''How can the 32-year-old girl be dangerous for the Kremlin?!''

Two viewpoints on the shocking knife attack on Tatyana Feldenhauer, a journalist at Echo of Moscow radio station

On 23 October, a journalist at Echo of Moscow, Tatyana Feldenhauer, was stabbed in the neck in the office of the editorial board. A Boris Grits, an Israeli citizen, broke into the building where he used a pepper spray against the guard and then attacked the presenter with a knife. After the incident, the journalistic community in Russia has divided in two camps: some journalists believe that the reason for the attack was propaganda and they reminded of the recent story of the ''Echo of the State Department'' shown on Russia-24 state-owned news channel, others see this as solely a domestic conflict. Realnoe Vremya tried to present different views on the incident and interviewed presenter at Echo of Moscow Olga Bychkova and former employee of Life information portal, journalist Anastasia Kashevarova.

''The man obviously knew where he was going and for what purpose''

Mrs Bychkova, social networks abound in different versions: someone writes about personal animosity, someone assumes that Tatyana even ''ordered an attack'' herself. What is your opinion? What was it?

I don't know about personal animosity, but that the person ordered herself… If you see such assumptions, you should clearly understand that the author is either an idiot or accomplished villain.

It cannot be any real versions for today — they are all very fragile and very, very tentative because even a day has not passed since the incident. A large number of law enforcement officials came to our office: investigators, police — they all worked the whole day and did everything they were supposed to. I really hope that this work will be accomplished.

Olga Bychkova: ''It cannot be any real versions for today — they are all very fragile and very, very tentative because even a day has not passed after the incident.'' Photo: facebook.com

Of course, now we all have a lot of questions: ''Who is that person?'', ''What's his line of conduct?'', ''Is he really mad as he describes himself or tries to pretend?'', ''Why did he come there?'', ''How did it happen that he was so obviously prepared?'' The man obviously knew where he was going and for what purpose.

The question about the access in your office. For example, I want to get in there and do something bad, will I have to bother beforehand to find a specific person, or I can just enter through the front door?

I don't know if you can do it, but I hope that you are not going to spray gas in the face of the guard on the ground floor — I have a better opinion of you, presumably. But this man did exactly the same – it is seen on the video, which was published.

The man meticulously planned everything, and this spray was in his pocket not by chance. For some reason he came exactly at the time when Tanya was in the office, although, as you know, she is not here 24 hours a day. Maybe it is a hell of a coincidence that played into his hands, and perhaps in the future we will learn something else. It is too early to assume something and put forward any version. First people who know how to do it and to deal in such matters should do their job.

Responses of the attacker during the interrogation and his blog posts look like ravings of a madman, but some believe that all this is staging and his mental health is ok. What do you think?

I rely more on facts, which are scarce. There are different people with very different ideas about life and health among the audience of Echo of Moscow, among those who visits our website and social network – it is a fact. Of course, sometimes there can be some crazy people, sometimes there can be intruders. I can't tell anything definite — after all, first I would like to hear coherent, convincing, factual explanations.

''There are different people with very different ideas about life and health among the audience of Echo of Moscow, among those who visits our website and social network – it is a fact. Of course, sometimes there can be some crazy people, sometimes there can be intruders.'' Photo: tver.mger2020.ru

''Nobody needs attacks on journalists of pro-government channels''

Mrs Bychkova, what do you think about the beginning persecution of journalists at VGTRK [the All-Russia State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company]? Some believe that the attack could be provoked by two news pieces on Russia-24 channel, in which the journalists of Echo of Moscow were accused of working for ''the State Department'' and criticism of the authorities.

I think that we should not overreact. But, you see, bullying is when the strong attacks the weak, or when a lot of people, using a numerical advantage, attack those who are less. When VGTRK made these ''wonderful'' programs about Sasha and Tanya…

I don't like when people are called bad names, but anyway, bullying is when VGTRK publishes, makes and shows all this enchanting crap about the journalists of Echo. I don't know whether there is a link between these videos and what has happened with Tanya — I'm not going to argue. At the same time, it is clear that people who have mental problems and behavior live not in space or vacuum. This is general sentiment when on television they say, ''They are enemies!'' — it can influence only weak minds.

In my opinion, what Russia-24 reported about Tanya and Sasha is an absolute lie. No, it's not even a lie because it is made so clumsy, stupid and pointless… Calling it a fake means having too high opinion of the authors of this ''work''.

Do attacks on journalists of pro-government media often take place?

I don't want anyone attacked. Nobody needs journalists of pro-government channels attacked. God forbid people were attacked because it is terrible when people whose job is to speak or write words are responded with violence. It is good if such doesn't happen in relation to representatives of pro-government TV channels. Just representatives of state TV channels should sometimes take place of others.

Some people believe that little is known about the attacks on pro-government media because they prefer to remain silent about it...

The state TV channels do not put a penny of their journalists and their lives if they consider it unnecessary to report about such cases to their viewers. Public TV channels' audience is obviously larger than of Echo, where there were already attacked Yulia Latynina, threatened Karina Orlova, after which they were forced to evacuate from Russia, and certainly larger than of Novaya Gazeta, where several journalists were killed. If they do not consider it necessary to protect their journalists, then I'm very sorry.

''Do you really think they are truly worried about what happened to Tanya Felgenhauer?''

