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Home > Publications > Quill > SDX Award Winner: Newspaper Foreign Correspondence


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Monday, July 13, 2009
SDX Award Winner: Newspaper Foreign Correspondence

The New York Times

By Jim Poyser

Foreign Correspondence

WINNER: CLIFFORD J. LEVY, THE NEW YORK TIMES

“Kremlin Rules”

In a nine-part series, “Kremlin Rules,” Clifford J. Levy, Moscow bureau chief at The New York Times, documented the lengths to which Russia under Vladimir Putin has smothered political opposition, silenced independent voices and centralized control over large swaths of the economy.

Along the way, Levy learned that workers’ jobs — and children — are threatened if they don’t vote for Putin’s party; Protestant congregations are forced to pray in secret places; critics of the government are digitally erased from TV talk shows; businessmen face investigations if they don’t adhere to the government line; and companies are threatened with government takeovers.

And if this reporting wasn’t risky enough in a country where persistent journalists are murdered, Levy created a Russian-language Web site where he posted full translations of his articles, right under the nose of a government notably hostile to Western criticism.

Judges said: “Levy’s work provides a remarkable example of thorough, engaging and important reporting. Far too little attention has been paid to Putin’s clampdown on democracy, and when democracy is under assault in a nation with nuclear weapons and vast economic clout, that matters. The stories are impressive enough; the innovative use of the [Russian-language] Web site puts it over the top.”

Levy said he most appreciated “the response from Russians who commented on the articles on our Russian-language blog. We received more than 26,000 comments over the course of the year.”

New York Times editors point out that “Levy’s work reflected remarkable courage — his own, of course, but also that of the Russians he persuaded to speak for the record. They were always vulnerable. In at least one case, people he interviewed were subjected to retaliation, their office raided.”

The New Yorker Editor David Remnick, himself a distinguished Russia correspondent, said, “It seems to me that Cliff Levy’s the best and deepest correspondent from Russia in a very long time — and these pieces he’s done this year required fantastic reporting and intelligence. I’m just full of admiration for what he’s done. Harrison Salisbury and, yes, Bill Keller would be, should be proud.”

More online: http://tinyurl.com/lta5cl

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