Foreign Reporting

The foreign reporting in Russia is mainly covered my major news outlets in different countries throughout Europe and in America. Because Russia is a huge country in Europe, its politics, economy, and social infrastructure sets a tone for the rest of the European countries.

What Papers Regularly Cover Russia?

The main media coverage of Russia comes from the United States, the United Kingdom, Ukraine, and Belarus. Most of the reporting comes from countries that surround Russia while other news papers give it weekly if not daily coverage because of its size and relevance within international affairs.

  • The Guardian– featured in the World European News, a paper based in the United Kingdom
  • The New York Times– featured in the international section of the paper based in New York City, NY, USA
  • The Telegraph– featured in the World News section of the paper based in the United Kingdom
  • Kyiv Post– A Ukrainian daily that features Russian news in its own section (segregated from the World News section)
  • Belarus in Focus– features Russian updates in the international relations section of the paper based in Belarus

Each paper highlights Russian news differently. Most of the newspapers that are mentioned about cover all types of news stories from big to little. This means that there are human interest stories that are covered as well as big political and economical news. All of the papers above cover Russian media daily, besides the Belarus in Focus.

Something I found to be interesting while researching the various foreign news coverage of Russia is that the countries closest to Russia do not seem to have much coverage of the country that has a lot of influence over their country such as Belarus and Kazakhstan. However, I was not surprised to find out that the Ukrainian paper covers Russia like it would its own country.

The main papers I would like to focus on is The Guardian, The New York Times, and the Kyiv Post.

The Guardian

First, lets discuss The Guardian. This newspaper has freelance reporters working in Moscow that report locally for the majority of their stories. Also, they have staff reporters who live in Moscow and work for other editorials as well as staff reporters back in the UK who report remotely. Some stories you can tell are over-the-phone interviews, while others are more raw because they are doing the reporting in Russia themselves. There are very few if any wire stories relating to Russia for The Guardian.

The depth of coverage The Guardian gives Russia is quite extensive. They report on everything from news, politics, economy, to opinion pieces, arts and literature, and even Russia’s connection with other countries. The difference in the story is colored coded by the headline and photo that accompanies the story, so you can tell what type of news you are engaging with.

The Guardian is owned by The Guardian Media Group and its parent company is Scott Trust Limited, according to Google search. The Guardian is one of the largest papers in the UK and is highly respected among Europe. The Guardian expresses interest in Russia because it is one of the largest countries in Europe and it is a very powerful country that requires monitoring and accurate reporting of its endeavors.

The way The Guardian reports sets a standard for smaller papers in the UK as well as other papers in Europe. Some of their papers become wire stories at other news organizations throughout Europe. So, how they report and the bias/influence they bring to their stories highly affect how foreigners view Russia and how Russia’s international presence is recognized across the world. The Guardian is one of the main leaders in Europe to report on Russia and it is one of the most reliable sources in terms of accurate information with a limited bias.

The New York Times

Next, The New York Times (or the NYT as I will abbreviate it.) The NYT has staff reporters in New York that write about Russia, however some journalists do collaborate with other foreign reporters to get the story such as an American-Ukrainian or American-German journalism duo. So, most of the big stories do have a collaborating foreign journalist that helps with the information. This means that the NYT works with freelance journalists and staff reporters at the New York based paper.

Most of the papers that are done based in New York, are paraphrases of what was released from an official or phone interviews of people featured in the story. However, the photos that are used in almost every news story is a wired photo from Reuters or AP. None of the photos that are featured are taken in Russia themselves.

The depth of coverage from the NYT is not as extensive as The Guardian, but it does produce daily news stories about Russia. Most of the coverage is about big news events such as politics, social issues, or the economy that are highlighted in various other newspapers. There are a few exceptions of local stories with the help of freelancers that covers Russia.

The NYT is owned by The New York Times Company and founded by Henry Jarvis and Raymond George Jones. The NYT is a well established American daily that is highly referred to among people around the world. It is known for its in-depth coverage and investigative reporting. Because of its worldwide presence, the NYT strives to cover all important topics around the world. Russia is of interest because of its ties to the US and the highlights of political disdain between the two countries. Also, Russia has a huge stake in Europe in which is of high interest to the US in general.

The coverage of the NYT is very influential because it sets the tone for reporting in the US and guides other big papers in North America. There are other papers in the US region and in Mexico and Canada, but they do not report as much on Russia as the US does, mainly the NYT.

Kyiv Post

Lastly, lets talk about the Kyiv Post. The Kyiv Post is a daily that operates in Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine. The paper has a few freelance reporters but they mainly have staff reporters that publish wire stories from other media organizations. The stories that are published by the staff writers in Kyiv are either reporters from Ukraine themselves or they are former Russian reporters that were seeking more press freedom. The Kyiv Post does not do on-scene reporting from what I can conclude from my research.

Most of the coverage from the Kyiv Post that is featured is wired stories of large news events that cover political, social, and economic issues. But, the interesting part of this paper is that the limited coverage that the staff reporters write on Russia, are mainly local stories and hot topics within the local community in Russia. So, even though there is not a whole lot of Ukrainian coverage on Russia by the paper themselves, they do include something that other papers do not: the local scene.

Even though there is a local feature to the Kyiv Post, most of the reporting is done by the phone, or from knowledge of a source or reporter that has previously lived in Russia. THe Kyiv Post is owned by Mohammad Zahoor who is a British citizen that formerly worked in Donetsk, Ukraine. The paper is operated through Zahoor’s Public Media company. Zahoor took over the paper in 2009 to revive it and give it back its editorial independence, according to Wikipedia (yes, I know Wikipedia but, it is the only source of reference for the history behind the Kyiv Post based on my research.)

This Ukrainian paper has deep-rooted interest in Russia because of the reoccurring conflicts between the two countries and the political turmoil that has occurred with the annexation of Crimea in 2014. There is a long history between Ukraine and Russia, and that history will forever promote the interest each country has with one another.

The difference in coverage from in Ukraine from other countries that surround Russia is that it is more focused and tailored. Most other media organizations that surround Russia mainly post wired stories. I found this to be very interesting because I feel like they would have more to say since they are so close, but that is not what I found to be true. The Kyiv Post has the upper hand when it comes to media relations with Russia.

Weekly Coverage

For my last weekly coverage segment, I wanted to do something a little bit different. So, here is the same story that was in the headlines this week, but it is covered by the three newspapers that I covered above: The Guardian, The New York Times and The Kyiv Post. I think this is important because it shows the different lens and influence each media outlet has on the public.

Nadiya Savchenko

May 27th, 2016: According to The Guardian, a Ukrainian pilot that was just released from Russian prison will try for the Ukrainian presidency if she has a large enough following. Nadiya Savchenko is Ukraine’s first female military pilot. Savchenko was freed from prison in Russia where she was held captive as a war prisoner and was pardoned by Vladimir Putin. During her time in captivity, she was elected into the parliament of the Council of Europe. Savchenko was also charged with the murders of two Russian journalists. Despite her charges, Ukrainians believe her to be a hero.

I think the way they covered this issue was interesting because they focused on words of her saying that she wanted to be the next president of Ukraine, without giving details of the full reasons she was behind bars and held captive. I would have liked to know more about the background story but I did find this to be an interesting take on the story.

May 25th, 2016: According to The New York Times, the Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko is a high-profile Russian war prisoner that was released after two years in custody. Russia exchanged Savchenko for two Russian military intelligence soldiers. Russia refuses to acknowledge that they played a role in any war and that Savchenko was arrested on charges of murdering two Russian journalists. Vladimir Putin pardoned Savchenko because of a request from the journalists families.

The NYT went on to describe Savchenko’s demeanor and her attire. They also began to glorify her and make her a symbol of a Ukrainian struggle that is starting to be overcome. I think it was interesting because this piece talked about how she was a celebrity and hero figure that was played out to be a criminal. They talked more about the behind the scene story which is something I liked compared to The Guardian post.

