On July 22, 2022, The New York Times announced the opening of its bureau in Kyiv “to keep covering a war that has upended life for millions of Ukrainians and reverberated far beyond the country’s borders. The conflict has left people around the globe at risk of starvation, and has scrambled alliances, undermined efforts to shift to clean energy and challenged an already fragile rules-based world order.”
The newspaper introduced Andrew Kramer as the chief of its new bureau, exalting that “there is no one better suited to lead The Times as we set up a bureau in Kyiv…”
Let’s put aside the praise lavished on him in the press release and turn to some facts and episodes about Andrew Kramer that matter to the Ukrainians. Let’s look at the reasons why he does not enjoy the reputation of an independent and objective journalist in Ukraine, the country that has been a victim of the Russian aggression for years.
Andrew Kramer has lived and worked in Russia for over 10 years. He worked in the Moscow bureau of The New York Times. He is married to a Russian journalist Anna Nemtsova (no relation to Boris Nemtsov killed by the Kremlin).
There are clear indications that he was involved in the information and psychological operations of the Russians and had an active role in spreading some of Kremlin’s narratives.
In early May 2016, Myrotvorets Center made public the lists of journalists who received accreditation from the occupation authorities that controlled parts of Luhansk and Donetsk Oblasts. Andrew Kramer was one of them. He made the following comment about the fact: “…powerful people in Ukraine, a democracy that aspires to the free flow of information, were going after me and others on the list for simply doing our jobs: reporting both sides of the war […] The list, published by a Ukrainian nationalist website called Myrotvorets, or the Peacemaker, appeared to have been born out of a simmering frustration.”
“Nationalist website” is a very familiar wording used by the Kremlin.
Speaking of “nationalists”. Some readers may know the name of the civil activist Yuriy Hudymenko, who was recently gravely wounded in action on the front line defending Ukrainian land and citizens from the Russian aggression in the ranks of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. (We wish a speedy recovery to our defender.) It was Hudymenko who was mentioned in Kramer’s article on the eve of the large-scale stage of the Russian military aggression against Ukraine. The article appeared on February 10 under the deceitful title “Armed Nationalists in Ukraine Pose a Threat Not Just to Russia.”
And in the midst of the pandemic and a massive Kremlin disinformation campaign about the poor efficacy and safety of Western vaccines, he joined the media promotion campaign for the Sputnik-V vaccine, an insufficiently researched drug falling far short of the international quality standards (Russia did not conduct standard clinical trials, and the data provided had clear signs of falsification).