Russian prosecutor wants $400 for interview with Westerners

September 24, 1991|By Newsday

MOSCOW -- Russian Prosecutor Valentin Stepankov, the official in charge of the state treason case against the accused coup plotters, has made himself quite at home with capitalist values.

He is trying to charge Western correspondents $400 for 20-minute interviews.

Yuri Yudin, the head of the prosecutor's press service, asked for the payment in response to an interview request.

"The prosecutor will not just give you a regular interview as he does for everyone else. It will be an exclusive," Mr. Yudin said.

"He will give you his views as a private person, discuss problems of the investigation, shed light on it."

Trying to justify the price, he added, "You are paying for the prosecutor's intellectual labor. He won't simply be giving you answers off the top of his head. He'll think about them."

Mr. Yudin refused to say how much money had been made through interviews but said the funds were being used "for equipment and the public needs of the prosecutor's office."

He said Soviet news organizations, which carry frequent interviews with Mr. Stepankov, are not being asked to pay "because we don't give exclusives to Soviet journalists." He said "free information" could be obtained at news conferences or through the official Soviet news agency Tass.

Several officials of the Russian government said they were stunned to hear the prosecutor was trying to charge for interviews.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.