In Ekaterinburg for the weekend came the chief editor of “echo of Moscow” Alexei Venediktov, and Znak.com don’t miss the opportunity to discuss with him the latest news from the investigation into the death of Michael Lesina to attack Alexei Gromov, Dmitry Peskov
On the death of Mikhail Lesin
— You have to start with a question about Mikhail Lesina. You knew, he was in many ways your opponent, and that the new data Buzzfeed: Lesin was killed. Can you believe this?
— Faith needs no proof: you can believe that the earth is flat. For me from the very beginning it was obvious that the death of Yassin was violent. An incident. Mr. Lesin was our main witness in the so-called “Sixth Protocol” about the seizure of NTV and, therefore, we lost the witness. If you’d ever held a hearing on the matter, that Lesin would be the main witness: the Minister, signatory requirement. We therefore closely followed the investigation by the Washington police.
When Lesin was killed, the first thing I noticed — the investigation was headed by the chief homicide detective of the Washington police. If it’s a heart attack, we were told the Kremlin, and as we were told Margo Simonyan, speaking on behalf of the family, and here homicide and his boss?
Then we found out that officially joined the FBI. We understand that there is something we don’t know some secret investigation. Then we received information that Yassin at the time of death had a lot of injuries. He actually died in the room, video is shows.
Mentioned, by the way, that video in the hotel there, but I was in Washington and went to the hotel, there on the floor facing the camera. They are old, are there for a long time.
That is, there was something muddy. Then the Prosecutor’s office of Washington suddenly closes the case, declaring the accident, but confirmed information about the numerous injuries and bruises. And then — here is a Buzzfeed investigation, which stated that he on the following day, Lesin could meet with officials from the Ministry of justice, and that the autopsy revealed that he had broken ribs. Such injuries obviously you can get in the fight.
We still have two versions. One is that he got into a fight with someone on the street. He really took a lot of alcohol in his blood, found a lot of ethanol — it’s official. He’d been drinking. Maybe he got into a fight, he was beaten half to death, he got to the room and died. Or is it deliberate murder of Mikhail Lesin. To give some answer I can’t right now, but after yesterday’s publication Buzzfeed I gave the command to all our to use all the opportunities in Washington to get in touch with all the people who might know something. We will return to this issue. We lost a witness, I lost my opponent and friend in business. Now I have to do this from the start.
— Who would benefit from the death?
— I don’t know who it was profitable. Mikhail Lesin was a man very uncomfortable in communication, extremely sharp. Someone wrote: he quarreled with Venediktov, fired him for it, and he died. And we can say that his death was beneficial to me, although no benefit was not. On the contrary, I repeat, we lost the witness.
The Russian government would benefit from the death?
— It is necessary to understand what he was trading with the us government. If he traded some information? He was also a personal story: at this point, he was going to get a divorce. Was the girl Vika, who bore him a child — just a few months. He loved the girl, and a baby, and talked about it. A divorce is the question of ownership. He had many different complex relationships. Who benefits? All profitable all profitable.
I don’t like guessing, I am a person boring — facts.
Why was he buried in the US?
All his family lived in the United States. Wife Valentine lived in the United States, the children of Anton and Catherine, lived in USA, grandchildren in the United States. He already lived in the United States, he left Russia, you need to understand it.
— There are conspiracy theories that the killing in fact was not, and that all the witness protection program.
I don’t believe in it. And that Lessin is a woman, I do not believe, although there are such conspiracy theories.
Speaking of conspiracy theories and versions. This whole discussion around Lesina in the last days to develop in a Telegram, where you not so long ago, you could say broke…
— …climb all over elbows.
Yes. Tell us what feeling you have of this medium.
— I still do not understand. I have a Twitter 830 thousand followers. Even if half of them are bots, well, 400 thousand. And Telegram channel I have 22 thousand subscribers. But you have to understand the quality of this audience. Because my tweets are almost never quoted, and Telegram cited. That is, the Telegram to channel more attention.
I didn’t really understand why I need it. To manipulate any part of the audience? There is an important element: you don’t hate the answers, nobody answers. Written and forgotten. Then look — three thousand read, five, seven, thirty-one. I have a high readability index: 22 thousand subscribers, and was not, perhaps, any messages that score less than 22 thousand views.
Somewhere I came across on eyes: here were some strange anonymous Telegram-channels, and now came the question with real insiders, and immediately took a place in the top.
— Yes, but why would I do that? I can say this on the radio, you can write in Twitter or in Instagram. I have a lot of possibilities, and why I started… or rather, I brought my assistant with me just made. In his time in Instagram and Twitter I was sent Lesya Ryabtseva, a Telegram sent me Kobzeva, Katya. I don’t understand very well Telegram-channels, but I’m going to continue and see how it will develop.