Anastasia (a journalist Anastasia Kashevarova), whta do you think about what has happened? What do you think it was?

First, in broad daylight in the workplace the person is stabbed in the neck. It is already the reason to reflect on the security there. Second, from what we know for today, the assailant is mentally ill. It is autumn now and all schizos get worsening.

Anastasia Kashevarova: ''Tatyana Feldenhauer poses no danger for anybody.'' Photo: vk.com

Your editorial board, probably, also receive strange letters. Crazy people don't know how to find feedback with officials or with their idols, and they write to the edition. I remember Izvestia received tons of such letters and once a woman came and told that the FSB implanted a bug in her head and she heard all their talks. Nobody is protected from that. It is a typical situation — there's no political colouring.

Nevertheless, some people doubt that he is really mentally ill. His diary and the words spoken during the interrogation cause suspect of the public.

It looks suspicious for those who are not mentally healthy. Unfortunately, more than 80% of Moscow journalists (I do not take into account the regions) do not think for themselves — their thoughts have a political colouring, although the journalist must be objective and adequate.

In general, it would be a good idea to check all journalists for their mental health because the claims that the Kremlin ordered Tatyana's assasination… Why the Kremlin needs to order Feldenhauer? What kind of danger does the 32-year-old girl pose? She's just a presenter, she doesn't know virtually any information, it does not produce news, she's not ''digging''. Another thing is writing journalists who need to get exclusive material, who conduct investigations, make great reports from the events. I understand that when Kashin was beaten, there was a political subtext. As for Oleg, it was a conscious, deliberate assault, not someone went crazy in October and went to kill. But Tatyana Feldenhauer poses no danger for anybody.

I'm very sorry about the girl because Echo of Moscow chief editor have two or three personal bodyguards, but at the entrance they have the aged men or two old women, who can safely ignore anyone. If he's so concerned about his safety, it would be good for him to care about the safety of his employees.

In Telegram you wrote that the harassment of VGTRK journalists is over the top...

On the top of that, I believe that it is over the top: my opinion about this was subsequently distorted and they began to tell that I am an 'offendee' and that I was attacked and I was defending myself this way. The problem is that the pro-government media have always been taught this position: ''When you are beaten, you are silent. You don't have to defend yourself, and if you are hit on the right cheek — give the left one.'' At the same time, our 'liberal' opposition journalism is irresponsible, biased.

This bad practice when we are unable to defend ourselves, by the way, was preached by Aram Ashotovich Gabrelyanov, and Vyacheslav Viktorovich Volodin. They always gave the instructions, ''Guys, you are beaten, and you grow stronger. You don't have to deal with them.'' I understand that it is from the breadth of the soul, it is what ''samurai'' is. But if you don't learn how to protect yourself, then you will not learn to protect your family, your colleagues, your country. But those 'playing off' that is taking place is mostly coming from so-called liberals.

I remember two guys from Life — Marat Saychenko and Oleg Sidyakin — were in captivity. We didn't know what were happening to them, we worried. You think someone stood up for them? Despite the fact that Marat Saychenko is one of the best photographers in our country, the creator of Gigaram who knows liberal and non-liberal journalists, normal and abnormal. All of them acted like traitors — in the same way as when the photojournalist at VGTRK was killed. The most important thing to them to spread the news.

Do you really think they are truly worried about what happened to Tanya Felgenhauer? Absolutely not. It is hypocritical lamentations at the Western wall. There is no ounce of sincerity… I can believe Kashin because he experienced similar thing, or maybe those who have children. But the rest is absolute hypocrisy and hyip. They compete to publish messages about what's happening to Tanya because they have followers, they are being quoted. The journalists are greedy and cynical people, few of them preserved humanity, unfortunately.

''I think that the media will probably strengthen security in their editorial offices, which would be good because we have plenty of crazy people.'' Photo: meduza.io

''Our media is full of betrayal, lies and hatred''

In your opinion, could the version that a mentally ill person watched VGTRK about the ''Echo of the State Department'' be the cause of the incident?

There are logical formulas. For example, the man watched VGTRK, went and killed. They reduced it to the essence that all murderers watch VGTRK, and it turns out that I am a killer, too. This is a generalization, which occurs in the minds of people, this inability to analyze is the problem of the state.

He is an Israeli citizen. I don't think he watched Russia Channel and then came here. Maybe he watched how near al-Aqsa Mosques people were shot and went to kill Felgenhauer. I don't know what's going on in the minds of mentally-ill people.

You see, people do not analyze the facts. They have built some theory and adjust all facts under it.

Do you think this really egregious, though, unfortunately, not isolated incident will affect our journalists in terms of the appearance of strict self-censorship? Perhaps some will then begin to write carefully, cutting some topics?

I think that the media will probably strengthen security in their editorial offices, which would be good because we have plenty of crazy people.

I think that adequate, objective journalists, without any political colouring, will finally see that we need to live together, to protect and support each other, and if a person has any problems, we should help him or her. How can we help Tatyana Felgenhauer? Well, by standing near the hospital with paper flowers, nested in the door. This is nonsense. I think we can help only by unity and solidarity, as it is happening in Europe, where the relations between the media of different political colouring are built on honest human relations. But our media is full of betrayal, lies, subjectivity, lies, speculation and hatred.

By Lina Sarimova