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Yabloko's Views


NTV Case

Press releases

On the closure of the programme "Svoboda Slova" or "Freedom of speech" on NTV
The Russian Democratic Party "YABLOKO", Statement, Press service, Jule 8, 2004

The Russian Democratic Party "YABLOKO" considers creeping reduction in freedom of speech in Russia an attempt to undermine one of the fundamental tenets of the Constitution and declares its determination to counteract the introduction of censorship in the domestic mass media.

YABLOKO opposes transformation of the TVS channel into a state-owned company
Press release, April 16, 2003

Such a step will lead to a monopoly on the information transmitted to Russia’s citizens. It is especially dangerous on the threshold of the parliamentary and presidential elections, when television is transformed into the main source of information on the competing political forces.

The Liberals group at the PACE session passed a statement in support of the independent mass media in Russia
The group of liberal deputies in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) made a statement in support of the independent massmedia in Russia.
Press release, 23.04.2001


Grigory Yavlinsky: there was too much politics in Vladimir Gusinsky's case
The leader of Yabloko and its parliamentary faction in the State Duma, Grigory Yavlinsky, said that the decision of the judiciary of Spain not to extradite Vladimir Gusinsky to Russia was not unexpected.
Press release, 18.04.2001



Grigory Yavlinsky: Despite the differences in the assessment of the situation around NTV, Yabloko will aim for a coalition with the Union of Right-Wing Forces
The leader of Yabloko Grigory Yavlinsky said that, despite the differing assessments of the situation around the NTV by his party and the Union of Right-Wing Forces (SPS), this won't affect Yabloko's intention to form a coalition with the SPS.
Press release, 14.04.2001


Grigory Yavlinsky to initiate a review of the situation at NTV by the State Duma
The leader of Yabloko, Grigory Yavlinsky, said that he would initiate a review of the situation at the NTV at the next meeting of the State Duma.
Press release, 14.04.2001


Yabloko to raise the issue of the situation around NTV at the Spring Session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
Members of the Russian parliamentary delegation in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) from the Yabloko faction plan to raise the situation around the Russian television channel NTV at the Spring session of PACE which will open in Strasbourg next week.
Press release, 14.04.2001


The leaders of Yabloko sign their names to the declaration "For NTV and Freedom of Speech in Russia"
”Since Monday April 9, 2001 signatures will be collected on a daily basis (in a move initiated by the Journalists’ Union) under the slogan “For NTV and Freedom of Speech in Russia” from 6 p.m. until 10 p.m. at the Central House of Journalists in Moscow(Suvorovskiy bulv., 8A).
Press release, 09.04.2001


Grigory Yavlinsky thinks that millions of signatures may be collected in defence of freedom of speech
The leader of the Yabloko faction in the State Duma, Grigory Yavlinsky, thinks that millions of signatures may be collected in defence of the freedom of speech and NTV. He made this statement on Monday April 9, 2001 at the House of Journalists in Moscow, where the collection of signatures began.
Press release, 09.04.2001


Grigory Yavlinsky believes that the Duma has refused the chance to freely speak to its electorate

The leader of Yabloko Grigory Yavlinsky thinks that the refusal of most of the deputies of the State Duma to support the initiative of the Yabloko faction targeted at supporting the team of the NTV television company demonstrate a definite position of most of the State Duma.

Press release, 04.04.2001


Grigory Yavlinsky proposes that the State Duma consider a draft resolution of the chamber on the situation surrounding NTV

On April 4, 2001 at a plenary meeting of the State Duma, Grigory Yavlinsky proposed on behalf of the Yabloko faction that the Duma put on the agenda consideration of a draft resolution of the chamber on the situation surrounding NTV.

Press release, 04.04.2001

Yabloko prepares draft appeal to the Supreme Court in connection with the situation surrounding NTV

The leader of Yabloko Grigory Yavlinsky initiated a draft appeal of the State Duma to the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation. The text of the appeal was distributed to the deputies of the Duma.

Press release, 04.04.2001


Appeal to the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation to take legal proceedings regarding the complaints of shareholders of OAO “Telekompaniya NTV” to protect their rights

Draft, Submitted by the deputy of the State Duma G.A.Yavlinsky, 04.04.01

The State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation believes that the following provision of the Constitution of the Russian Federation, that human rights and freedoms determine the essence, content and application of the laws and activity of the legislative and the executive authorities and local government to be immovable and ensured by justice.


