Yevgenia Albats

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Yevgenia Markovna Albats
Yevgenia Albats.jpg
Born (1958-09-05) 5 September 1958 (age 61)
Alma materMoscow State University (1980)
Harvard University
OccupationChief Editor of The New Times magazine
Spouse(s)Yaroslav Golovanov
ChildrenOlga (b. 1988)

Yevgenia Markovna Albats (Russian: Евге́ния Ма́рковна Альба́ц, born 5 September 1958[1][2]) is a Russian investigative journalist, political scientist, writer and radio host. As of 2011, she works as a chief editor of The New Times magazine.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Albats' father, Mark Yefremovich Albats, was a member of a GRU military reconnaissance team during World War II, residing in German-occupied Ukraine.[4] In 1943 he was wounded and discharged from the Army. Afterward he worked as an engineer at a scientific institution, designing radiolocation systems for the Soviet Army.[1][5] Albats' mother, Yelena Izmaylovskaya, was an actress and a radio news host.[5][6] Albats' elder sister, Tatyana Komarova, is a television host/anchor.[5]

Yevgenia Albats graduated from the Department of Journalism of Moscow State University in 1980. One of her classmates and friends was Anna Politkovskaya, who would become an investigative journalist and was assassinated in 2006.[7]

Journalism career[edit]

Albats started her professional work as a free-lance reporter with Komsomolskaya Pravda, while she was still a senior at the Moscow State University's Department of Journalism. After graduation, she succeeded in getting a job as a low-paid assistant at the so-called "letters" desk ( the desk that was obliged to answer letters, which were coming from readers of the paper) at Izvestia Sunday supplement, Nedelya. At the same time, she started writing about astrophysics and particle physics for the same paper. Izvestia newspaper's Sunday supplement. From 1986 to 1992, she worked for the Moscow Newsas a special assignment correspondent, writing on the USSR's notorious political police, the KGB. In 1996 to 2006, she worked for Izvestia (led the weekly column We and Our Children) and Novaya Gazeta.[8]

She received the Golden Pen Award from the Russian Union of Journalists for exposing poor conditions in maternity wards in 1989.[9]

Albats was fired from Izvestia in 1997 after she had completed a major article exposing alleged illegal activities by the FSB.[10] She was restored to her position by a court decision on 15 March 1997.[1]

In 2007, Albats became a deputy chief editor of The New Times magazine.[11] On 16 January 2009 she replaced Irena Lesnevskaya as the Chief Editor of the magazine.[12]

Since 2013, she is one of the jury members of the European Press Prize.[13][14]

Political activities[edit]

From 1993 to 2000, she was a member of the Clemency Commission at the Executive Office of the President of the Russian Federation.

Research and works[edit]

Albats was a Fellow at Harvard University's Nieman Foundation for Journalism in 1993 (Fellowship at the Nieman Foundation).

In 2004 Albats was awarded a PhD in political science from Harvard University.[15] She works at the radio station Echo of Moscow and writes for the Moscow Times.

In 1992 Albats was appointed a consultant for a Russian Duma commission to examine KGB involvement in Soviet coup attempt of 1991. This commission was led by Lev Ponomarev[16] As a member of this commission she interviewed KGB officers. Albats described her findings in The State Within a State: The KGB and Its Hold on Russia – Past, Present, and Future[17] in 1994. KGB chairman Vadim Bakatin gave Albats the number of KGB officers as 180,000 in a post-1991 interview. Using the "rule of thumb", "four non-ranking KGB employees for every officer", Albats estimated that the number of KGB employees in Russia in 1992 approached 700,000, "one [political police agent] for every 297 citizens of Russia", as opposed to "one Chekist for every 428 Soviet citizens."[17]

Albats described the KGB as a leading political force rather than a security organization. She wrote that KGB directors Lavrenty Beria, Yuri Andropov and Vladimir Kryuchkov manipulated Communist Party leaders. She asserted that FSB, the successor of KGB, became a totalitarian party.[17] Journalist John Barron,[18] retired KGB Major General Oleg Kalugin[19] and the highest-ranking known Soviet bloc defector, Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa[20] reportedly shared Albats's point of view.