— There is another Telegram-channels that you trust?
— I don’t trust anybody. I have my own knowledge and understanding, and often they come in conflict with other sources. And I signed up for Nisihara, “Davydov.Index” — I use them to check and recheck yourself. I consider these people as their partners, which correct my view of events. I take their argument, and check it. Sometimes they are right, sometimes I’m right, but it is a useful “chat” (albeit parallel, we parallel exists — just reading to each other).
— Do you have the feeling that Telegram like he shuffled the authorities? Experts second tier or even anonymous authors suddenly become very popular, and, it would seem, recognized by experts as something not found myself in this environment.
You correctly said about the environment. If earlier we lived in the water and walked on the earth, now we rose into the air. Different environment. Need to grow wings and move differently. There is a different behavior, and other leaders. In the air importantly, who flies faster and higher, and in the water who swims faster and deeper. It “medium plus” is the addition and not a substitution for me. I’m not refusing anything, I just add a new environment to grow their gills and light wings.
About the new strategy of “echo of Moscow”
— “Echo” those wings also grows?
— Grows. A month ago I made the decision on creation of the third edition edition of social networks. I have it apart there is a version of the radio (and I editor in chief), the editors of the site (where the editor — my Deputy Vitaly Xena), and now I’m a young Alexei Solomin appointed editor-in-chief of the editorial Board of social networks. I understand that there needs to be other people with a different understanding, other skills, with “wings”. And Solomin is now gaining people.
— How will be arranged this version?
I do not know. The case of Alex, he offer me a regular schedule. I acceptyou or not acceptyou. Most importantly, I convinced myself that we need a separate edition.
— What are the challenges you placed before it?
— The problem I have always arithmetic: in Twitter we have 1.3 million followers — should be 2 million In YouTube was 41 thousand subscribers, now 58 — must be 100. How this is done? You must do it better than others. You can’t catch up with the conventional Bulk, Duda or Kamikaze, but you have to narrow the gap, to get people interested in your product.
I’m ready for this to give the basis: we both studios bought the equipment to broadcast on YouTube. In the first Studio I bought the equipment for their personal money: the budget funds are not there, I took out from his pocket and said: buy a camera stand, light. And when all of this began to increase, our shareholders said: Oh, let’s second Studio put we monetize.
Now we started to broadcast live but we still have to decide which of them are interesting people in the video. Sometimes it is so that the program on the radio is good and the video is not. Or, conversely, on her radio low rating, but in the video it starts growing with terrible force.
— You said that Kamikaze and Dude not catch up. Why? What is it they have no journalists of “Echo”?
— First of all, they come in early and established rules of the game. We are forced to adapt to their rules. This is the only rule in this field. We act as a follower, and in this role no one will ever catch up — I’m sure of it. We need to come up with their own content, which is not Dude and the Kamikaze. Do not approach them on their meadow, and to create their own meadow. But first you need to climb, to cling to the leg for the height — and wave it, wave it, wave it — and there, we may change the design of the wing and will fly differently.
— Recently your colleague Alexander Plyuschev discussed the changing role of journalists: do we need them all, if every politician can now be put in front of a camera and broadcast myself on YouTube.
— It was a polemic ivy with Alexei Navalny. The position of the Bulk was that it is possible to put the camera and speak into it, and ivy answered: you could, but then you will be able to select issues that you like, and nobody can catch you in lies and ignorance.
Both true. I have to “echo” for a long time was the transmission, where the journalist was sitting alone and answered questions (this Parkhomenko, Latynina, it kicked me Weller). It’s one thing. And there is a “dissenting opinion”, where sits the journalist and interviews. Or the program “A-Team” where one guest and four journalists who spread it… It’s just different formats. Yes, you can sit alone and talk, but then no one will catch you on inaccuracies, will not ask where you got it from.
And audience this catch inaccuracies need? Maybe she’s glad to see Navalny in front of the camera, and doesn’t want someone on something caught.
— The audience is different. She not only needed, say, cabbage. Need cabbage, and carrots, fish and meat, and salt and pepper. Somewhere she just wants potatoes, and some salad. Do not feed the audience one: we see how fast it is annoying. Although if it’s talent as Parkhomenko, Latynina or Bulk — it can stay long enough. But if you want to expand your audience, you will have to go to other formats. You can do a restaurant on one dish, but its audience once it is selected.
About insides and officials
— You are renowned for good insides. Obviously, this presupposes good relations with media insiders — the officials, the press secretaries. You are often accused of overly close relations with them, in the lack of opposition.
