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Alexey Tikhonov

Alexey Tikhonov is the Moscow correspondent for Kazakhstan’s Respublika newspaper, reporting on financial corruption and erosion of rule of law in the region. As a newspaper critical of the repressive Kazakhstani government, Respublika has been plagued by lawsuits and harassment, including a firebombing of its offices. The Kazakhstani government officially banned Respublika, but Tikhonov and his colleagues continue to operate it as an underground paper. Tikhonov graduated from Moscow State University with aPh. D. in 1997 and continued his graduate studies at the University of Houston’s Department of Economics until 2000, when he became a visiting fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institute. Upon returning to Russia, he became the editor for several financial magazines such as Smartmoney and Chief Financial Officer. In his role as Russian correspondent for Respublika, Tikhonov has witnessed the extensive censorship of the magazine’s Russian-hosted website, which is inaccessible from Kazakhstan and subject to frequent cyber attacks. He often reports on the Kazakhstani government’s infamous human rights record. The staff of Respublika has faced death threats, physical attacks, and politically motivated prosecution and audits. Respublika premises were firebombed in 2002; in 2005, the government ordered the paper’s closure for “inciting ethnic hatred.” The paper countered closure by continuing to operate and publish under different names. Numerous international press watchdog groups, including Reporters Without Borders and the Committee to Protect Journalists, have decried the Kazakhstani government’s attempts tosilence the paper. Because it is denied access to printing facilities and distributors, the Respublika staff is forced to resort to a modern-day version of samizdat, printing the newspaper on their own office equipment and distributing it themselves. The newspaper’s content is increasingly accessed online through proxy servers and social networking sites since its website is blocked in Kazakhstan and print runs are frequently seized.

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