvy, January 4)

As for the kidnappings of Russian journalists that took place in Chechnya last year, the Chechen authorities are insisting that the Russian authorities, not Chechens, were responsible. Chechen first deputy prime minister Movladi Udugov told Ekho Moskvy that the Chechen leadership is convinced that "the kidnappings of the Reuters, WTN [World Television News], ORT [Russian Public TV], TSN [Russian TV news service] and NTV [Russian Independent TV] journalists were carried out by Russian special-purpose militia [OMON] on direct instructions from the Russian Interior Ministry." Udugov said Grozny had information proving that the purpose of the kidnappings was to provoke tensions between Moscow and Grozny and ensure the continuation of hostilities. (Ekho Moskvy, January 5)

Chinese-Russian "Deal of the Century?"