The Moscow Times

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The Moscow Times is an independent English-language and Russian-language online newspaper.[5] It was in print in Russia from 1992 until 2017 and was distributed free of charge at places frequented by English-speaking tourists and expatriates, such as hotels, cafés, embassies, and airlines, and also by subscription. The newspaper was popular among foreign citizens residing in Moscow and English-speaking Russians.[6] In November 2015, the newspaper changed its design and type from daily to weekly (released every Thursday) and increased the number of pages to 24.

The Moscow Times
TypeOnline newspaper, formerly also print
Owner(s)Derk Sauer[1]
Founder(s)Derk Sauer
PublisherAlexander Gubsky [ru][2][3]
Cultural editorMichele A. Berdy
Founded1992; 32 years ago (1992)
Ceased publication2017 (print)
HeadquartersAmsterdam (2022–)
Moscow (1992–2022)
Circulation35,000 (2015)[4]
Sister newspapersThe St. Petersburg Times (1993–2014)
OCLC number1097137921

In 2023, the Ministry of Justice of Russia designated the paper as a "foreign agent."[7]

The newspaper became online-only in July 2017 and launched its Russian-language service in 2020. In 2022, its headquarters were relocated to Amsterdam in the Netherlands in response to restrictive media laws enacted in Russia after the invasion of Ukraine. On 15 April 2022, the Russian-language website of The Moscow Times was blocked in Russia.[8][9]

Some American foreign correspondents started their careers at the paper, including Ellen Barry, who later became The New York Times' Moscow bureau chief.[10]





Derk Sauer, a Dutch publisher who came to Moscow in 1989, made plans to turn his small, twice-weekly paper called the Moscow Guardian into a world-class daily newspaper. Sauer brought in Meg Bortin as its first editor in May 1992, and the team used a room at the Radisson Slavyanskaya Hotel as its headquarters.[11][12]

The Moscow Times was founded in 1992 by Sauer to reach US and European expats who had moved to Moscow after the fall of communism. He said: "It was a completely different time, there was no internet and there was a huge influx of Western expats who didn't speak Russian. At the time, they were the only ones with money in Moscow, so The Moscow Times was an interesting medium for advertisers".[13]

The first edition of The Moscow Times was published in March 1992.[14] It was the first Western daily to be published in Russia,[15] and quickly became "a primary source of news and opinion" quoted in both Russia and the West.[12]

It "played an important role by giving space to Russian commentators". For example, in the fall of 1993, it was able to play a role in defeating the censors:

when anti-Yeltsin forces occupied the Russian Parliament and censorship was revived. Russian newspapers came out with large blank spaces on their front pages where articles critical of the authorities had been suppressed. The writers of those articles came to see us. Published the next day in English in The Moscow Times, their articles were quickly picked up and beamed back in Russian by the BBC and other foreign radios, defeating the censors.[12]

From the mid-1990s until 2000, it was based in the old headquarters of Pravda.[16] In 1997, the website was registered.[17]



In 2003–2004, the newspaper added Jobs & Careers and Real Estate appendices, and in 2005 the Moscow Guide appendix, featuring high culture. The annual Moscow Dining Guide was also launched in 2005.[17]

Until 2005, the paper was owned by Independent Media, a Moscow-registered publishing house that also prints a Russian-language daily newspaper, Vedomosti, The St. Petersburg Times (The Moscow Times' counterpart in Saint Petersburg) and Russian-language versions of popular glossy magazines such as FHM, Men's Health and Cosmopolitan Russia.[15] That year, Independent Media was acquired by the Finnish publishing group Sanoma at an enterprise value of €142 million.[18][19]

In 2006, the paper began its alliance with the International Herald Tribune, while 2009 saw the launch of the website.

In 2009, it published Russia for Beginners: A Foreigner's Guide to Russia, written by foreign authors who offer advice based on their own experiences of living in Russia.[20] The paper celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2012 with a gala dinner at the Hotel Baltschug Kempinski in Moscow.[21]

In 2010, The Moscow Times began to publish in colour and launched the Travel Guide and Bar Guide projects.[17]

After 2014


In January 2014, malicious ads on the newspaper's website redirected visitors to an exploit kit landing page.[22] In December 2014, The Moscow Times was forced offline for two days by a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack. It was forced offline a second time in February 2015 for unknown reasons.[10]

In April 2014 longtime editor-in-chief Andrew McChesney stepped down and was replaced by Nabi Abdullaev, a former Moscow Times reporter, news editor, managing editor, and deputy editor-in-chief who had left in 2011 to head RIA Novosti's foreign-language news service.[23] Shortly after his appointment, Abdullaev argued in The Guardian that the west's "biased journalism ...robs the west of its moral authority".[24] In Autumn 2015 Abdullaev was removed from his post and replaced by Mikhail Fishman, former head of Russky Newsweek.[25]

In October 2014 The Moscow Times made the decision to temporarily suspend online comments after an increase in abusive and excessive pro-Russian trolling.[26] The paper said it disabled comments for two reasons—it was an inconvenience for its readers as well as being a legal liability, because under Russian law websites are liable for all content, including user-generated content like comments.[27]

