Archive | Putin's Russia as seen by Radio-Canada correspondents

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Archives | Putin's Russia as seen by Radio-Canada correspondents

< p class="sc-v64krj-0 dlqbmr">Seven correspondents have worked at the Radio-Canada office in Moscow since Vladimir Putin was first elected President of Russia in 2000.

In 2022, CBC/Radio-Canada had to close its Moscow bureau after having stationed correspondents there for more than 40 years. Through a selection of their reports, discover how our journalists looked at Russia from the year 2000, when Vladimir Putin took power.

Correspondent for CBC/Radio-Canada in Moscow from 1997 to 2000, journalist Elizabeth Palmer witnessed Vladimir Putin's rise to politics.

Former KGB agent Vladimir Putin s is known for his intransigence in the armed conflict he waged in Chechnya.

The President of Russia Boris Yeltsin then made him his heir apparent. When he resigned in 1999, he appointed Vladimir Poutine as interim Russian president.

Portrait of the President of Russia by acting Vladimir Putin by correspondent Elizabeth Palmer.

On January 13, 2000, correspondent Elizabeth Palmer offers Canadian viewers a portrait of the interim Russian head of state who, even in his country, remains rather mysterious.

From his hometown Petersburg, Vladimir Putin has just announced his candidacy for the presidential election. He defends the fact that Russia needs a strong leader to lead a firm government.

The journalist describes him as having an “inscrutable face”, arguably the result of his fifteen years in the KGB and the looks of a “macho politician with a taste for danger”.

“He swore that the Russian army would drive out every last of the Chechen rebels.

— Correspondent Elizabeth Palmer

Black belt in karate, Vladimir Putin gives the impression that he can take down all his opponents. Russian television often shows him in the field with soldiers, wearing uniform and discussing strategy with them.

An image that coincides perfectly with her political message, underlines the correspondent Elizabeth Palmer.

The Russians whom the journalist approaches in the street seem to fear this politician who has come to power so quickly and whom we do not knows very little about ideas. Not to mention that, as a leader, Vladimir Putin has very little experience in economics or international politics.

On March 26, 2000, in addition to its correspondent in Moscow, Radio-Canada sent a Téléjournal team to Russia to cover this presidential election, which was shaping up to be a major political turning point. Vladimir Putin won in the first round of this democratic election.

Correspondent Michel Cormier takes over from his colleague Elizabeth Palmer in Moscow on August 1, 2000. The journalist will remain in Russia until 2004.

Quickly, the Radio-Canada correspondent noticed changes in the Russian government's relationship with the press.

With the policy of glasnost Established in the late 1980s by Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union, the Russian media had won the freedom to criticize the government. But now Vladimir Putin is trying to muzzle two press barons who are harming his image.

Michel Cormier recounts the situation on the Téléjournal of September 18, 2000.

Report by correspondent Michel Cormier on Russian President Vladimir Putin's media takeover.

Angered by media coverage of his handling of the war in Chechnya and the sinking of the Kursk submarine, Vladimir Putin wants to take control of the only two non-state-owned television networks.

In a spectacular police operation, the offices of NTV leader Vladimir Gusinsky are raided. The Russian government then asks him to sell him his television channel in exchange for dropping charges of tax evasion.

Similarly, the oligarch Boris Beresovsky is threatened with criminal prosecution if he does not sell his shares in the television channel ORT to the state. “It's a return to the totalitarian state,” said the controversial businessman at a press conference.

Interviewed by journalist Michel Cormier, political analyst Alexei Pushkov believes that the Russian head of state is conscientiously seeking to limit criticism of the Kremlin. “He wants to control the most important sources of influence and power in Russia,” he asserts.

President Vladimir Putin has embarked on a standoff against the Russian oligarchs who dominate the economy, concludes the correspondent of Radio-Canada in Moscow, but freedom of the press in Russia is now under threat.

“On Saturday, April 14, Muscovites doing their weekend shopping were blown away. 9,000 riot police were on a war footing in an atmosphere of siege around Pushkin Square. »

— Correspondent Nick Spicer

Report by correspondent Nick Spicer on The Other Russia, a political movement founded by Garry Kasparov repressed by the Russian authorities.

Au Téléjournalof May 10, 2007, Moscow correspondent Nick Spicer paints a portrait of the political movement The Other Russia led by chess master Garry Kasparov.

A month earlier, the team of CBC/Radio-Canada in Moscow witnessed the violent crackdown on a rally of its supporters which was to be held at the famous Pushkin Square.

“The police arrested all the protesters who were approaching the square, picking up a few passers-by and onlookers as they passed, “says journalist Nick Spicer.

