Yelena Tregubova
Yelena Viktorovna Tregubova (born May 24, 1973) is a Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

n journalist, a critic of the president Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin served as the second President of the Russian Federation and is the current Prime Minister of Russia, as well as chairman of United Russia and Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Union of Russia and Belarus. He became acting President on 31 December 1999, when...

 and his environment.


Tregubova studied journalism at Moscow State University
Moscow State University
Lomonosov Moscow State University , previously known as Lomonosov University or MSU , is the largest university in Russia. Founded in 1755, it also claims to be one of the oldest university in Russia and to have the tallest educational building in the world. Its current rector is Viktor Sadovnichiy...

 in the 1990s. She started her career as a journalist with the newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta
Nezavisimaya Gazeta
Nezavisimaya Gazeta is a Russian daily newspaper. Published since December 21, 1990.Information ranging from a wide variety of sources, such as reporters, political scientists, historians, art historians, as well as critics are published in the newspaper...

Between 1997 and 2001, Tregubova was a member of the Kremlin press pool, reporting for the independent Moscow dailies Kommersant
Kommersant is a commerce-oriented newspaper published in Russia. , the circulation was 131,000.- History :The newspaper was initially published in 1909, and it was closed down following the Bolshevik seizure of power and the introduction of censorship in 1917.In 1989, with the onset of press...

, Izvestia
Izvestia is a long-running high-circulation daily newspaper in Russia. The word "izvestiya" in Russian means "delivered messages", derived from the verb izveshchat . In the context of newspapers it is usually translated as "news" or "reports".-Origin:The newspaper began as the News of the...

, and Russky Telegraf. The members of this "Kremlin Pool" are reporters who cover the work of Russian presidents (Boris Yeltsin
Boris Yeltsin
Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin was the first President of the Russian Federation, serving from 1991 to 1999.Originally a supporter of Mikhail Gorbachev, Yeltsin emerged under the perestroika reforms as one of Gorbachev's most powerful political opponents. On 29 May 1990 he was elected the chairman of...

 and later Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin served as the second President of the Russian Federation and is the current Prime Minister of Russia, as well as chairman of United Russia and Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Union of Russia and Belarus. He became acting President on 31 December 1999, when...

) for television and major newspapers. During this time she interviewed many top members of Kremlin's administration, including Putin, Alexander Voloshin
Alexander Voloshin
Alexander Staliyevich Voloshin is a Russian politician who briefly was chairman of the Board of Directors of RAO UES, the former Russian state power utility, which was liquidated as part of the country's comprehensive power sector reforms on 1 July 2008.In 1997, he was appointed as an assistant...

 and Anatoliy Chubais.

Conflict with Kremlin administration

Tregubova's reporting often irritated Kremlin administration, which resulted in sanctions. Alexey Gromov, a press-secretary of Putin, often did not allow her to visit official briefings, where all other correspondents were present. According to her book, Tales of a Kremlin Digger, Gromov said that was a directive of Putin, and Putin was especially furious when she asked him about his relations with Boris Berezovsky, who started criticizing Putin's "Power vertical" in May 2000. She described her conversation with Gromov when he criticized her newspaper Kommersant for reprinting negative materials about Putin's policies from Western newspapers. He asked her: "Are you going to blame Putin of stiffing independent media when we start the dekulakization
Dekulakization was the Soviet campaign of political repressions, including arrests, deportations, and executions of millions of the better-off peasants and their families in 1929-1932. The richer peasants were labeled kulaks and considered class enemies...

 of Berezovsky?"

In the end of 2000, Tregubova was replaced in the Kremlin press pool by another correspondent. Kommersant Editor-in-Chief Andrey Vasiliev gave in to the pressure from Kremlin

Murder attempt

In February 2004, four months after the publication of Tales of a Kremlin Digger, Tregubova received a telephone call from a man claiming to be a Sheremetyevo International Airport
Sheremetyevo International Airport
Sheremetyevo International Airport , is an international airport located in the Moscow Oblast, Russia, north-west of central Moscow. It is a hub for the passenger operations of the Russian international airline Aeroflot, and one of the three major airports serving Moscow along with Domodedovo...

 employee. He told her that he had a package for her and asked for her delivery address. When she declined to provide it and asked from what telephone number he was calling, he hung up. On February 2, 2004, a bomb exploded outside the door to her Moscow apartment. No one was injured and officials claimed it to be "an act of hooliganism".

Tales of a Kremlin Digger

Tregubova's best-selling book Tales of a Kremlin Digger, published in October 2003, describes her experiences as a Kremlin correspondent and criticizes the customs of the Russian political elite. In particular, she criticizes the Putin administration for state control of the media. She condemns Putin's regime for its authoritarian tendencies and attacks on free speech and censorship. Some critics noted that her judgement of Russian politicians is subjective, and the book is highly opinionated.

Tales of a Kremlin Digger annoyed the Kremlin. After the book appeared, Tregubova lost her job as a correspondent for Kommersant. In November 2003, an interview with her was pulled from broadcast by NTV
NTV Russia
NTV is a Russian television channel. As a subsidiary of Vladimir Gusinsky's company Media-Most, it was a pioneer in the post-Soviet independent television media, but was later taken over by state-owned Gazprom.- History :...

, a channel once renowned for its critical reporting. The segment was yanked after it had already aired in Eastern time zones of the Russian Federation.

Farewell of the Kremlin Digger

In her second book Farewell of the Kremlin Digger (2004), Tregubova writes on the Kremlin’s attempts to stop the first book from reaching the reader, and on the attempt on her life.

Publications abroad

The Italian translation of Tales of a Kremlin Digger (I mutanti del Cremlino) came out in 2005 at the publishing house Piemme. The German publishing house Tropen Verlag released the book in German (Die Mutanten des Kremls) in October 2006.

Tregubova raised her profile in Germany in connection with the October 7, 2006 murder of the Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya
Anna Politkovskaya
Anna Stepanovna Politkovskaya was a Russian journalist, author, and human rights activist known for her opposition to the Chechen conflict and then-President of Russia Vladimir Putin...

. On October 12, 2006, the German newspaper Zeit published a letter from Tregubova entitled "Silence is partnership", addressed to German Chancellor Angela Merkel
Angela Merkel
Angela Dorothea Merkel is the current Chancellor of Germany . Merkel, elected to the Bundestag from Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, has been the chairwoman of the Christian Democratic Union since 2000, and chairwoman of the CDU-CSU parliamentary coalition from 2002 to 2005.From 2005 to 2009 she led a...

. Tregubova demanded that the Merkel actively oppose the suppression of press freedom in Russia.

Tregubova's books have not yet been translated into English.

Political asylum

On April 23, 2007, Trebugova filed an application for political asylum to Britain's Home Office, claiming her life was in "mortal danger" in Russia. On April 2, 2008, she told Reuters
Reuters is a news agency headquartered in New York City. Until 2008 the Reuters news agency formed part of a British independent company, Reuters Group plc, which was also a provider of financial market data...

that the request had been granted.

External links

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