Home pageAdvanced searchIndexe-mailAdd to favorites



The Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation The State Duma The Yabloko Faction

Deputies’ Inquiry On the use of the law and enforcement agencies to exert pressure on the mass media

To the Public Prosecutor of the Russian Federation V.V. Ustinov

Respected Vladimir Vasilyevich,

The deputies of the Yabloko faction of the State Duma hereby express their concern over recent information on the acts of force of state representatives against the owners and heads of some private mass media.

For example, on September 7, 2000, B. A. Berezovsky announced that the Administration of the President of the RF had threatened to launch criminal proceedings against him, if he failed to transfer to the state the shares of the Public Russian Television that were in his (Berezovsky’s) ownership.

On September 18, 2000 the owner of the Media-Most holding V.A. Gusinsky announced that the Minister of Publishing, Television and Mass Media M. A. Lesin had forced him to conclude a deal on ceding the shares of the Media-Most holding to the ZAO Gazprom-Media in exchange for an end to his prosecution by the Law and enforcement agencies and the possibility to travel abroad.

The declaration of Gusinsky is confirmed by Appendix No 6 to the agreement of July 20 on the cessation of shares that was published by the “Izvestia” and “Segodnya” newspapers on September 19, which states that the Appendix can only come into force, if the criminal prosecution of Gusinsky is halted and he is granted guarantees on observing his civil rights. The Protocol is signed by the Director General of ZAO Gazprom-Media A. R. Kokh and the Minister of Publishing M.A. Lesin. On September 19 A.R. Kokh made a statement to the effect that he had in fact signed Appendix No 6.

In view of the aforementioned facts the State Duma requests the following: - a verification of the facts stated by B.A. Berezovsky and V.A.Gusinsky, especially the testimonies on the participation of officials in blackmail as a means of signing profitable commercial agreements; - a verification of the authenticity of Appendix No 6 to the agreement on cessation of the shares of the Media-Most holding to the ZAO Gazprom-Media, with special attention paid to the authenticity of the signature of the Minister of Publishing and Information M.A. Lesin; - if these facts are confirmed, to ascertain on whose orders Mikhail Lesin acted, and also take account of the measures adopted by the Public Prosecutor in reaction to individuals who awarded themselves the exclusive proxies of the Office of the Public Prosecutor of the RF to engage in blackmail; - provide information on the measures to be taken to prevent actions of the officials targeted at illegally restricting the rights of citizens and the freedom of the mass media.

Deputies of the Yabloko faction

S.V.Ivanenko S.S. Mitrokhin