Sergei Mitrokhin: a sad anniversary – 10 years since establishing of state control over the private NTV television channel. April 14, 2011.

Ten years have passed since ruining of the private independent television channel and dissolution of the team of 1journalists who had been showing to the country every day how important the profession of a journalist is for the society and freedom of speech. On April 14, 2001, the management of the NTV channel was completely changed. And virtually from this moment censorship has been widely exercised in Russia...

See also: the NTV case


Special for YABLOKO’s web-site
By Alexei Melnikov, member of the YABLOKO Bureau
May 19, 2009

Journalists and politicians have been repeatedly returning to the topic of the fight of the most active part of the Russian society against political censorship, which was most clearly demonstrated during the meetings in protection of the NTV independent television channel in April 2001.

All Eyes on What May Be Shuster's Last Show
By Caroline McGregor, The Moscow Times, July 9, 2004

"Svoboda Slova," one of NTV's most popular programs and the only political talk show on Russian television that is broadcast live, will air at 7:35 p.m. Friday in what is widely expected to be its final show.

NTV to Abandon 'Freedom of Speech'
By Caroline McGregor, The Moscow Times, July 8, 2004

"Svoboda Slova," or "Freedom of Speech," is perhaps the only remaining program on Russian television that promotes political debate and allows more or less unrestricted criticism of the Kremlin.

TV6 Case Sets a Bad Example
The Moscow Times, January 15, 2002
The liquidation of TV6 is not, as much of the Western media insists on describing it, the end of independent national television in Russia. TV6 is independent of the government, but it is controlled by Boris Berezovsky, who openly acknowledges that it is politics, not business, that drives his interest in the television station.

TV6 Team Asks to Stay on the Air By Robin Munro Staff Writer
The Moscow Times, January 15, 2002
The management of TV6 made a proposal Monday that it hopes will allow it to preserve its journalistic team and continue running the television station, which a court last week ordered closed. TV6 management wrote a letter to Press Minister Mikhail Lesin giving up the station's broadcasting licence so it could form a new company in time to bid for the license when a tender is held in April. In the meantime, it asked to be allowed to continue broadcasting.

Oil Co. Wants to Buy TV Rights
By ANGELA CHARLTON, Associated Press Writer, January 12, 2002
MOSCOW (AP) - After persuading a court to shut down Russia's largest independent television network, a subsidiary of the country's biggest oil company said Saturday it wants to buy the channel's broadcasting rights.


Russian TV Station Ordered to Close
Associated Press, January 11, 2002
MOSCOW (AP) - A court ordered the closure of the last national television network outside the government's control Friday - a decision prompting concern about media freedom in Russia.


Ekho Moskvy Staff Threaten to Resign
The Moscow Times Thursday, May. 17, 2001. Page 3
By Robin Munro

Ekho Moskvy's chief editor said Wednesday he is prepared to take his 90-member staff to second-tier television station TV6 if the journalists fail to obtain a controlling stake in the independent radio station.


Deal to decide NTV future
CNN World, April 9, 2001

ST PETERSBURG, Russia -- The future of NTV television's independence hangs in the balance as its new owner considers an offer by U.S. media mogul Ted Turner to buy into the station.


NTV holds protest rally against takeover
The Times of India on Line, April 8, 2001
MOSCOW: Saying their independent voice was under threat, journalists from Russia's pioneering NTV held a rally under rainy skies on Saturday and urged their supporters to stand fast withthem against a takeover by state-connected gas company Gazprom.


Russian TV takeover sparks protest
CNN World, April 4, 2001

MOSCOW, Russia - Journalists at Russia's only independent television network are protesting against a takeover by the state-run gas giant Gazprom.


Grigory Yavlinsky on the situation at NTV
Radio Liberty, April 14, 2001
The leader of Yabloko Grigory Yavlinsky arrived early in the morning today at Ostankino (Ed. the TV centre) and said that the means chosen by Boris Jordan to resolve the dispute around NTV were "absolutely inadmissible". He also assessed the actions of the new heads of the NTV as a "takeover by force".