In 2014, sister publication The St. Petersburg Times ceased publication.[28] In 2015, Sanoma sold MoscowTimes LLC to Demyan Kudryavtsev [ru; et], a former director of Kommersant.[29][30][31] In 2017, the paper version stopped. The final paper edition appeared on July 6.[32] In July 2017 the operation of the paper changed to Stichting 2 Oktober, a foundation based in the Netherlands.[33][34]

The Moscow Times currently belongs to a limited liability company which is 51% owned by Russian businessman Vladimir Jao, the CEO of an airline catering company, 30% by Svetlana Korshunova (Russian: Светлана Коршунова), general director of the paper, and 19% by Derk Sauer, the original founder of the paper. Speaking to Kommersant, Derk Sauer explained that this is merely to comply with a Russian law which prohibits foreigners from controlling more than 20% of any Russia-based media company, since Sauer is a Dutch citizen. He further said that Vladimir Jao is an old friend of his, and "he does not control the publication, he is a partner".[35][36][37]

In March 2020, the online newspaper launched a Russian language edition.[38]

Following the passage of a law restricting coverage of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in March 2022, the newspaper moved its main editors to Amsterdam.[1][39] On 15 April, Roskomnadzor blocked access to the Russian-language website of The Moscow Times in Russia after it had published what authorities called a false report on Russian riot police officers refusing to participate in the invasion.[8][9] To make the website available within Russia despite blocks, it registered a range of domain names, sending links to the next current domain to readers via Telegram when one is blocked.[40]

On 17 March 2023, The Moscow Times said it has been designated a ‘foreign agent’ by Russia's justice ministry, which accused The Moscow Times of spreading inaccurate information about authorities' decisions, thereby forming a negative image of Russia. The Moscow Times said that the foreign agent legislation had been "disproportionately used”.[41]

On July 10, 2024, the Prosecutor General of Russia declared The Moscow Times an undesirable organization.[42] This designation practically bans the Times from operating in Russia, as anyone working for them or interacting with them (such as by agreeing to be interviewed) could potentially be prosecuted and sent to jail.[43]

Separate publications and special projects


Inter-country annexes The Moscow Times: Russia-France, Russia-Finland, Russia-UK, etc. These editions are dedicated to bilateral issues of cooperation and promote establishing of business and investment programs of interaction between two countries. They focus on economic, trade, and investment, as well as inter-culture project, tourism issues.

Real Estate Catalog and Real Estate Quarterly: regular specialized business editions about the real estate market.

The Moscow Times Conferences was a meeting place of Russian and foreign investors, businessmen and experts in Russia and abroad as well. In the second half of 2017, the Conferences were transferred to the Vedomosti–Practice brand.[44]

