Anton Kazarin

Editor-in-Chief, Delovoy Kvartal
Recipient, Paul Klebnikov Fund Prize for Excellence in Journalism

As a business journalist, Anton Kazarin shares the values of Paul Klebnikov. Kazarin is editor-in-chief of an independent group of weekly business magazines, Delovoy Kvartal. The magazines, which reach seven big cities in the Urals, Siberia and southern and central Russia, produce a rare level of high-quality journalism in a country where government officials are increasingly clamping down on the free press.

Kazarin began his journalistic career while working as a teacher in Kurgan, a city in the Ural Mountains. He uncovered and wrote about the efforts of the school's director to recruit teachers and students into a religious sect. The story cost Kazarin his job as a teacher. The director was also fired.

In 1998, Kazarin decided to work full time as a journalist. At KiK, a small newspaper in the Urals, he was preparing an investigative piece on local political corruption when one of his sources was murdered. His editor decided not to run Kazarin's story. Disillusioned, Kazarin moved to Yekaterinburg in 2001 to work as a business reporter for Delovoy Kvartal. “I was looking for a publication, a magazine or a newspaper, that was independent,” he said.

He found it, thanks to a publisher who fiercely defends editorial integrity. As a reporter, he uncovered an unfair deal by a cell phone company to eliminate the competition. The phone company wanted Kazarin fired and an apology from the magazine, but his editors backed him up. The company withdrew its hefty advertising budget, but returned within a year-and Kazarin was promoted to editor-in-chief of the magazine group.

Since his promotion in 2005, he has pushed the chain's circulation up 30 percent each year, increased advertising, diversified coverage to specialized topics, and launched a professional-development program for his staff.

While Kazarin doesn't think journalists who work for independent media in Russia are heroic, he admits it's tough to remain independent in the face of pressures - especially financial pressures. Many newspapers and magazines simply give in, he says.

“I think that there is freedom of speech in Russia, but not freedom of the press,”Kazarin said. “The more popular the media, the more pressure there is from the authorities.”

About the Paul Klebnikov Fund Prize for Excellence in Journalism

The Paul Klebnikov Fund Prize for Excellence in Journalism honors a top newsroom manager of a Russian media outlet whose work best reflects Paul Klebnikov’s ideals. A leading journalist and the founder of Forbes Russia, Paul was murdered in the line of duty in Moscow in 2004. Passionately committed to bringing transparency and accountability to journalism in Russia, Paul believed strongly that a vigorous, independent press was essential for the nation’s civic betterment.

The recipient of this award shares Paul’s unwavering commitment to the highest standards of the profession. The prestige from the Prize will give the recipient, as well as fellow journalists in Russia, some protection from the intimidation and violence that threatens those who work in a difficult professional environment.

Recipients of the Prize are awarded the International Journalism Exchange Fellowship, one of ICFJ’s flagship programs. Through this program, international editors are invited to the United States for a month-long program, which includes hands-on experience in U.S. newsrooms, and training sessions by experienced journalists.

The goal of this award is to strengthen the independent press in Russia and to help realize Paul’s vision of vigorous, professional and responsible journalism.

This is the third annual Klebnikov prize.