TV Station Taken Over. A state-controlled company stopped Russia's only major independent TV station's journalists mid-broadcast

By Peter Baker and Susan B. Glasser

Washington Post Foreign Service, April 14, 2001

"This is an armed seizure," said reformist politician Grigory Yavlinsky, who rushed to Ostankino early this morning. Igor Malashenko, one of the ousted NTV board members, called it a "creeping coup," while human rights activist Sergei Kovalyov said Gazprom's action was nothing less than a revival of Soviet-era repressions.

La nouvelle direction investit NTV

Le Figaro, 14 avril 2001

Ils y ont reçu quelques soutiens, notamment de Grigori Iavlinski, le leader de la droite réformatrice, qui a dénoncé "un coup de force". Le défenseur des droits de l'homme et ex-dissident soviétique, Sergueï Kovalev, a estimé que l'action de la nouvelle direction avait montré que "le KGB était au pouvoir", dans une allusion au président Vladimir Poutine, un ex-agent du KGB, qui est accusé de vouloir museler la presse indépendante. Vladimir Poutine a refusé d'intervenir dans cette affaire qu'il considère comme un conflit commercial. "Cette opération est du même ordre que la tentative de putsch d'août 1991 et elle est effectuée par les mêmes personnes, les membres des services secrets", a accusé Igor Malachenko, un responsable de Media-Most.

Media Takeover. Russia's Independent Network Taken Over by Government

ABCNEWS.com, April 14, 2001

Members of the morning shift at Russia's NTV was turned away from the studio's early this morning, signaling that the Russian government may now in control of the nation's only independent television network.

I Want My NTV. Battle Continues for Russia's Independent Network

ABCNEWS.com, April 13, 2001

The morning shift at Russia's NTV was turned away from the studio's early Saturday morning, signaling that the Russian government is now in control of the nation's only independent television network.

NTV a perdu son independance

TF1, 14 avril 2001

La nouvelle direction de NTV a investi durant la nuit les locaux de la chaine de television russe. Depuis 15 jours, les journalistes refusaient ce changement au nom de l'independance redactionnelle. Ils craignent d'etre museles par le Kremlin, principal actionnaire du geant gazier Gazprom, qui controle desormais la chaine.

Battle for NTV reaches climax

CNN, April 14, 2001

The self-proclaimed new managers of Russia's only nationwide independent television network on Saturday took over NTV, changing the security guards, firing journalists who refused their authority and cutting off the morning news in the midst of the broadcast.

New Managers Take Over Russia's NTV

Associated Press

By Angela Charlton, Associated Press Writer, April 14, 2001

Leading NTV journalists who refuse to recognize the new management took down large pictures of themselves that had hung in the halls and left the building after signing a statement they were leaving the station.

TV Network Resisting Hostile Moves in Russia

By Michael Wines

The New York Times, April 5, 2001

The day after Gazprom said it had gathered the backing of 50.5 percent of NTV's shares and replaced its management, the network's journalists assembled in on-camera defiance. On television screens, the bright red word "protest" was superimposed over the white NTV logo.

State-backed group takes control of Russian TV independent

From Giles Whittell in Moscow

The Times, Wednesday, April 4, 2001

The future of NTV, the only station that regularly criticises Mr Putin, was in grave doubt after a boardroom coup. Yevgeni Kiselyov, the director-general, one of Russia’s best-known television faces, was replaced by Boris Jordan, 33, a millionaire US-born invest- ment banker who lacks any hands-on media experience. Throughout the 1990s NTV, a channel that was built from scratch by Vladimir Gusinsky and a team of journalists, provided Russia’s only television news that was not under close Kremlin scrutiny. Mr Gusinsky is under house arrest in Spain as Moscow attempts to have him extradited on fraud charges.

NTV Managers Ousted in Gazprom Coup

By Andrei Zolotov Jr., Staff Writer

"The Moscow Times", Wednesday, Apr. 4, 2001. Page 1

Yabloko leader Grigory Yavlinsky: "This is a kind of GKChP with the participation of foreign capital. Everything we have heard in the Kremlin today [Putin's address] has neither content nor sense. The real course [of the government] has been demonstrated here with NTV. The power is not interested in having independent mass media in Russia."

Kremlin Moves In on Independent TV

By Peter Baker and Susan B. Glasser

Washington Post Foreign Service, Wednesday, April 4, 2001; Page A01

A state-controlled company took over the NTV network today and installed its own management, signaling an end to the independence of the only major television news outlet outside the Kremlin's orbit.

