Magazine article Newsweek

A Press Lord's Side of the Story

Magazine article Newsweek

A Press Lord's Side of the Story

Article excerpt

Vladimir Gusinsky, the head of the Media-Most holding company, talked with NEWSWEEK contributor Yevgenia Albats after he was released from Butyrka prison. Excerpts:

Why were you arrested?

I was called up by the office of the prosecutor general to provide explanations about materials they obtained during the search [May 11] of the Media-Most offices. [The investigator and I] talked for an hour or so. And then he said: "My boss would like to talk to you." I said, "Sure." He said, "Some other people too are expecting you [in the office next door]." I went with him without any hesitation even though I was a little surprised. In the next room was investigator Nikolaev who handled the case of the Russian Video company [the case on which now Gusinsky is accused of embezzling $10 million]. He said: "Sit down. We have something to show you." Immediately four operatives entered the office. They handed me a warrant of arrest. I was stunned. Just several months ago, on Nov. 2, the same investigator, Nikolaev, questioned me about the same case. He said, "I do not have any claims against you." So now I yelled at him: "Did you lie then? Or do you lie now?" Then I asked: "May I call my lawyers?" "No." "My family?" "Give us a number," they said, "we will call for you." I said: "No, I am not going to give you the numbers of my family." Then they called the office [Media-Most] and sent a fax informing my lawyers. But it was after 6 p.m., and by the time I got to Butyrka [prison] it was too late for the lawyers to come: all official institutions, prison included, are closed by 8 p.m.

How were you treated in prison?

Fine. Both prison guards and inmates showed respect. The woman who took my fingerprints suggested that I wash my hands right afterward. It was a clear sign of respect. The next day I was in a room with three men. One of them was covered with tattoos from upside down, and had ugly golden teeth. …

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