Axel Springer today announced that Maksim Kurnikov, formerly Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Echo of Moscow (Ekho Moskvy), is to join BILD as Lead Editor, effective immediately. In addition, BILD TV will provide the studio infrastructure for Kurnikov, along with political scientist Ekaterina Schulmann, who is also well known in Russia, to continue producing their weekly talk show ‘Status’.
We’ve kept a close eye on the Echo of Moscow story here at FIPP, and were privileged to receive a special address from the station’s Editor-in-Chief, Alexei Venediktov, at the FIPP World Media Congress earlier this month. Echo was one of the last remaining independent press outlets in Russia until March 1st, when it was taken off air by Roskomnadzor – the country’s Federal Service for the Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media.
Since the war began, Axel Springer has been a leading voice not only in emphasising the importance of a free and independent press in Ukraine, but in Russia too. In April, the publishing giant signed Marina Ovsyannikova – the journalist who staged an anti-war protest on pro-government Russian television – to work on media brand WELT, for whom she now reports on both Russia and Ukraine.
Speaking on the company’s latest appointment, BILD Editor-in-Chief, Johannes Boie, said: “Maksim Kurnikov is a great, independent and courageous journalist who, undeterred by Putin’s propaganda, continues to report and comment as a free voice for the people of Russia. I am very pleased that we can actively support him in this with BILD and that he is part of the editorial team with his outstanding expertise of Russia.”
Kurnikov added: “The collaboration with BILD is a great way to bring journalism to those who are otherwise exposed to propaganda. BILD is on site with reporters and has a large network of experts. There is a tremendous opportunity here to make this knowledge and these images accessible to Russian-speaking people as well.”
To support the overarching concern of countering Russian state propaganda with independent information, other Russian, Ukrainian and Russian-born journalists are also cooperating with BILD, while the brand remains committed to translating individual reports, analyses and BILD TV programmes into Russian.
It’s been a busy week for Axel Springer, who have also just announced a reorganisation of the Business Insider Germany leadership team. Romanus Otte relinquishes his position as Co-CEO and Co-Editor-in-Chief, while Jakob Wais, currently Co-Managing Director and Co-Editor-in-Chief, will become Chairman of the Editorial and Management Boards, amongst other changes.
You can read the latest from the Axel Springer press pages here.