— We set up Listok in order to tell the truth and help people. To speak about events in the country and the Altai Republic. We did advertising to make the newspaper pay for itself.
I used to work in Gorny Altai, people knew me there. I was running as a candidate for the El Kurultai (Parliament of the Altai Republic — note by the project team) at the invitation of Sergei Mikhailov, I was in contact with the public sector. At the time, there were corrupt schemes, and when we uncovered them, Roskomnadzor started to persecute us. They tried to arrest Mikhailov.
Listok published on various indications of corruption by Alexander Berdnikov, the then head of the Altai Republic, and his subordinates, such as purchase of mansions with money from the regional budget. The newspaper’s conflict with Berdnikov peaked in 2017. At that time, Listok published a recording of Berdnikov’s conversations with Andrei Adarin, a blogger, where the governor spoke insultingly and using foul language about ethnic Altaians. Local residents and civic organizations then demanded Berdnikov’s resignation. He publicly apologized and remained in office until 2019. Although Berdnikov acknowledged the authenticity of the recordings, the pressure on Listok intensified. In March 2018, Sergei Mikhailov was given an administrative arrest for not sufficiently censoring the profanity in Berdnikov’s transcripts.
On 13 April 2022, Sergey Mikhailov was detained and arrested the next day on charges of spreading "fakes" about the Russian army. According to SOTA
, the reason for the arrest was, inter alia, that Mr Mikhailov had quoted the Wikipedia article "Massacre in Bucha". At the same time, the editorial office of Listok was
searched. Mikhailov is now in pre-trial detention and faces up to 10 years in prison. Memorial declared
Mikhailov a political prisoner.