Notable employees


See also



  1. ^ a b "Moscow Times moves to Amsterdam in response to Russian media law". 9 March 2022. Retrieved 14 March 2022.
  2. ^ "The Moscow Times – 30 years". Rode Hoed. 30 November 2022.
  3. ^ Губский, Александр (28 December 2022). "Благодарственное письмо издателя The Moscow Times" [Letter of Appreciation from The Moscow Times Publisher]. (in Russian). Retrieved 10 April 2023.
  4. ^ Hobson, Peter (30 April 2015). "Russian Businessman Buys The Moscow Times". The Moscow Times. Retrieved 29 November 2021.
  5. ^ Luhn, Alec (6 November 2015). "Russia's last independent English newspaper ends daily edition". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 December 2020.
  6. ^ Richardson, Dan. (2001). The Rough Guide to Moscow. Rough Guides. p. 56. ISBN 978-1-85828-700-3.
  7. ^ "Russia designates The Moscow Times newspaper a 'foreign agent'". Reuters. 18 November 2023. Retrieved 19 November 2023.
  8. ^ a b "Moscow Times' Russian Service Blocked Over War Coverage". The Moscow Times. 15 April 2022.
  9. ^ a b "Russia Blocks Websites Of The Moscow Times, Radio France International Over Ukraine War Coverage". 15 April 2022.
  10. ^ a b Luhn, Alec (5 February 2015). "Hackers target Russian newspaper site accused of being anti-Putin". The Guardian. Moscow. Archived from the original on 18 January 2017.
  11. ^ Kuper, Simon (10 October 2005). "Russian remodelling of a cosmopolitan theme". Financial Times. Archived from the original on 11 December 2020. Retrieved 4 June 2016.
  12. ^ a b c Bortin, Meg (6 October 2012). "To Moscow With News". The New York Times.
  13. ^ Cohen, Mischa (7 June 2017). "De terugkeer van Derk Sauer in de Russische media" [The return of Derk Sauer in the Russian media]. Vrij Nederland (in Dutch). Retrieved 7 August 2020.
  14. ^ Sauer, Derk (2012). "Derk Sauer: "20 Years Later"". The Moscow Times. Archived from the original on 18 March 2012. Retrieved 30 August 2015.
  15. ^ a b Lawton, Anna. (2004). Imaging Russia 2000: Film and Facts. New Academia Publishing, LLC. p. 107. ISBN 978-0-9744934-3-5.
  16. ^ Schreck, Carl (14 February 2006). "Fire Tears Through the Pravda Complex". Retrieved 30 August 2015.
  17. ^ a b c "The Moscow Times: 18 Years". 6 October 2010. Retrieved 23 December 2020.
  18. ^ "SanomaWSOY acquires the leading Russian magazine publisher Independent Media – Sanoma Group". Retrieved 23 December 2020.
  19. ^ "Finland's Sanoma sells stake in Russian financial paper Vedomosti | Financial Times". Retrieved 24 December 2020.
  20. ^ "Russia for Beginners: A Foreigner's Guide to Russia". The Moscow Times. 3 March 2009. Archived from the original on 9 March 2009.
  21. ^ "20 years with The Moscow Times". The Moscow Times. 2012. Archived from the original on 21 March 2016.
  22. ^ Jérôme Segura (7 January 2014). "Hard times on The Moscow Times". Malwarebytes. Archived from the original on 5 June 2015.
  23. ^ "Nabi Abdullaev to Replace Andrew McChesney as MT Editor". The Moscow Times. 14 April 2014. Archived from the original on 17 April 2014..
  24. ^ Nabi Abdullaev (4 August 2014). "Is western media coverage of the Ukraine crisis anti-Russian?". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 29 August 2014.
  25. ^ "'The Moscow Times' hires a new chief editor". 5 November 2015.
  26. ^ Collison, Chris. "Russia's Information War: Old Strategies, New Tools" (PDF). Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies. p. 41. Retrieved 11 December 2020.
  27. ^ "Russian English-language newspaper The Moscow Times becomes latest victim in Kremlin info war". Ukraine Today. 31 October 2014. Archived from the original on 1 November 2014. Retrieved 11 December 2020.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  28. ^ "St. Pete's main English-language newspaper suspends operation". Russia Beyond The Headlines. 22 December 2014. Archived from the original on 24 July 2017. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
  29. ^ Andrew Roth (30 April 2015). "New Owner for The Moscow Times and Vedomosti". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on 4 May 2015. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
  30. ^ Hobson, Peter (4 May 2015). "Russian Owner Wants Modernized Moscow Times, Not Kremlin Stooge". The Moscow Times. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
  31. ^ "Russia blocks sale of Russian Cosmopolitan, Esquire". The Moscow Times. 16 June 2015. Archived from the original on 5 June 2016. Retrieved 4 June 2016.
  32. ^ "The Moscow Times Closes Print Edition". The Moscow Times. 5 July 2017. Archived from the original on 6 July 2017.
  33. ^ Ведомости (7 June 2017). "Дерк Сауэр вернется в The Moscow Times". Archived from the original on 7 May 2018. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  34. ^ "De terugkeer van Derk Sauer in de Russische media - Vrij Nederland". 7 June 2017. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  35. ^ Afanasyeva, Anna (11 October 2017). "The Moscow Times подпитали акционером" [The Moscow Times was fueled by a shareholder]. Kommersant. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  36. ^ "The Moscow Times' new majority owner is a Russian catering company executive". Meduza. 11 October 2017. Retrieved 6 August 2020.
  37. ^ "The Moscow Times подпитали акционером". Retrieved 6 August 2020.
  38. ^ "A Letter to Our Readers". The Moscow Times. 23 March 2020. Archived from the original on 31 August 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  39. ^ "Moscow Times relocating to Netherlands as Russia tightens media restrictions". NL Times. Retrieved 14 March 2022.
  40. ^ "The Moscow Times, krant in ballingschap: 'Onze grootste taak is het Russische publiek te laten zien hoe gevaarlijk de oorlog is'" [The Moscow Times, newspaper in exile: 'Our main task is to show the Russian public how dangerous the war is']. Het Parool (in Dutch). 26 November 2022. Archived from the original on 26 November 2022.
  41. ^ "Russia designates The Moscow Times newspaper a 'foreign agent'". Reuters. 18 November 2023. Retrieved 19 November 2023.
  42. ^ "Генпрокуратура РФ объявила издание The Moscow Times «нежелательной» организацией". Meduza (in Russian). 7 October 2024. Archived from the original on 10 July 2024. Retrieved 10 July 2024.
  43. ^ Ilyushina, Mary (10 July 2024). "Russia deems Moscow Times 'undesirable,' putting writers, sources at risk". Retrieved 10 July 2024.
  44. ^ "Кудрявцев прокомментировал расследование о связях владельцев "Ведомостей" с "Роснефтью"". Ведомости (in Russian). Retrieved 16 April 2022.
  45. ^ "Встреча с Михаилом Фишманом, главным редактором". Встреча с Михаилом Фишманом, главным редактором (in Russian). Retrieved 29 December 2020.
  46. ^ "Eva Hartog vertrok uit Rusland, maar hoopt snel terug te keren / Villamedia". (in Dutch). Retrieved 16 April 2022.

General and cited references

  • Michielsen, Dido (2013). Moscow Times. Het Russische avontuur van Derk Sauer en Ellen Verbeek (in Dutch). Amsterdam: Uitgeverij Nieuw Amsterdam. ISBN 9789046814727.