In 1992 Albats published an article in Izvestia quoting documents from KGB archives that David Karr was "a competent KGB source" who "submitted information to the KGB on the technical capabilities of the United States and other capitalist countries".[21] She cited KGB notes describing transfers of money to communist parties of United States, Finland, France, Italy, as well as "commercial dealings" of Rajiv Gandhi's family with Soviet foreign trade.[22][23] Albats learned that the KGB employed the future Russian Patriarch Alexius II as an agent under a nickname Drozdov.[17] KGB defector Vasili Mitrokhin and dissident priest Gleb Yakunin who had access to KGB archives reported the same.[17][24]

Albats published a book, The Jewish question, in 1995.[25][26]

Talk shows[edit]

As of 2004 Albats hosted a radio talk program at Echo of Moscow. In February 2007 she held a talk with Olga Kryshtanovskaya, director of the Moscow-based Centre for the Study of Elites. Kryshtanovskaya said that FSB members and other "siloviks" took key positions in the Russian government, Parliament and business. These members share their military background and nationalistic views. She noted that most FSB members remain in the "acting reserve" even when they formally leave the organization. All "acting reserve" members receive an FSB salary, follow FSB instructions, and remain above the law because their organization protects them, according to Kryshtanovskaya.[27][28]

In 2006, Albats criticized Anna Arutunyan[29] who had written an article in the Moscow News about the murdered journalist Anna Politkovskaya.[30] Arutunyan wrote that Politkovskaya became an activist and that her articles contained "inaccuracies".

Family and personal life[edit]

Albats was married to journalist, writer and science popularizer Yaroslav Golovanov and had a daughter, Olga (b. 1988).[31][32]


  1. ^ a b c Editorial dossier,, referring to another web site Labyrinth.
  2. ^ The New Russia's Dictionary: a world of literature, Znamya
  3. ^ "Редакция New Times". Retrieved 23 February 2010.
  4. ^ Memories about family members of Echo of Moscow's guests, Yevgenia Albats, 7 July 2004. Machine translation.
  5. ^ a b c We are here (in Russian)
  6. ^ Interview with Tatyana Komarova.
  7. ^ Evgeny Bystrov At the Journalism Faculty, Anya was the Modesty Incarnated Novaya Gazeta Kubany 1217 (95) of 14 December 2006 (in Russian)
  8. ^ Albats' site at Echo of Moscow (in Russian)
  9. ^ Standing Up to Death Threats
  10. ^ Post-Soviet Media Law & Policy Newsletter, Issue No. 36, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, 20 April 1997
  11. ^ "Альбац, Евгения". Retrieved 23 February 2010.
  12. ^ "Главным редактором The New Times стала Евгения Альбац" (in Russian). 16 January 2009. Retrieved 23 February 2010.
  13. ^ "European Press Prize Announces Shortlists for 2012", New Eastern Europe, 22 January 2013.
  14. ^ "Yevgenia Albats", European Press Prize. Retrieved 25 May 2020.
  15. ^ Bureaucrats and the Russian transition: The politics of accommodation, 1991–2003. PhD Dissertation, Harvard University, 2004 – 343 pages.
  16. ^ The Spies Who Stayed Out in the Cold, The New York Times, by Glenn Garelik, 27 November 1994
  17. ^ a b c d e Albats.KGB: The State Within a State. Translated from Russian by Catherine A. Fitzpatrick. 1995. ISBN 1-85043-995-8, ISBN 978-1-85043-995-0. First edition in 1994, ISBN 0-374-52738-5, ISBN 978-0-374-52738-9.
  18. ^ KGB: The Secret Work of Soviet Secret Agents, New York: Reader's Digest Press, 1974; London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1974. New York: Bantam Books, 1974
  19. ^ The Triumph of the KGB Archived 5 April 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  20. ^ Symposium: When an Evil Empire Returns, interview with Ion Mihai Pacepa, R. James Woolsey, Jr., Yuri Yarim-Agaev and Lt. Gen. Tom McInerney,, 23 June 2006.
  21. ^ "Senator Edward Kennedy requested KGB assistance with a profitable contract for his businessman-friend", Izvestia, 24 June 1992, p. 5
  22. ^ KGB: state within a state, p.222-223
  23. ^ Can Corrupt Politicians Preserve Freedom?
  24. ^ Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin, The Mitrokhin Archive: The KGB in Europe and the West, Gardners Books (2000), ISBN 0-14-028487-7
  25. ^ The Jewish question (Russian), Moscow, 1995, ISBN 5-7358-0180-5
  26. ^ The Jewish question
  27. ^ (in Russian)Siloviks in power: fears or reality?, interview with Olga Kryshtanovskaya by Yevgenia Albats, Echo of Moscow, 4 February 2007
  28. ^ In Russia, A Secretive Force Widens, Finn, P., Washington Post, 2006
  29. ^ "Does Russian society need a fourth estate?", Full Albats, a talk show by Yevgenia Albats, Echo of Moscow, 22 October 2006 (in Russian)
  30. ^ Journalist Murder a Conundrum, Anna Arutunyan, Moscow News, 12 October 2006.
  31. ^ Biography of Yaroslav Golovanov
  32. ^ "Tanya Albats", poem by Semyon Ventzimerov

External links[edit]

Articles by Albats
Articles, talks by Albats in Russian
Articles about Albats