For part-2 of this series, I spoke to Moscow-based journalist Svetlana Kunitsyna about how the phone-hacking scandal was covered in Russia.
She points out that for Russians weren’t really surprised by this.
“We have a KGB-police relationship for ages,” Kunitsyna said. “We have a tradition of listening to conversations, recording the conversations of private people and so on.”
But an editorial in The Moscow Times says “[i]n the extensive annals of eavesdropping, all of this is something new. Not even Stalin wiretapped the dead.”
Robert Greenwald shares his views on Russia Today.
It almost seems as if how shocked you are about phone-hacking depends on what country you live in. But the outrage caused by hacking murdered British teenager Milly Dowler’s phone is universal.
I asked Kusnitsya for her thoughts about the tone and tenor of the parliamentary select committee hearing and about former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks. She thinks the committee wasn’t tough enough in their line of questioning.
“(Brooks) is a person who lies through her teeth so publicly and so obviously … but the British are (too) polite. It was a very mild kind of investigation like a famous English cup of tea. In Russia it would be much more tough and much ruder, I would say,” she said.
She also says that she cannot imagine a senior police officer quitting because of a scandal like this one in Russia.
Kusnitsya predicts however, that while the investigation looks calm on the surface, it may go deeper and uncover the truth.
What about Rupert Murdochs of Russia? Do they exist and what is their relationship like with politicians in Russia and beyond?
Moscow News draws a parallel with Yury Kovalchuk.
“Russia’s biggest media tycoon, Yury Kovalchuk, is expanding his growing empire as the country’s election season heats up – prompting comparisons between his friendship with Vladimir Putin and the influence wielded in Britain by embattled tycoon Rupert Murdoch.”
Kunitsyna told me about Russian Billionaire Alexander Lebedev who took over two prominent British newspapers last year – The Independent and The Evening standard.
“You have an equivalent in Mr. Lebedev and his son,” Kunitsyna said. “I wonder what tradition he will take with him to Britain. As it is known he is an ex-KGB executive.”
Also, worth a read, is British columnist Marc Bennetts’ view on the Ria Novosti website comparing tabloid culture in Russia and England. He thinks a bowl of soup may have all the answers.