March 22nd, 2016: The Kyiv Post reported on Lt. Savchenko on trial in Russia being convicted of complicity in murder. The article reported in a similar style to the NYT but it played on the fact that there was so much confusion and that Savchenko was in farce. The Kyiv Post also talked about her 22 or 23 year sentence that a lot of people were outraged by.

This article is different from the others because it played to a side that Savchenko was an innocent person who was illegally detained and that Russia was trying to find someone to blame for the murders. This article downplayed any actual role Savchenko had in this issue and was more geared toward Russia being the “bully.” I did think it was very interesting in the direction this article took.

Each article about this Ukrainian pilot is conveyed in a different way: the next president, the hero, and the wrongly convicted. This story that was covered by different foreign correspondents shows the vast difference in what the world views and perceives about Russia.

Being Gay in Russia: What does it mean?

A new wave of questioning has been brought up in the past few years in Russia regarding Anti-gay laws that were introduced by President Vladimir Putin in 2013.

What is the Original Law?

In the Russian Federation Constitution, Chapter 2 Article 19 states “The State shall guarantee the equality of rights and freedoms of man and citizen, regardless of sex, race, nationality, language, origin…” meaning that everyone should have the same rights under the Russian Federation law. But, we know in recent years that is not the case. Article 19 then proceeds to state, “All forms of limitations of human rights on social, racial, national, linguistic, or religious grounds shall be banned.”

In recent years, the laws Vladimir Putin brought in directly conflict with what the constitution outlines for the freedoms of Russian citizens. This has led to a huge issue of not only where should Russians citizens stand on the topic, but also how does the LGBT community express themselves within Russia.

What is the New Law?

 

 

Image Courtesy of The Moscow Times

Putin introduced a new law that outlaws propaganda and teaching nontraditional forms of sexual relations to minors. Basically, this law makes it so Russians cannot teach or inform their children about the possibilities of being LGBT, or give them access to any resources if they felt they were apart of that community.

 

According to PolicyMic, the ban has directly violated the citizens constitutional rights and has extended to Russians getting heavy fines for gay pride parades and forming gay rights groups. Also, they reported that attacks against gays or “suspect gays” are becoming very commonplace in Russia.

So, not only is it becoming extremely difficult to be a member of the LGBT community in Russia because of the new law, but there is also a new wave of social criticism for being in that community. A lot of Russians view being gay as something that is wrong and should not happen. As we see in the United States, this is the complete opposite view.

Image Courtesy of The Moscow Times

In 2015, The Moscow Times reported that Russians views towards gays was significantly worse than a decade ago. The percent of Russians who are against same-sex marriages was 80% in 2015 compared to 59% in 2005.

The poll conducted in The Moscow Times article also revealed that 20% of Russians think that gay people are dangerous and should be “isolated from society.”

That is a huge percentage of the Russian population that have very strong negative views towards the LGBT community. This is something that the new law has expedited in the minds of Russian citizens. Putin set an example for the Russian people by outlawing gay marriages and propaganda towards resources about the LGBT community.

Even Russians that have no views towards people’s sexual preferences, still admitted that they would not socialize with gays. The poll also showed that there was a 1% decrease in the percentage of people who think being gay is a medical or social disease from 36% in 2004 to 35% in 2015.

There is not much positive change for the LGBT community in Russia. Not only was there a strong stigma before the introduction of Putin’s new law in 2013, but that stigma has increased since the law was approved and has spread to negative social implications of Russian life as well.

The Media in Relation to LGBT Rights

 

Activists say that Russia’s gay propaganda law has set the community back to the times of Ancient Rome
Image Courtesy of The Guardian

Based on my research of LGBT topics in Russia, the media mainly does not cover this topic unless it can be somewhat linked to a crime or if laws were changed (such as when Putin changed the law in 2013.)

The general media coverage of the gay community is explaining situations that involve their community and those who give their opinions about the community. No media organizations talk about the resources available for the gay community. Also, they do not interview or get the perspective point of view of any LGBT person. I believe this to be for two reasons: 1) The LGBT person identified would be at risk for harm by other Russian citizens because of their disapproval and potentially at financial risk from the government or even incarceration and 2) the media organization can also face hefty fines and criminal charges for allowing the dissemination of information about the LGBT community because minors have the potential of consuming that media organization.

