Weird Doings at the Moscow Times

“This is the first blog entry of many I’ll be making as I travel along the Russian side of the Russia-China border over the next four weeks, beginning in Chita and ending in Vladivostok.”

That’s what Moscow Times reporter Howard Amos had to say on November 20, 2012, on a special web page on the paper’s website created just for him

He posted every day until November 25th, then went totally silent. Between then and today, December 3rd, more than a week has passed with no hint of why.  A large link to the special web page still appears prominently on the MT’s home page, but readers had no way of knowing if the journey was even still underway.

The reporter’s Twitter feed offers a slight clue.  On November 29th he tweeted: “Goodbye Chita, and your zealous, zealous FSB. In 40 hours I’ll be in Blagoveshchensk.”  Blagoveshchensk is about halfway between Chita and Vladivostok, implying the reporter was continuing his journey to the East but perhaps had been ejected from Chita and his attempt to go close to the Chinese border.

But then the next day came this, out of nowhere:  “That’s it, then. FSB + FMS + MT = total f**k-up. Back to Moscow.”  Since then, no further information on Twitter either.

The special web page is rather bizarre, in that comments are disabled and a map with a small person figure on the route seemed to bear no relations to the reporter’s actual whereabouts.

We wrote the MT editors and asked for an explanation. None was forthcoming.

It’s a pity the MT could not be a bit more transparent with its readers.  If Amos stopped tweeting due to serious problems, we wish him well with them. If he stopped due to pique, that’s a pity too.

UPDATE:  Finally the MT issued an explanation, very weirdly putting a date on the item earlier than it was actually published.