'Radio Consultant: Moscow, Russia' by Grant Goddard


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Personal notes of a radio consultant working for a U.S. media corporation in Moscow, Russia, written by Grant Goddard in February 1996.

Published in: Business, Travel, News & Politics
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'Radio Consultant: Moscow, Russia' by Grant Goddard

  1. 1. RADIO CONSULTANT: MOSCOW, RUSSIA by GRANT GODDARD www.grantgoddard.co.uk February 1996
  2. 2. * The murder rate (per capita) in Russia is three times higher than in the U.S. Only South Africa has a worse murder rate. [CNN International TV News: 29 Jan 96] * “A powerful bomb blast in the city’s centre on Saturday afternoon took the life of a Moscow student. The bomb which, according to police, had power equivalent to approximately 400 grams of TNT, had been placed inside a large metal dumpster on ul Bolshaya Spasskaya not far from Leningradsky train station. According to eyewitnesses, at the time of the blast, the 23-year-old female student of farming was walking by the dumpster. The strength of the explosion tore off one of her arms and blew out most of the windows in neighbouring buildings.....Witnesses reported that just a few moments before the blast, several men had tried forcibly to enter a building next to where the explosion took place, but that after a doorman refused to let them enter the building, they threw a package into the dumpster.” [small story on PAGE SEVEN of the Moscow Tribune: 30 Jan 96] * “Four people were killed on Tuesday while fooling around with a grenade in an apartment in Moscow. Two women, aged 30, a 22-year-old unemployed man and another 25-year-old man died when the grenade went off early on Tuesday in the home of one of the women.” [brief AP Report on PAGE FIVE of the Moscow Tribune, 31 Jan 96] * “The number of [contract killing] murders in Moscow alone jumped to 216 in 1995 from 181 in 1994. Most of the victims have been businessmen and members of organised crime groups. Journalists also have been killed by hitmen.” [Moscow Tribune: 30 Jan 96] * “Dear President Yeltsin, The Committee to Protect Journalists [CPJ] condemns the killing of Oleg Slabynko, producer of the Russian Television talk show ‘Moment Of Truth.” The murder of Mr Slabynko follows a number of similar murders of Russian journalists in the last year. On 27 Dec 1995, Vadim Alferyev, a crime reporter in Krasnoyarsk, was beaten to death at the entrance to his apartment building. On 1 Mar 1995, Vladislav Listyev, the well-known executive director of the new public television station, ORT, was shot dead as he entered his block of flats. And on 17 Feb 1995, Vyacheslav Rudnev, a freelance journalist in Kaluga who frequently wrote about organized crime, was found with serious skull injury in the hallway of his apartment building. He died four days later. In 1994, world opinion was shocked by the murder of Dmitry Kholodov, an investigative reporter for Moskovsky Komsomolets. Almost as disturbing as the murders themselves is the fact that none of them has been solved. A November 1995 fact-finding mission to Moscow by CPJ concluded that no serious effort to solve these crimes is being made. The failure to apprehend those responsible for the murder of journalists can only encourage further assassinations. Yours, William A Orme Jr., Executive Director, Committee to Protect Journalists, New York, NY.” [full text of letter in The Moscow Times: 3 Feb 96] Radio Consultant: Moscow, Russia ©1996 Grant Goddard page 2
  3. 3. * “Moscow is the most expensive place for business travellers......in 114 of the world’s leading cities...........Average daily spending in Moscow is estimated at $543.” [AP Report in Moscow Tribune: 31 Jan 96] * “Figures released by the State Statistics Committee showed that in December 1995 only one-fifth of Russians lived below the poverty line, which in December was 327,000 roubles (US$70) a month........The average [monthly] salary [is] 710,000 roubles (US$151).” [Moscow Tribune: 31 Jan 96] * “Exasperated by months of unpaid wages, thousands of schoolteachers went on strike on Tuesday, closing over four thousand schools in more than twothirds of Russia’s territories.......Deputy prime minister Vladimir Kinelyov, in charge of education and science in Russia, vowed to track down an allotted 1.7 trillion roubles (US$361 million) from the federal education budget which was not received by local schools. Local administrators have been accused of putting vast sums of public money in foreign bank accounts to earn interest while withholding public employees’ salaries.” [Moscow Tribune: 31 Jan 96] * “With back wages for industry, construction, transport and agriculture workers alone totalling 13.4 trillion roubles (US$2.85 billion), the government has reportedly found it a struggle to reach the [federal budget] target.” [Moscow Tribune, 31 Jan 96] * “Irina Orlova, head of Comparative Research Department at the SocialPolitical Research Institute, said that back in the 1970s, Moscovites lived on average as long as Western Europeans, but since then their life spans have decreased to an average 64 years. ‘Old people have lost ground with all of the reforms, accompanied by depression and a total lack of proper medical care,’ she said.” [Moscow Tribune, 1 Feb 96] * “Two more persons have frozen to death in Moscow, a spokesman for the city health department told Interfax on Thursday, bringing the city’s total to some 400 frozen to death since November 1.” [Moscow Times, 2 Feb 96] * “The facts of the case were as follows. On the evening of 8 May 1995, Kalinin got drunk at home with his sister, drinking about