The images captured by the Radio-Canada cameraman show that the representatives of the press were not spared the volley of beatings by the police.

< p>“Garry Kasparov did not have time to speak, getting into the truck as soon as he appeared in the square.

—Correspondent Nick Spicer

As the reporter approaches the window of the vehicle the protesters are packed in, Garry Kasparov shouts, “Tell world leaders Russia is now a police state.”

That evening, the Russian news reports made no mention of this demonstration by The Other Russia or of the hundreds of arrests. Rather, they deal with President Vladimir Putin's attendance at a martial arts event and a pro-Kremlin demonstration held on the same day.

“We just need the Russians to be able to hear us,” Garry Kasparov told Radio-Canada. The founder of The Other Russia accuses President Vladimir Putin of stifling democracy and preventing the formation of a real political opposition.

In the fall of 2007, Garry Kasparov will have to give up running in the presidential elections, as rallies of the opposition movement The Other Russia are systematically banned by the authorities.

Correspondent Nick Spicer completed his term at the Radio-Canada office in Moscow during the same period. It will have been posted there from June 2004 to October 2007.

Report by correspondent Alexandra Szacka on the rise of the Orthodox faith in Russia since the fall of communism.

Correspondent in Moscow from 2007 to 2010, Alexandra Szacka noticed during her mandate the increasingly important place that the Orthodox Church took in Russian society.

Persecuted under communism , the Orthodox Church had become a shadow of itself in Russia, explains the journalist to the Téléjournal of April 25, 2008. The country now lacks places of prayer to welcome the millions of new devotees who join its ranks.

This spiritual renewal is not only observed in the population, but also in the high political spheres, underlines Alexandra Szacka.

“If the Constitution guarantees the separation of Church and State, the Church increasingly influences politics.

— Correspondent Alexandra Szacka

President Vladimir Putin presents himself as a practicing Orthodox and frequently consults Patriarch Alexei, head of the Russian Orthodox Church, in the course of his duties.

“The Church represents society and can therefore exercise a moral ascendancy over the state,” Patriarch Alexei's spokesperson told the Radio-Canada correspondent.

“Politicians do pretending to be believers, and we pretend to believe them,” says Yevgeni Kisselov, a Russian animator who sees the Orthodox faith as a fashion and an instrument of control.

While Dimitri Medvedev is to succeed Vladimir Putin to lead the country, this rapprochement with the Church is likely to continue, concludes journalist Alexandra Szacka.

During the presidential election campaign , Patriarch Alexei expressed his support for the candidacy of Dmitry Medvedev, a devout Orthodox.

From 2008 to 2012, Dimitri Medvedev held the mandate as President of Russia, taking care to appoint Vladimir Putin as Prime Minister.

In office in Moscow from 2010, the correspondent Jean-François Bélanger observes the dynamics of this political tandem, then the return in force of Vladimir Poutine to the highest office in the country.

Report by correspondent Jean-François Bélanger on Vladimir Poutine's swearing-in ceremony for his third term as president.

Au Téléjournal, May 7, 2012 , the journalist describes the swearing-in ceremony of Vladimir Putin which takes place with great fanfare in the former throne room of the Kremlin.

For a third time, Vladimir Putin is sworn in as President of Russia. The mandate fulfilled by Dimitri Medvedev will have enabled him to respect the Constitution which does not authorize him to occupy this function for more than two consecutive mandates. He also named him Prime Minister.

In front of 2,000 handpicked guests, Vladimir Putin swore to protect the rights and freedoms of Russian citizens. The ceremony is also broadcast live on the country's six major television channels.

The report by Jean-François Bélanger shows us the city center of Moscow closed to traffic for the event and squared by the police. Opponents who attempt to demonstrate are arrested.

“Our Constitution guarantees citizens the freedom to move, to assemble. He doesn't even respect her,” a Muscovite told the Radio-Canada correspondent.

“In Russia and elsewhere, many fear that the return of the country's strongman results in a more authoritarian and more defiant regime,” says Jean-François Bélanger.

“Vladimir Putin continued to lead the Kremlin even under the presidency of Dimitri Medvedev”, defends for his part the Macha Lipman analysis. “So there won’t be any big breaks. »

Journalist Raymond Saint-Pierre succeeded Jean-François Bélanger as correspondent in Moscow at the beginning of 2015.

He will have to leave his post prematurely in 2017, struck down by an autoimmune disease which forces him to retire.

Report by correspondent Raymond Saint-Pierre on the biker group Les loups de la nuit which can count on the support of Russian President Vladimir Putin .

In the Téléjournal of June 13, 2017, Raymond Saint-Pierre is interested in the Night Wolves, allies of Vladimir Poutine.