So, there is a lot at risk for the organizations that do chose to cover this information. There is also a split between what organizations are willing to cover it. For example, The Moscow Times is an independent organization from the influence of the Kremlin, so they are more willing to write articles about this subject. The state-owned organizations eliminate this information all together unless it is about a change in the law, then they will report the facts.

Even though more independent organizations report on this topic, it is mainly a sum of events. There is no personal interjection from any LGBT member in any article. Most media organizations stray away from that not only because of the potential danger associated with it, but also because there is a huge negative stigma that overshadows the gay community.

Why is This Important?

Featured Story

Dmitry Tsilikin | Image Courtesy of The Moscow Times

April 14th, 2016: The Moscow Times reported on a local famous theater critic. This was not any normal story because this renown critic and highly respected in Russia was murdered. Dmitry Tsilikin was known for always being on time and very well-connected, so when he missed his deadlines and would not answer his phone people knew something was wrong. Tsilikin had stated that if he ever missed a deadline it would probably be because he was dead. Tsilikin was found murdered in his apartment and the cause of death was multiple stab wounds. The Moscow Times made a connection that this happened most likely because he was gay.

Tsilikin kept his private life very private, so it was a shock to most when they found out the news. Investigators did find a 21-year old university student to be at fault. The young student had been in contact with Tsilikin from an online chat room.

This story is featured because it is really important in regards to the events that have been happening in Russia. Putin’s new law was passed in 2013, and now three years later we see the stigma in Russia still runs very deep.

Tsilikin was a respected figure in the media circuit in Russia. The death was meant to be a statement to the LGBT community and the murderer stated that he was a “cleaner” by killing Tsilikin.

If the felon is convicted, it is very likely that the killing will not be ruled a homophobic killing. This goes to show that even in a brutal homicide case of a well-known figure, the stigma of gay people is so strong that Tsilikin’s case will not be brought to full justice.

Weekly Coverage

Eurovision 2014 | Image Courtesy of The Moscow Times

May 13th, 2016: Eurovision, Europe’s infamous singing competition, had a cross-dressed winner from Austria in 2014. According to The Moscow Times, Eurovision had a huge gay audience that expressed disapproval and booed the Russian contestant at the competition. However, the new Russian candidate for presidency Sergei Lazarev, had mad notions that he does support the gay movement. So, in upcoming years if Russia elects Lazarev, Russians can expect some sort of change on the LGBT community front.

I think The Moscow Times did a good job of explaining the past Eurovision competitions and why it was important for the gay community. Also, it did shed light on LGBT issues on which prompted a better response from on of the Russian candidates. They explained the problem without taking a side– which they should have had the 2014 winner interviewed, but that would most likely never happen.

April 20th, 2016: According to The Guardian, there is one gay nightclub left standing in Samara which is one of Russia’s most homophobic cities. This club has very high security, and there is no telltale signs that a nightclub exists at that venue– no groups of smokers, no audible music from outside, or spotlights coming from the club. This long-time homophobic area is known for its criminal injustice in gay crimes. For this reason, the club is half empty on Saturday nights and the same people go every time. The article further goes into how Russian citizens are feeling like they are second-class citizens for being gay.

I liked this article a lot because it informed the readers on the nightlife of the LGBT community in Russia and it also gave some personal views from citizens in the gay community. The Guardian did not stray away from opposing viewpoints and really captured the feeling and the disrespect that gay Russian citizens feel on a daily basis.

 

Press Restrictions

 

Quick Facts According to the Freedom House on Russia in 2016:

  • Russia is NOT FREE in terms of press freedom
  • They have an 83/100 on their press freedom score (100 being the worst)
  • Russia is scored at a 34/40 in having a bad political environment
  • They got a 25/30 on their current legal environment (30 being the worst)
  • On their economic environment, Russia got a bad score of 24/30

 

First Amendment-Like Laws?

