Kommersant fires journalists for refusing to disclose sources
The entire politics department decided to leave the editorial office, while Usmanov was caught lying.
Employees of the Kommersant Publishing House published an appeal to the readers, in which they told about the dismissal of special correspondent Ivan Safronov and deputy editor of the politics department Maxim Ivanov, who refused to disclose sources to a shareholder. After that, the entire politics department decided to leave the publication – 11 people, as the message reads.
“According to our colleagues, the personnel decision was explained to them by the demand of the PH’s shareholder, businessman Alisher Usmanov. The reason was the article “Speakers to be made out of these people,” which tells about the possible dismissal of Valentina Matvienko from the post of the Federation Council chairwoman,” the journalists wrote in the their message.
Further, the publication’s staff say that they rewarded authors for the material, but Usmanov “expressed displeasure with the article and demanded to reveal the identity of the sources,” which is contrary to the law on the media and the journalists’ employment contracts. Safronov and Ivanov were fired for refusing to do so. Direct appeals to Usmanov to find a compromise were unsuccessful. Kommersant’s deputy editor-in-chief Gleb Cherkasov, editor of the politics department Alla Barakhova, deputy editor Maria-Louise Tirmaste and eight more employees decided to leave the publishing house.
The Kommersant team considers it its duty to inform the readers that Kommersant will not be able to inform them about Russian politics indefinitely for a long time. Such a forced break occurs for the first time in the 30-year history of the publishing house.
It is to be recalled that in the controversial article, the authors, citing sources in government agencies, told about the possible transfer of the head of the Federation Council, Valentina Matvienko, to the post of head of the Pension Fund, and the head of the Foreign Intelligence Agency, Sergey Naryshkin, to the Federation Council. Usmanov said that he did not intervene in the publication’s editorial policy and found out about the dismissals from the media, while the CEO of Kommersant, Vladimir Zhelonkin, accused Safronov and Ivanov of violating editorial standards.
In March 2019, journalist Maria Karpenko, whose materials expressed, according to her, discontent in the Kremlin and Smolny, left Kommersant. In 2011, CEO Andrey Galiyev and chief editor of the magazine Kommersant-Vlast Maxim Kovalsky also left the publishing house. The reason was Usmanov’s dissatisfaction with the publication of a ballot paper, on which there was a tick for the Yabloko Party with “Putin went to ***” written on it. In the same year, the circulation of the Vlasti issue with a portrait of Matvienko and signature “For popsicles for the Fatherland” was withdrawn from sales. The article was on the appointment of Matvienko to the Federation Council.
The intel scandal involving Oleg Smolenkov, who had access to the Kremlin and possessed valuable information, has become a widely discussed topic. It was CNN who reported, citing sources in the CIA and Donald Trump administration, on the “informant” being evacuated from Russia in 2017. It turned out that for certain people in Russia, the spy’s disappearance was not a secret, while the Russian elite denied the fact of espionage in unison with the American one. The Smolenkov family was forced to leave their luxurious mansion in Virginia, and their current whereabouts are unknown. Smolenkov’s “patron,” Assistant to the President of the Russian Federation for the International Sector Yury Ushakov, continues to fulfill his duties. The CrimeRussia looked into the story of “exfiltration” of the top informant and the possible consequences of his work as an intelligencer.