A new #metoo campaign on Twitter this week was led by female journalists working at independent media outlets who described sexual assault and harrassment they suffered at the hands of fellow journalists. State-owned media happily gave the story lots of coverage.
- All the accused belong to progressive circles. They include Sergei Prostakov, editor-in-cheif of exiled tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s MBK Media; Ruslan Gafarov, who has worked for a host of opposition-minded publications; and a veteran presenter on liberal TV station Dozhd, the openly gay Pavel Lobkov.
- Prostakov and Gafarov (who now works for Sberbank) both resigned. Dozhd promised to investigate the allegations against Lobkov, but there was no talk of resignation.
- The situation was a hot topic for discussion on state television networks, where other victims also came forward — for example Lesya Ryabtseva, who works at RT and alleges she was assaulted by her former boyfriend, opposition politician Ilya Yashin. It was also used as an opportunity to remind independent journalists about allegations against the editor-in-chief of liberal radio station Ekho Moskvy, Aleksei Venediktov, and the editor-in-chief of leading independent media outlet Meduza, Ivan Kolpakov, and repeat the charge of hypocrisy (opposition-minded journalists were outspoken in their calls for punishment for Leonid Slutsky, the parliamentary deputy accused in 2018 of assault by several women in what was Russia’s first #metoo scandal).
Why the world should care Arguments over #metoo usually divide on ideological and generational lines and Russia’s opposition initially thought #metoo would be a way of discrediting the authorities. The reality has been very different.