27 July 2020
Former Vedomosti journalists launch new media project following clash with pro-Kremlin editor

Former Vedomosti journalists launch new media project following clash with pro-Kremlin editor

Евгений Разумный / Ведомости / ТАСС

A group of former journalists from Vedomosti, one of Russia's leading business newspapers, have announced the launch of a new media project after the appointment of a new editor-in-chief sparked a conflict over censorship and led to a series of mass resignations from the paper.

The new outlet, VTimes, will launch in fall 2020, and intends to continue Vedomosti's independent journalism.

"The refusal of the new Vedomosti managers to adhere to the principles of quality journalism forced us to leave the publication, where we had worked for many years. However, we believe that Russia more than ever before needs independent sources of information that can be trusted, and needs platforms for free exchange of opinions and professional expertise," the outlet's website reads.

One of the project's founders, former Vedomosti deputy editor-in-chief Alexander Gubskiy, told The Bell that VTimes will be financed through voluntary donations and ad revenues, while articles on the site will be free. Gubskiy added that the outlet intends to launch a crowdfunding campaign in support of the project in September.

Vedomosti founder Derk Sauer will aid VTimes as an adviser.

Vedomosti staff clashed with new editor-in-chief Andrey Shmarov, who was appointed after the sale of the newspaper was announced this spring.

Shmarov has been accused of twice deleting a column by University of Chicago economist Konstantin Sonin criticizing Rosneft head Igor Sechin, banning the coverage of negative opinion polls on President Vladimir Putin, and threatening those criticizing Russia's recently approved constitutional amendment package.

His appointment has led to the departure of multiple editors and journalists from the paper, who have accused Shmarov of pro-Kremlin censorship.