Russian Federation Constitution 

Under the Russian Federation’s constitution, Russians have freedom of speech and expression. Also, the mass media has complete freedom and censorship is forbidden under Article 29 in Section 1 Chapter 2 of the constitution.

Let that sink in.

After the statistics above of how NOT FREE Russia is, you can see that their constitution outlines the exact opposite. So, why is Russia really not free? That has everything to do with the current president in power, Vladimir Putin.

 

Censorship

Russian media does practice a high level of censorship. Most of what the media portrays is based on official statements by Vladimir Putin. Putin has the power to hire and fire specific positions within large media organizations. According to the HuffPost, Putin appoints editors and directors either officially or unofficially. Also, the editor-in-chief of Russia’s major independent radio station, Echo Moskvy, can only be fired by Putin himself.

The HuffPost goes on to report that top Russian media outlets have weekly meetings with the presidential administration to go over what news should be covered and how they want to cover it (well the news they can control such as politics and government business.)

But, most reporters were not fighting for the freedom of speech they once had at the end of the Soviet era. Reporters used to be able to write and say things critically about the Kremlin before Putin came to power. It became something of the “new normal.” Not all reporters have the same values, but the majority of reporters go along with the censorship because they were bought by big companies or take the risk of losing their job by not obeying the general “censorship laws.”

So, with so many media outlets obeying Putin’s press standards, it is no wonder that Russian citizens believe everything they see or hear from the media. No, not all organizations have the people’s trust, but they are still subject to what is reported because that is the only “truth” they hear.

 

Pressures for Journalists

Most Russian journalists face political pressure when reporting. A lot of restrictions are imposed on journalists which hinders their ability to be transparent.

A new law introduced in 2015 outlawed media outlets from reporting or reproducing material from “undesired” foreign organizations that pose a threat to national security or engage in various forms of activism according to The Moscow Times.

This law did not specify the repercussions for violating its terms nor did it outline or give an example of what an “undesirable” foreign organization is. This puts all Russian journalists at risk. With no indication of the perimeters of the law, they have to self-censor all of the materials they cover. This stands for journalists who work independently, for a state-owned organization, or for a business/independent-owned organization.

However, if individuals breech this law, the first penalty is around a $300 fine while the second penalty is up to six years in prison. So, media outlets are allowed to say that these organizations exist, but they cannot provide any content or material surrounding the organization. This puts up each journalist for their own censorship to evade the vague repercussions of this law.

Another form of government and political restriction was introduced in 2014 where bloggers are now held to the same standards as the mass media outlets. Before 2014, bloggers could say what they wanted with no limitations or censorship. When Putin got reelected in 2012, he reformed the internet laws so that bloggers are now condemned to the same rules as professional journalists according to the International Business Times.

The crackdown on the internet has only progressed since the introduction of the law in 2014. Putin has no problem penalizing those who break the law, blacklisting them from the internet, or taking down an internet organization all together.

 

How Do Journalists Still Operate Despite the Restrictions?

Most journalists operate very discretely due to the nature of their government and the restrictions on their practices. Those Russian Journalists who are more liberal and want the ability to criticize the government or other media practices, go on to independent news outlets or become freelance journalists.

However, even though those Russian journalists want to be fully transparent, they are at higher risks of personal danger when doing so. Because of fear of repercussions and straying from societal norms, most journalists have turned to taking the censorship with a grain of salt.

Russian journalists see censorship as a damaging media practice, but they do not want to lose their jobs or risk harming their reputation over a statement or an article. A lot of what journalists focus on is what they can control such as local news stories, business facts, or human interest pieces. In regards to the government, they do not criticize the Kremlin, but just present facts which is the main way that they get around to informing the public without impairing their reputation or facing repercussions.

 

Conclusions on Press Freedom

There will be no way around the restrictions that are condemned on Russian journalists while Putin is in power. There may be a slight chance for change in media if there was another president in power, in which they would have the option to relinquish freedom of the press as it once was at the end of the Soviet era before Putin’s reign.

