Last week, RFE/RL Russia Service
contributor Julia Ioffe
was scheduled to interview Vladimir Churov
, head of the Russian Central Elections Committee, on the show “Face to Face”
along with Victor Hamraev from the Russian daily Kommersant
. The topic of the show was the key regional elections that were
It's definitely flattering for a journalist to be so hated, but I was disappointed that I wouldn't get to interview Churov.
held the weekend before, a topic Julia had covered
in an article for "Foreign Policy".
The morning of the show, she received a text from the show’s producer, stating: “Julia, unfortunately, everything’s changed. Churov, it turns out, knows you well from your publications and really doesn’t like you.” Apparently, Churov’s press person called RFE/RL and, with Churov audibly grumbling in the background, chewed out the show’s producer because Julia had written “nasty things about Putin.” The producer, to his credit, refused to replace her with someone friendlier and instead canceled the show.
When I asked her what it was like to be held in such high esteem by Russia's election officials, Julia responded: "It's definitely flattering for a journalist to be so hated, but I was disappointed that I wouldn't get to interview Churov. I was really looking forward to asking him why he came into the office in overall hunting fatigues the week before the election."
You can read her account
of the experience on her 'Moscow Diaries' site.
-- K. Bjorklund