— And how you can get inside, having no close relations, physically? This does not mean that I sleep with Timakova (God forbid), but when we sit and drink together, of course, I got inside. But I am not for myself it is mined. I know all that. I put the product. Can we say that the intermediary (I) close relationship with suppliers? Yes, but how else to get the goods and resell or give it to others?
If we are talking about a personal relationship, it is very important not to hide them. Here I’m friends with Yevgeny Roizman. I’m not hiding. I came to visit Yevgeny Roizman for one day.
— Will this affect your attitude to Roizman as a journalist?
— Of course, it will, but except me “echo” 89 of the journalists, which is not affected, but rather, it irritates them.
And if someone decides tomorrow to criticize Roizman?
I sit here with you and now they criticize him, but what can I do? It’s live. On the contrary, all “echo” well you know about my personal friendships with Dmitry Peskov. But the fact that the Sands listens to the radio “Echo” of the journalists of “Echo”, I don’t think he even listens to the Bulk. There are no restrictions.
Speaking Peskov. Recently was the story of the “First channel” about the presence of (supposedly) the “Echo” of foreign funding, which you interpreted as an attack on Gromov Alexey Peskov. Continued if this story? What is it about?
— The story is not continued, they stopped. Elite very nervous. It is obvious that if the President exhibited and will go to the polls, there will be significant change teams. If you look at whom the President nominates governors (Ekaterinburg exception here), it’s forty people who did business in the nineties and was on state service in the 2000s. We see Andrei Nikitin in Novgorod, Maxim Reshetnikov in Perm, a 32-year-old boy in Kaliningrad, the guy in Blagoveshchensk. We see the economy Minister. It’s a different generation, the old go. And everyone knows that if Putin is pushed, it will change your team. Including, can be the Prime Minister. Therefore, all nervous and try to show the President their relevance, uniqueness and at the same time the ineptitude of their colleagues. This is a common story.
About Putin’s successor
— When we talked to you last time, in November 2015, the year you said that Medvedev, in your opinion, remains Putin’s successor. Now this status it preserved? Or after investigations of the Bulk he ceased to be a contender for the presidency?
— I thought he was in first place among the successors. Now he’s gone. But it seems to me that the film and Bulk reaction (or no reaction) of the Prime Minister on it has crippled the chances of Medvedev. But he remains in pursuit, of course.
— Then who took first place?
— I think that would be someone like Denis Manturov. Like Max Reshetnikov, Andrei Nikitin. A technocrat without a team, without ideology.
The Conditional Denis Manturov? Not a specific Minister, and any of the technocrats?
— Of course.
— How do you feel about the investigative activities of the Bulk? Although this investigation was outstanding, sounded inevitable accusations: Medvedev somebody “ordered”.
— I relate to this a Bulk of activities very positively. Even if this investigative activity is not a chemically pure element, it raises the questions that no one else raises. Therefore, all the Bulk of the investigation, even with the holes where it was obvious that something far-fetched, we publish on our website.
But then looking for the holes. So it was with Shuvalov.
— We are not looking for them. You can see them. Navalny has the right to know about relationships in the elite. Navalny is a politician, he has the right a little bit to rearrange accents (as was done recently when it came to the budget places in universities). But Shuvalov that just couldn’t be. An official of such rank can’t hide from the President and Prime Minister. According to the investigation, Navalny, Shuvalov lied to the Prime Minister and the President that he has planes, and he flies on business trips — using FSO and government airfields. But it can’t be, because he would have immediately departed. And I said this can’t be. I had to get into that hole and see what kind of plane.
And you were criticized for it, many will think you are a media lawyer Shuvalov.
— What to do? I have often been criticized.
— There are two paradigms: conventional and conventionally Putin navalnovskie. These are two views on what is happening in Russia. What do you prefer? Any politician that creates the myth. A myth created by Navalny, says roughly the following: in the government are crooks and they steal.
And Navalny, and Putin’s policy. Here pay attention to the story of the budget places, which began with a question to the President at Sirius. The girl said that the number of seats is reduced, and Putin said that no, the number is growing. Navalny says Putin is lying. It takes the period 2000-2017 and shows that 9.7% number has decreased. And I can say that in the last four years the number of these places increased. And the figures I took from the blog of Navalny, he knows them. 2014 — 485 thousand, 2015 — 521 thousand, 2016 — 529 thousand, and in 2017 is scheduled 530.
That is, Navalny did not lie, and Putin did not lie. This is the policy. Every wince. Navalny was taken for 17 years, and Putin — for the last four years. Who lied? No one lied.
Policy, unlike the journalist, have the right to distort. I take this philosophically.
The paralysis of institutions
— You say: “if Putin will be nominated…”. That is, according to you, there’s still a chance that he decides not to run?
— I work with facts. Solution yet.