Journalists in Russia either deal with the censorship laws and the risk of criminal charges, or they turn to go report elsewhere. Most journalists that do report elsewhere mainly go to Ukraine from the research I have done. But, there is no way that media organizations can be transparent or even trusted when the government has control over almost every media entity.

 

Weekly Coverage

RBC Newspaper | Image Courtesy of The Moscow Times

May 13th, 2016: According to The Moscow Times, three top managers leave Russia’s leading independent news organization, RBC. Some believe that the reason for the top managers leaving was due to pressures from the authorities and the pushing of censorship from the company’s owner. After the editor-in-chief of the paper was fired by the owner of the company, and then RBC’s other top executives resigned. This came about after a series of raids at the paper due to the governments dislike of reports on the Panama Papers. This brought out numerous investigations by the government and led to 13 more employees to hand in their resignation at the paper.

I believe that The Moscow Times did an adequate job of explaining the issue and the facts behind the problem. They did not criticize any entity in doing so, and they also informed readers with the most relevant information. This applies directly to freedom of press because it shows real repercussions of the governments dislike of newspapers and reports that are not favorable. This allows for people’s jobs and lives to come into question.

Jamala with bunches flowers
The Winner Jamala | Image Courtesy of The Guardian

May 15th, 2016: The Eurovision singing competition that is taken very seriously in Europe has led central Moscow to express anger and dismissal according to The Guardian. This famous singing competition was just won by a Crimean Tatar native that is living in Ukraine. The singer Jamala was representing Ukraine and sang “1944” that had lyrics regarding the deportation of Ukrainians and focused on the new issues of Crimea from 2014 between Ukraine and Russia. The Russian contestant was placed third in the competition. Russia has threatened to boycott next years competition.

 

The coverage by The Guardian of this topic was fair in revealing both sides of the issue, (meaning the Ukrainian and Russian side.) Moscow was angered because of the political stance that Jamala’s song carried and how it portrayed Russia as “evil.” I think that they did a good job of explaining the contest and the political turmoil behind it. The most interesting part of this story was that it was not heavily covered by Russian media. Although many Russians are aware of the song and the outcome of the contest, Russian media outlets failed to report that much or anything on it. This further demonstrates how Russian media is censored because the government will not allow its own media to put the country in an unfavorable light.

 

What’s the Harm?

Russia is among the top five deadliest places to report news in the world.

Why is that? History of Conflict

The limited press freedom that journalists face is very well maintained throughout the country and has been for hundreds of years. The government views local journalists that continuously criticize and speak out against the Kremlin as threats. So, government officials take action.

According to the CPJ, 36 journalists have been murdered in Russia since 1992. Most of the journalists that were murdered were print reporters or editors. Every single murder investigation and case of journalists, there has been no accused killer or named assassin. Every single case has been unsolved in terms of who is responsible.

All of the reporters that were murdered were native to Russia. The beats that they were covering mostly consisted of corruption, crime, and politics.

A reported 89% of these journalists had complete impunity. The highest percentage of assassins behind these murders is given to government officials followed by gangs.

Why are they unsolved?

Most investigators are afraid of repercussions from the government if they carry out their normal duties according to The Guardian. The police have the will to fully process each murder, but most murders took place in small towns so higher positions of authority “stop justice in its tracks.”

“To be a journalist in Russia is suicide. It is suicide if you talk about the truth.”

-Vladimir Yurov, The Guardian.

The Russian government maintains this integrity because there is still numerous attacks on journalist every year and for every attack there are hundreds of threats.

Journalists who work at independent news agencies are more vulnerable to attacks and threats then those who work for state owned media. The suspicion and violence that the government releases on its reporters has become they new standard of society in Russia.

Why are the Independent Media Still Around?

The main reason that Russia keeps their independent news outlets is because of pressure from the West. Most politicians in Russia have real estate or ties to other countries in various forms and dissolving independent media within their country would cause huge issues with the West, according to The Guardian.

Foreign Journalists in Russia

Most reporters coming into Russia are not in that much danger when working in Russia. Foreign journalists do not know the full extent of the underlying issues and risks that local journalists do in Russia.