...Grigory Yavlinsky, leader of the Yabloko party, compared it to the 1991 attempted Communist putsch against Gorbachev, calling the Gazprom action a "coup with the participation of foreign capital."

Speech of Chairman of the Yabloko Association Grigory Yavlinsky at the meeting to protect NTV and the freedom of speech

Moscow, Pushkin Square

March 31, 2001

Reformist politicians, soap-opera stars and even a world champion gymnast joined the rock-concert protest to pressure President Vladimir Putin's government to call off its 10-month financial and legal campaign against NTV, the only real source of television news in Russia not under the Kremlin's control.

"We defended freedom in 1991, and we will do the same thing in 2001," Vladimir Lukin, a member of the State Duma, told the crowd.

Crowd Gathers to Protect Russia's Freedom of Speech

By Peter Baker and Susan B. Glasser

Washington Post Foreign Service, Saturday, March 31, 2001; 12:15 PM

Even so, Putin appears to have public support across Russia to do whatever he wishes with NTV. One recent public opinion survey found 57 percent support the return of censorship in Russia, while a poll last year said 52 percent thought NTV would be better if it were controlled by the government.

And even in the large crowd today, not all the bystanders were supporters. One woman, young son in tow, glared on the side of the square at the protesters. 'It doesn't matter if they shut NTV down,' said the woman, who gave her name only as Larisa. 'There will just be another channel.'

Putin Consolidates Power But Wields It Unsteadily

By Peter Baker and Susan B. Glasser

Washington Post Foreign Service, Monday, March 26, 2001

"The answer is simple: He's in charge," said Grigory Yavlinsky, leader of the reformist Yabloko party. "The people in the Duma are very eager at the moment to vote the way of Putin."

Yavlinsky, possibly the country's most prominent liberal, is an interesting case in point. He forcefully accuses Putin of re-creating a police state, yet he keeps ties with the administration in hopes of influencing decisions. "We have a dialogue with the president and at the same time we are in opposition to creating a cooperative police state," Yavlinsky said.

20,000 Turn Out in Support of NTV

Combined Reports

The Moscow Times, Monday, April 2, 2001, p.3

Liberals see the dispute and legal action against NTV, as a test of Putin's commitment to press freedom and fair reporting of issues like Russia's war against separatist Chechnya.

"We know why they want to destroy NTV. So that we will never know about millions of dollars being taken out of the country or about how a war is being conducted with slogans of fighting terrorism and corruption," Grigory Yavlinsky, leader of the Yabloko party, told the gathering.

Big Rally Defends Russia's Independent NTV Channel

By Ron Popeski

Reuters, Saturday March 31 8:24 AM ET

"We know why they want to destroy NTV. So that we will never know about millions of dollars taken out of the country...about how a war is being conducted with slogans of fighting terrorism and corruption," Grigory Yavlinsky, leader of the Yabloko party, told the gathering.

"We know that this is not about fighting terrorists and corruption but about the fight for press freedom."

Russians Protest for Press Freedom

The Associated Press

Saturday March 31 11:52 AM ET

Thousands of people gathered in a central Moscow square Saturday to voice support for freedom of the press in Russia, especially the embattled private NTV television.

Organizers and police said at least 20,000 people turned out for a combination rock concert and political rally to speak out in favor of press freedoms and to defend NTV, the only major Russian television station outside the control of the Kremlin.

Putin Allies Seem to Gain in Battle Over Critical Press Empire

By Michael Wines

The New York Times, January 27, 2001

Mr. Gusinsky and his allies cast the fight as a clear issue of press freedom, saying the Kremlin is persecuting Media-Most to shut down NTV, the last national voice of dissent with its policies. Mr. Putin, it is true, has a decidedly non-Western view of press freedom: he has said that the real threat to the press comes not from the state but from the tycoon owners, who merely advance their own political cases.

Putin Critic Puts His Media Empire Under Thumb of the Kremlin

By Sabrina Tavernise

The New York Times, November 14, 2000

"This is a very shaky situation for NTV," said Liliya Shevtsova, senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. "It is the crown jewel and we have no guarantee that the current management will hold on to their jobs."

Yabloko e-mail: english@yabloko.ru