Russian journalists to watch in the New Year



Alexeï Navalny, opposition figure

President Vladimir Putin’s biggest national opponent enters the new year with his movement gutted as he enters the second year of his 2.5-year prison sentence for parole violation on a former misappropriation conviction fund that its supporters call politically motivated. Navalny, 45, also faces a 10 years in a new criminal case alleging he stole supporters’ donations.

When he returned to Russia in early 2021 after treatment for August 2020 poisoning he attributes to the Kremlin, Navalny galvanized some of the biggest anti-government protests in modern Russian history. His video survey in Putin’s purported $ 1.3 billion Black Sea Palace helped fuel street rallies and garnered 120 million views, making it the most popular video on Russian YouTube in 2021.

During the year 2021, the Russian authorities officially outlaw the Navalny networks, imprisoned his supporters on a series of offenses and forced Social media platforms to remove pro-Navalny content in what Kremlin critics call a sweeping crackdown on dissent.

His team’s campaign for the September 2021 election candidates most likely to topple pro-Kremlin incumbents failed to shake the ruling party’s qualified majority, while critics claimed mass fraud and forgery of ballot boxes.

Russia has so far refused to open a criminal investigation into the poisoning of Navalny despite militant and Western pressure.

Although he ended the year as a prison “seamstress”, with key allies in exile and regional supporters remaining in Russia threatened with prison terms, Navalny’s name is unlikely to disappear headlines in 2022, as activists and Western governments continue to urge Russia to release him.

The Kremlin, media reports, are hoping Navalny’s “highly personalized” movement will fizzle out while he is incarcerated.

Sardana Avksentiyeva, legislator

Yakutsk’s first female mayor reappeared in 2021 as an independent political actor with a seat in the lower house of Russia’s parliament, the State Duma, as a member of the newly formed New People Party.

Avksentiyeva, 51, to be closely watched in new role after other independent lawmakers abandoned of race, or have been stripped of their tenure to face criminal charges.

Avksentiyeva achieved national notoriety with her populist agenda, modest lifestyle, and savvy use of social media. Months before the September 2021 Duma elections, Avksentiyeva announced that she was stepping down as mayor of Yakutsk following rumors of her ousting in the media.

Avksentiyeva opposed the 2020 constitutional rewrite that allows Putin to remain in power until 2036. Despite this, she was careful to avoid offending the Kremlin, walking a tightrope between implied dissent and public displays of loyalty.

Sardana Avksentiyeva.
sardanaavksentieva / instagram

Anna Kuznetsova, Deputy Speaker of the State Duma

The former child rights ombudsperson who defended the evacuation of Russian orphans born to Islamic State families in Syria and Iraq was the only member of Putin’s five-list of Duma candidates to serve in Parliament.

Kuznetsova, 40, will oversee committees on family, women, children and social policy at a time when critics accuse the Kremlin of militarize school children and instill conservative values ​​in opposition to what Russia describes as “infinitely permissiveWest. Kuznetsova will chair the broad portfolio amid unclear legislative prospects to criminalize domestic violence after the State Duma decriminalized early abuses in 2017 and the Kremlin said existing laws are ‘sufficient’ to tackle domestic violence .

The ruling Duma United Russia party, which includes Kuznetsova, is expected to continue to implement Putin’s socially conservative policies over the coming year, including entrenching patriotism as a unifying national idea in the Course of Study.

Anna Kuznetsova.

Anna Kuznetsova.

Health and pandemic

Anna Popova, head of the consumer safety watchdog Rospotrebnadzor, Tatiana Golikova, Deputy Prime Minister responsible for Russia’s response to Covid-19 and Alexander Gintsburg, chief of state-run vaccine developer Sputnik V

Popova, Golikova and Gintsburg became the de facto faces of Russia’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Every week, Popova and Golikova take to the airwaves to educate Putin and the general public about Russia’s measures against Covid. Their televised briefings, which touched almost every aspect of the lives of millions of Russians during the pandemic, are expected to continue into 2022.

Gintsburg is also expected to remain a media presence in Russia as new infectious mutations of Covid-19 continue to cause panic around the world, without the pandemic ending.