Foreigners only capture the glimpse of what is really going on within the country. So, they do not pose a threat to the government and as a result they are safer than the native journalists.

However, even though foreign journalists are not in any physical danger, they are very limited in the amount of information that they receive. The most difficult city to report in is Moscow, because it is the central hub of Russia and where the Kremlin resides.

According to Business Ukraine, there Russians that are willing to go to Ukraine to carry out murders of Ukrainian reporters. However, this is not as likely because the majority of foreign reporters that work in Moscow mostly come out with biased or misleading information rather than being in any true danger.

Mapping The Risk

Screenshot (90)

Above are a few of the recent threats and detained journalists in Russia. Although there are no current maps of areas where journalists have been murdered, detained, or threatened, most of them happen in small town areas away from big crowds.

The Kremlin knows that they would draw too much attention and create panic if they were to assassinate journalists in high traffic areas. But, that does not mean they have completely strayed away from that. No matter where the journalist is murdered, the investigation will not come to fruition because of the pressure from higher authority in the justice system.

My Profile

I am a Caucasian woman from the United States. I would face limited information in terms of facts and sources if I were to report in Russia. I would possibly receive threats from the government if I wrote an opposition piece but the level of physical danger would be very low. I would have a hard time getting to know locals in Russia and I would get a very biased and one-sided view of the country and the current issues within the country.

Any piece I would write would most likely get trolled by paid government supporters advocating for Putin.

Since I am a Catholic, I would not necessarily face any issues in terms of religion. The difference in religion within Russia is not something of danger or high concern.

I am a straight woman, so I would have no target on my back in terms of sexual orientation. If I had not been straight, I would face a high level of ridicule and danger as being homosexual is a crime and most Russians feel very strongly about gay laws.

As for weather, I would not face high exposure but I would have to be aware of the colder climates that are prevalent in Russia.

For the most part, it is safe for me to report in Russia and I would not have that many issues reporting. However, I would get skewed information about Russia from various sources. The only way I believe I could get a true sense of Russia is if I lived there for a few years and did some reporting after I lived like a local for some time.

I would have to adjust to the lack of press freedom and speech freedom. I would have to be more careful about what I say, who I say it to, and where I say it. I would have to tone down my level of freedom and become more restricted and oppressed if I wanted to report in Russia or have any influential say in the current issues.

Current Threat Level

Based on my research, the same level of threat of journalists in Russia remains to be very high and very deadly. There is no indication that Russia will ease up on their restrictions any time soon.

The majority of those being killed are men, so women are among those who are safer when it comes to targeted journalists. But, depending on the level of influence for a given reporter, they are at risk of danger.

There is no real bias when it comes to those reporters in danger. The basis for threats and attacks are more geared towards their work and what they publish that seems like a threat to the Kremlin.

This Weeks Coverage

donald trump
Image Courtesy of The Guardian

April 28th, 2016: According to The Guardian, Vladimir Putin and the Russian Federation fully support and are reacting positively to Donald Trump becoming the next possible US President.Russia has stated that they are accepting of Trump’s foreign policy ideas. Also, Russia praises Trump for his willingness to negotiate and not be in conflict with the Kremlin as the current US administration is now. The Guardian did a good job of displaying all of the facts in how Russia is responding to Trump’s allegations and their views on him and the future. This article also talked about other countries and their views of Trump that was all negative besides Russia. I think this article is very interesting in how world leaders view the US’s presidential race.

Image Courtesy of The Moscow Times

May 2nd, 2016: The Moscow Times reports on Vladimir Putin signing a new law that allows foreign refugees to become a Russian citizen faster. The government formerly had foreign refugees wait for a year to become a citizen while the necessary steps were taken to provide them with citizenship. Now, they are able to be given permits to where they can get housing before becoming locals in Russia. This was mostly geared toward Ukrainian refugees. Refugees can voluntary participate in the resettlement program before having Russian residency. The Times gave out all the necessary information needed for the reader to understand that their are new laws in place and the extent of what the law now is without giving out too much information and boring the readers.