With its 5,000 members, this motorcycle club is the largest in the country. He can also count on the support of the Russian President who presented the Order of Merit to his leader Alexander Zaldostanov for his contribution to the patriotic education of young people.

On his Harley motorcycle -Davidson, Vladimir Putin took part in one of the expeditions of the motorcycle club which has the mission of unifying the country. Police officers also frequently accompany Night Wolves convoys.

Adored in Russia, Alexander Zaldostanov is nevertheless banned from several countries, including Canada, for his involvement in the annexation of Crimea by Russia.

“I like Canada”, expresses the leader of the Night Wolves at the microphone of Raymond Saint-Pierre. “Why is this country afraid of me?” What did I do wrong? »

In the large-scale shows he organizes, Alexander Zaldostanov does not hesitate to stage the decline of the West.

Each year, the biker club also celebrates Russian victory over Nazi troops in World War II.

In the spring of 2017, however, Russian bikers had a hard time completing their route to Berlin. Some countries, such as Georgia and Poland, which feel threatened by Russia, refuse them entry.

Tamara Altéresco was a correspondent in Moscow from 2018 until the closure of the Radio-Canada bureau by Russia in 2022.< /p>

Starting a post at the Radio-Canada office in Moscow in 2018, journalist Tamara Altéresco observes in turn the patriotism that drives several movements in Russia.

Among other things, she is interested in the train-museum to the glory of the Russian army that criss-crosses the country or in Russian hip-hop as a vehicle for change.

C' It was also during the term of correspondent Tamara Altéresco that President Vladimir Putin had a vast constitutional reform adopted, allowing him in particular to run for two additional presidential terms.

When Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, her mandate as correspondent took another turn. Tamara Altéresco covers the conflict from both sides of the border.

On March 4, 2022, after the adoption of a law imposing heavy prison sentences and fines high for anyone who publishes information deemed untrue about the Russian army, Radio-Canada has decided to suspend its journalistic activities in Russia.

A decision taken to protect journalists who cannot express themselves freely, like all Radio-Canada employees in Russia.

The Canadian government's support for the Ukraine will nevertheless get the better of the Radio-Canada office in Moscow. On May 18, 2022, the Russian authorities ordered the closure of the Radio-Canada office and withdrew its accreditations from correspondent Tamara Altéresco.

Report by correspondent Tamara Alteresco who takes us through the last moments of the Radio-Canada office in Moscow.

“Four months have passed since Russia dropped the first bombs on Ukraine. There were the convictions, then an avalanche of sanctions. »

— Correspondent Tamara Altéresco

At Téléjournalfrom June 28, 2022, Tamara Altéresco takes us through the last moments of the Radio-Canada office in Moscow.

She introduces us to Irinia Melnikova, dean and administrator of the office, and Elena Dabbarkh , researcher and interpreter. Together, they must empty the room of its furniture and memories.

In an archive montage showing some of his predecessors in Moscow, the correspondent Tamara Altéresco also underlines the force of testimony of the images captured by the cameraman Alexei Sergev.

“With the journalist Raymond Saint-Pierre, he saw his own country closing in again”, she underlines. “The last few years have been marked by the repression of those who still dared to stand up to the regime. »

The young researcher Anastasia Trofimova, who helps Tamara Altéresco destroy hard drives with hammer blows, is more optimistic. “The reality in Russia is that you never know what's going to happen,” she says with a smile.

“As many things have happened quickly, as much as we hope that they will recover for the best, “said Tamara Altéresco in turn, removing the Radio-Canada identification plate on the front door.

The Radio-Canada office had been established since 1978 in Moscow. Its mission had initially consisted in allowing more exchanges between the Russian and Canadian media. Journalists Michael McIvor, Ab Douglas, David Levy and Jean-Marc Poliquin notably stayed there during the Soviet era.

In the same way as he had done for the office in Beijing in 1980, Don Murray joined the Radio-Canada office in Moscow in 1988 as the first bilingual correspondent for CBC/Radio-Canada.

A long tradition journalism interrupted in 2022, but which is perhaps only a goodbye, concludes the correspondent Tamara Altéresco in her last report in Moscow.

Correspondents of Radio -Canada in Moscow

  • Don Murray (1988-1994)
  • Céline Galipeau (1994-1997)
  • Elizabeth Palmer (1997 -2000)
  • Michel Cormier (2000-2004)
  • Nick Spicer (2004-2007)
  • Alexandra Szacka (2007-2010)
  • < li>Jean-François Bélanger (2010-2014)

  • Raymond Saint-Pierre (2015-2017)
  • Tamara Altéresco (2018-2022)

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