Anna Popova.  Denis Grishkin / Moskva News Agency

Anna Popova.
Denis Grishkin / Moskva News Agency

Activism and advocacy

Vladimir Osechkin, activist for prisoners’ rights

Founder of prisoner rights NGO, Osechkin sent shockwaves across the country in 2021 with a series of explosives video proof of alleged torture in the Russian prison system.

Osechkin, 41, has vowed to continue to shed light on the mistreatment of prisoners in Russia with more than 100 gigabytes of files documenting the widespread torture and rape of detainees he obtained from a former detainee who smuggled the images from a Saratov prison hospital on USB sticks.

In mid-December, Osechkin said he also obtained 200 gigabytes of torture videos in Krasnoyarsk, Primorye and Zabaikalsky Prison from another whistleblower.

Osechkin’s revelations resulted in the dishonorable dismissal of at least 21 officers and officials from the Saratov regional prison following an internal inspection of the leaked videos. Putin fired the head of the Russian prison system in November in a decision which the Kremlin said was unrelated to the Osechkin leaks.

Authorities added Osechkin, who sought political asylum in France, to the list of wanted people for an unspecified criminal offense after posting new videos showing acts of torture and rape of detainees at Saratov Prison Hospital.

Vladimir Osechkin. / vladimir.osechkin

Vladimir Osechkin. / vladimir.osechkin


Dmitry Muratov, editor-in-chief of Novaya Gazeta

Co-winner of the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to protect freedom of expression, Muratov risks being called a “foreign agent” in the New Year after Putin said the prize failed was not “shield”Him of the infamous name.

In his acceptance speech, Muratov said it would be “dumbTo qualify his independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta as a “foreign agent”, even if it accepted the money of the Nobel Prize.

A term with Soviet-era connotations, the status of “foreign agent” requires individuals or organizations to disclose their funding sources and to label all of their posts, including social media posts, with a tag or labels. fines.

Muratov, 60, was one of a group of journalists who founded Novaya Gazeta in 1993 after the fall of the Soviet Union.

the acknowledgement for Muratov came after dozens of Russian journalists and a number of major independent media were struck with the designation “foreign agent”, some having been forced to shut down last year. Kremlin critics say authorities are waging a campaign against independent and critical media.

Later in December, Muratov’s Novaya Gazeta was snubbed of an invitation to Putin’s year-end press conference in what the Kremlin called an anti-coronavirus measure.

Dmitri Muratov.  Mikhail Metzel / TASS

Dmitri Muratov.
Mikhail Metzel / TASS


Yevgenia Markova, Managing Director of Roskino

Markova, who promotes Russian content in major international film markets, is the face of the Russian film industry Renaissance responsible for presenting an unprecedented number of Russian projects abroad and overseeing the success of Russian films on streaming platforms.

Under the leadership of Markova, Russia presented at least 140 projects in the European film market, and more than 60 at the Marché du Film, one of the largest film markets in the world and during the Cannes Film Festival.

Markova’s young career as head of public administration Roskino coincided with a 9-day run to top the Netflix streaming charts for the Russian comic book adaptation “Major Grom: Plague Doctor” and 58 days in the top 10 for “Chernobyl: Abyss,” Russia’s Hollywood response to HBO’s hit miniseries.

Markova was recognized for her efforts at the 78th Venice International Film Festival with the 2021 Filming Italy Award for Best Film for her outstanding achievements in the Italian and international film industry.

Yevgeny Markova.  Valentin Egorshin / TASS

Yevgeny Markova.
Valentin Egorshin / TASS

Kira Kovalenko, director

A rising star in the Russian film industry, Kovalenko enters 2022 with high hopes of gaining greater international recognition after being noticed at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival.

Her second feature film, “Unclenching the Fists”, a drama about a young Ossetian woman trying to escape life in a small town, won the Un Certain Regard award.

And although “Unclenching the Fists” was not shortlisted for the 2022 Oscars as Russia’s entry into the Best International Feature Film category, Kovalenko has a lot to look forward to in the New Year.

Kovalenko is the protégé of successful producer Alexander Rodnyansky, who produced the feature films of Cannes Film Festival winner Kantemir Balagov. Balagov and Kovalenko are both graduates of a filmmaking workshop organized by the rector of the Kabardino-Balkaria State University in Nalchik, Barasbi Karamurzov, and Russian director Alexander Sokurov.

Kira Kovalenko.  kovalenkokira / instagram

Kira Kovalenko.
kovalenkokira / instagram


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