I am a pariah. That is the main result of my journalism throughout the years of the second Chechen war, and of publishing abroad a number of books about life in Russia and the Chechen war. In Moscow I am not invited to press conferences or gatherings that officials of the Kremlin administration might attend, in case the organisers are suspected of harbouring sympathies towards me. Despite this, all the top officials talk to me, at my request, when I am writing articles or conducting investigations – but only in secret, where they can’t be observed, in the open air, in squares, in secret houses that we approach by different routes, like spies.
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