Russia: Aleksei Pichugin's Trial Blogger Nominated for the BOBs

For the second year in a row, LJ user sivilia-1 (Russian journalist Vera Vasilieva) is competing for Deutsche Welle's Best of the Blogs Awards (the BOBs). Last year, she was nominated in the Reporters Without Borders category; this year, she is shortlisted for the Best Weblog Russian.

Her blog (RUS) – – is devoted to coverage of the case of Aleksei Pichugin, former security chief of former oil giant Yukos, sentenced to life in prison for involvement in at least three murders (not to be confused with Aleksandr Pichushkin, recently sentenced to life in prison for at least 48 murders). Pichugin's arrest in 2003 marked the beginning of the Kremlin's attack against Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

In the post translated from Russian below, sivilia-1 explains to her critics the choice of her blogging subject matter:

There's an ongoing discussion in the blogosphere of the 2007 Best of the Blogs competition, in which I am taking part. I've read comments of some of the readers who claim that I'm “on the payroll” and am not really voicing my opinion, because I simply do not have one. Like, the content of my web journal can be summarized in one phrase: “Putin is bad” (and some also add: “Berezovsky is good”). And they also claim that it's not surprising that I've made it into the final cut – after all, the competition is organized by a Western radio station.

It was very interesting to read the discussion of my blog. Criticism is great! But it's a pity that those commenting are guilty of what they are accusing me of – something that can be summarized in one phrase: “Vera Vasilieva is bad, she works for money rather than expressing her personal point of view!”

This ain't so. Apparently, those who write this have not familiarized themselves with my blog. Because I have explained more than once the reasons for my principal subject matter and why I've picked my blog as the medium for it.

Well, okay, I'll explain it once more – to those who are willing to listen.

You are free to disagree with my point of view – [that's up to you]. But to claim that I don't have one is totally wrong. As is the assertion that I'm doing it for the money I've been paid.

The main topic of my blog is the trial of Aleksei Pichugin, the former Yukos employee. I started blogging about it because this topic deeply affected me after my first visit to courtroom, and I couldn't find the objective coverage of the trial in the mass media. My intention has been to have the minimum of personal commentary, I've been placing the emphasis on what was taking place, on the facts, regardless of my personal attitude to them. And I was doing it all absolutely for free. I worked at an IT publication then. By the way, because of my blog reports on the trial, I was forced to leave this publication. Just as I had to leave another job, which I landed after the dismissal. Then I was invited to the Human Rights in Russia portal, where I've met wonderful people, friends who share my views.

Yes, this is where I work as a correspondent now, for a salary. But, dear readers, aren't you getting paid for the work you do?! I'm not selling my position, my views. I write about what I think and I'm earning my money honestly. You are free to hate my point of view. But do not distort the facts.

Thank you for your attention.

Here are some of the comments to this post:


Ignore them. When there are no arguments of substance, they start these attacks, claim that [you are] corrupt, on the CIA's payroll, and a spy for the Western intelligence in general.


Oy, they understand it all perfectly well :) But they'll never admit that they are writing all their “exposé” simply because this is their job and not because this is what they really mean :)



Your hobby is the same as your job – it doesn't happen often, but it does happen ;))) For example, astronomers often sell telescopes, booklovers sell books, and good cooks work in restaurants. ))) […]



Vera, you are one of those rare journalists who are actually doing what their profession obliges them to do – you are uncovering the facts despite the unfavorable conditions. There was no one but you at the trial. An honest critic would agree with it, while the dishonest ones aren't worth paying attention to. Wishing you victory in the competition – and recognition.

Start the conversation

Authors, please log in »


  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.