— What could hinder this decision?
— Only what is in Putin’s head. I don’t understand how Putin sees the situation today, how he sees the future. It is not an institution. It is in the mind of one person. Institution can be calculated, and the thoughts of the person it is impossible to calculate. But 97% Putin will run. However, there remain 3%, when suddenly something happens in his head?
Whether that happens in the country depends on what is going on in the mind of Putin?
In my opinion, institutions are paralyzed, they have changed their role and became appendages to the conductors of the will of the President. The last two stories — with the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Russian Orthodox Church. In fact, and in another case we came back during the reign of Peter I. Russian Academy of Sciences and of the Russian Orthodox Church in fact became branches of the presidential administration. As the President will say, so be it. I would not be surprised if soon the Patriarch will be appointed with the consent of the President. And why not, what prevents you believe it?
— There is a chance for these and other decorative institutions to become real?
Of course, when to change the power structure, when there will be another President. This can happen even within the framework of this Constitution and these laws. Power is exercised by people sitting in different places. If people resist presidential power (we see this happening in the USA: Congress, Supreme court), is one thing. If they obediently stamp the decisions of the President, is another.
You said “even in the framework of this Constitution.” You are a supporter of constitutional reform?
I’d prefer not to touch anything. Maybe return of the presidential terms, watch, clean. But the Constitution is good.
On the nomination of the Bulk
— If, however, Putin will not go to the polls, his successor is guaranteed a victory?
— To date, Yes. Too little time to the opposing Putin’s successor (whoever he was) was able to appear.
— Political conditions can affect Putin’s decision on the nomination?
— Absolutely not. This is only his personal decision, even the decision of his team. Including the decision for his safety and the safety of his family.
— I think the Bulk will have the opportunity to be nominated?
— I think not. I’d be extremely surprised if that happens.
— And it would be better for the country?
— The country is always better than the competition. Now bulk — only software alternative to Putin. Of course, it would be good to insert the thermometer and measure the temperature, as was done in 2013 in Moscow. What happened in Moscow in 2013, has proved to be a boon for the city because the mayor was forced to consider that he was voted only 51% for his competitor 27%. He was compelled to hear observations, it is useful. And it would be useful now.
And it somehow influenced Sobyanin, do you think?
— He turned his face to the creative class, who voted for Navalny.
— Nevertheless — happened twice.
— The story of the renovation of the complex. The idea is that it is absolutely wonderful, it just became ugly to sell. We had a different way to organize it all, to explain to people. In my opinion, Sobyanin’s team reacted to this as an urban problem, but it is a human problem. He harnessed the horse to face the cart. By itself, the horse is well and the cart is good. But to properly harness.
I talked to the mayor of Kazan, who did the same 8-10 years ago. They started with that talked to people and not singled out urban areas. People need to trust. The same incorrect story with Luggage in airplanes. The idea is get it right. But nothing is explained. And it turned out some nonsense.
On communication failure power
— It turns out that the problem with communication is not only Sobyanin, but at different levels of the state. What is the cause of this problem?
— People who are now in power, are people of the XX century, the crucial problems of the XXI century methods of the XIX century. This is also clearly visible in Belarus, where I was recently. President Lukashenko talked to us about journalism, that supposedly is a war of misinformation and manipulation. So, what you need? To prohibit, restrict, prevent. I said the President correctly diagnosed (Yes, there is a wave manipulation), but it is not treated. This does not help, this XIX century, maybe the first half of the XX. “Ban”, “close”, “stop” is not working. On the short arm might work, but in General no.
That’s the problem. In other countries where there is political competition, the struggle of efficiencies — for example, between the party of fear and the party of hope. We have no political competition, we have competition communicative. And in communication the same: “Ruin!” and “will Not tolerate!”. Saltykov-Shchedrin all wrote about this.
— Kirienko — the same person who works by methods of the nineteenth century?
— We can say that he practices the twentieth century. But Sergei Kiriyenko, a member of Putin’s team, which generally uses outdated methods.
— There is a fundamental difference between Kiriyenko and Volodin?
Principled — I don’t think. They both are gloves of President Putin, sometimes velvet and sometimes iron. Volodin believed that in the elections the competition even with dangerous enemies health state. We have seen in 2013: elections in Moscow, Yekaterinburg, Petrozavodsk. Well, the opposition wins — so what? Will work with her.
Now we see that Kiriyenko, who is responsible for it, all descended to the regions. As far as I know, the Kremlin did not interfere. So let solve the current governors. But it is abnormal when there is no arbiter between retractable Governor and his opponent. The governors in their own way interpret laws or take them to a convenient the laws. Kiriyenko it prefers not to intervene — what matters is that there was mass demonstrations and rallies.
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