half a litre of vodka. When night fell, he left the apartment alone, went to Savyolovsky Station, and drank six bottles of beer. Kalinin had already thought to bring a huge knife with him when he left home, but now, after the beer, he’d become a genuine menace a lonely young man with two assault convictions, wandering the streets drunk and armed in search of a woman. Kalinin took the subway to Novoslobodskaya Metro Station, and it was a few blocks from there, on the corner of Novoslobodskaya Ulitsa and Votkovsky Pereulok, that he spotted Ivanova. He came up to her from behind, threw her to the ground, jumped on her, placing his knees on her chest, waved the knife in front of her face and, threatening to kill her, said flatly that he wanted to rape her. Ivanova, afraid for her life, grabbed the knife with her hand, opening up a large wound. ‘Just do as I say,’ Kalinin said, ‘and everything will be all right.’ Kalinin then instructed his victim to get up and follow him to the basement of a building on Votkovsky Pereulok. But Ivanova, seeing out of the Radio Consultant: Moscow, Russia ©1996 Grant Goddard page 3
  4. 4. corner of her eye that a man was fixing a car far in the distance, suggested instead that they go to a nearby park in that direction. Kalinin, quite drunk and not thinking clearly, consented, not even bothering to hold her as they walked toward the park. When they got within range of the man with the car, who by now was closing up the hood of his Zhiguli, Ivanova fled and grabbed the man, explaining in hysterics that she’d been attacked. According to the evidence, the man replied that he was in a hurry and couldn’t help; he got into the car and drove away............” [excerpt from proceedings of a minor court case in Moscow Times: 3 Feb 96] * It was a bright Sunday afternoon in Moscow. Our car was driving down a narrow side-road when we came to a halt. Looking out, we could see a man on his own in a fairly new car that had broken down on a stretch of the road that had cars parked along one side. There was a line of cars stuck behind him, and a line of cars going the other direction. All were sitting there, waiting while he tried to start the engine without success. Three of us instinctively got out of our car to help him - we were an American, a Brit and a Bulgarian. We walked towards his car. The man in the car looked terrified. We walked to the back of his car and tried to push it forward. The man was confused. You could see him wondering: “What are they doing?” The car rolled down the road. The man got back in his car without thanking us. We returned to our car and continued on. * “‘It’s always easier to get into a car as crowds pass by in daylight,’ Colonel Vladimir Ikonnikov of the Moscow traffic police [GAI] said on Monday, dismissing the common myth that vehicles are more at risk when veiled in darkness. As many as 89% of all the car thefts in the Russian capital occur from 8am until midnight.........’Most of inomarki [foreign cars] are taken by force. They [thieves] either break into these cars and throw out the drivers at red lights, or act like they’re hailing a taxi, forcing owners to some quiet place,’ Ikonnikov said. The GAI commander said that some thefts of inomarki occur when owners are attacked and forced to hand over their keys while outside of their vehicles.........Concerned about violent hijackings, most Moscow car rental companies refuse to lease their vehicles without a company chauffeur. However, they still lose several cars every year when hijackers produce false documents to rent a chauffeur-driven car and then force the driver out.” [Moscow Tribune: 6 Feb 96] * “Just weeks after pledging to step up protection for the financial elite, police reported that another Russian banker died a violent death in north Moscow. Alexei Butenko, a 26-year-old vice-chairman of Grandinvestbank, was found dead in a parking lot on Monday, becoming the first slain in Moscow this year. Last year alone, some 60 assassinations attempts were made on the lives of senior bankers in Russia. At least half were successful, and some 90 per cent remain unsolved........Crime grew by 26 per cent in the capital last month, although there was a slight decline in murders compared to December.” [Moscow Tribune: 7 Feb 96] * “As if acid rain and political unrest aren’t enough to worry Moscow’s beleaguered residents, a Russian watchdog agency announced this week that lax security measures and deteriorating equipment at experimental nuclear Radio Consultant: Moscow, Russia ©1996 Grant Goddard page 4
  5. 5. reactors ‘present a real and serious’ threat to city residents.......The threat posed by the 11 experimental reactors currently operating in Moscow has become an especially important issue since an accident last week at an experimental reactor in central Russia.......Recent reports claim that up to 10 square kilometres were contaminated as a result of the accident. Vladimir Kuznetsov [director of the Russian Information & Analytical Centre for the Prevention of Accidents at Atomic Energy Sites] said that a similar accident in Moscow could be devastating, as none of the working reactors here have protective caps to help prevent the release of contaminated materials into the atmosphere in the event of an accident.” [Moscow Tribune: 7 Feb 96] Grant Goddard is a media analyst / radio specialist / radio consultant with thirty years of experience in the broadcasting industry, having held senior management and consultancy roles within the commercial media sector in the United Kingdom, Europe and Asia. Details at http://www.grantgoddard.co.uk Radio Consultant: Moscow, Russia ©1996 Grant Goddard page 5