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Did Kremlin Try to Silence RoA Newspaper?
Irina Marutyan, Deputy chief editor of “TPP”, on behalf of the whole staff of the newspaper
Due to pressure from Russian Federation authorities, the four-year-old Armenia-based “Third Power Plus” (“TPP”) is on the verge of folding. Russian official Vadim Pozdyshev, who has represented himself as a political adviser to Vladimir Putin and is on the staff of the Federation Council of RF, appropriated the finances of the newspaper deposited in a Moscow bank. Through an arrangement with the editors of “TPP,” Pozdyshev exercised control over the publication's financial resources and was responsible for its subscription in Russia. Early last year he informed the newspaper management that the ideological orientation of the publication was unacceptable to the Russian authorities. Soon after, the assets of the newspaper disappeared from the "TPP" bank account in Moscow. After four years of successful publishing, "TPP" is on the verge of closing.
It's speculated that to hide his theft of the newspaper's money, Pozdyshev invented the excuse that Russian authorities were unhappy with the newspaper's ideological orientation. According to Pozdyshev, Russian authorities have been distressed with the coverage of Armenian authorities and that of opposition parties on Nagorno-Karabakh issue. That a Jewish and Azerbaijani journalists work for “TPP” was another reason for Russian objections, said Pozdyshev. He also claimed that the Russian authorities were outraged that French “Le Monde Diplomatique” newspaper is a partner of “TPP” and publishes articles on the position of France and a number of Western countries on foreign policy issues in the Armenian newspaper. The French newspaper is devoid of any hint of Russophobia. Apparently, according to Pozdyshev the situation is not mitigated by the fact that “TPP” provides extensive coverage of the Russian Federation. There are even instances when “TPP” did not cover embarrassing Russian issues–out of deference to Russia and its government.
In connection with the theft of newspaper's savings, representatives of the newspaper's team from various countries have sent letters to the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, asking him to intervene and help redress the matter. The management of “TPP” has also contacted the President of Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev with a similar appeal.
On August 1, 2011 the newspaper's editor received a notice from the Kremlin in which he was notified that the case had been referred to the law-enforcement agencies of Russian Federation. Following a three-month investigation by the ministry of internal affairs, of the theft of newspaper funds, the government decided–"because of its special importance"–to forward the case to the FSB on Oct. 28, 2011. For the past three months the investigation has been “carried out” by the administration of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation for Moscow and Moscow region for the Southern Administrative Division. According to sources, the deputy head of that department (Sergei Vladislavovich) is responsible for the case. Despite numerous attempts, "TPP" officials have been unable to contact the elusive Vladislavovich. The FSB categorically has refused to name and identify the rank of the deputy head to journalists. His phone number is (495) 675 – 20 – 40. The phone number of the person on duty at the agency is (495) 675-38-22).
According to reports, Russian authorities conducted an internal investigation, and convinced of the rightness of the newspaper's case have fired Pozdyshev. But the missing money has not been returned to the newspaper.
The official investigation of the crime was carried out, to put it mildly, in a strange manner. During the six-month investigation no representatives of the Ministry of Internal affairs of RF nor the representatives of FSB interviewed the management of the newspaper. Apparently, law enforcement officers were told to drag on the process as long as possible, hoping a fatigued “TPP” would give up its demands. The international staff of the newspaper will not put up with such designs and will continue to fight for the return of the newspaper's funds. The "TPP" team has demonstrated self-control and endurance for six months, but patience has its limits.
The editorial staff of “TPP” has irrefutable evidence of Pozdyshev's theft. Part of that evidence has been provided to law enforcement authorities of the Russian Federation. If its just demands are not redressed, “TPP” will publish the evidence.
The international team of “TPP” is interested in one question: is Vladimir Putin aware of this disgraceful case or have Russian officials blocked our letter to the prime minister? The letter to Mr. Putin was sent through the German postal system (DHL). A receipt for its delivery is attached. It was received by Sergei Valeryevich Kostyanov, an RF representative. The subsequent fate of the letter is unknown.
“ԵՈՒՊ”-ի ինտերնացիոնալ կոլեկտիվին միայն մի հարց է հետաքրքրում. Վլադիմիր Պուտինը գիտի՞ այս ամոթալի գործի մասին, թե՞ ռուսաստանյան հայտնի կառույցների պաշտոնյաները, ինչպես և խոստացել էին մեզ, “ուղեփակել են” ՌԴ վարչապետին հասցեագրված մեր նամակը: