Interview with Mikhail Gusman, First Deputy Director General of TASS News Agency by Julia Kuznetsova and Maria Chkan (SGP Scientific Club «Cognitio»)

Interview with Mikhail Gusman, First Deputy Director General of TASS News Agency

On December 8, Mikhail Gusman gave a lecture “The Formula of Power” during his visit to MGIMO-University initiated by the School of Governance and Politics. Mikhail Gusman is a Russian journalist, interpreter and interviewer, the First Deputy Director General of TASS News Agency, creator and host of the TV programme “Formula Vlasti” (“The Formula of Power”). “The Formula of Power” is a unique television project, which consists of interviews with international leaders, top diplomats and well-known politicians.

During the meeting with MGIMO students M. S. Gusman shared with young people his passion for the profession and answered questions concerning his work as a journalist. The audience wanted to know which interviewees he could call the most interesting and how to understand that talks went well.

Editorial staff and members of the SGP student scientific society “COGNITIO” attended the lecture and asked some vital questions.

Question: We are studying at the School of Governance and Politics, so which issues and transformations our generation will face if we go into the political sphere?

Mikhail Gusman: The Russian state in the current form is extremely young, which is why there is a significant confusion of Russian history. Different viewpoints coexist in our society and the governance mechanism is fairly archaic. The principle of power-sharing is mostly formal, some state institutions are decorative, we do understand this. There is no simple answer; so many years should pass before our state will gain clarity in its development.  We are inherent parts of the global process. Whatever problems we will face, whichever opponents we will have, we cannot get away.  

Question: The issue of digital safety is placed on the agenda more frequently. How does the Government manage to tackle its responsibilities under insufficient information security? 

Mikhail Gusman: To begin with, I hardly can speak for the Government. However, I have a very pessimistic view on the problems related to cybersecurity. I think that today humankind underestimates such threats and is in no condition to agree on the playing field in this area and any attempt to negotiate on the rules of coexistence with Internet generates a discourse about attack on freedom of speech. Of course, it is partly true. Today there is no system that can be guaranteed and protected from external impact in any form – accidental, anarchist, terrorist, etc.  For instance, TASS News Agency is attacked every day, and we strengthen the protection every time.  With regard to your question, there is another example. Not so long ago on the site of the Associated Press appeared information that there were two explosions in the White House and then-President Obama was badly injured [A group of Syrian hackers have claimed responsibility for tweeting a false report by the AP in 2013 – Ed.]. It was the middle of the night and at first, I did not understand what was going on when I got the call. Thousands of news agencies reposted this message, TASS was not an exception. Only in a few minutes it became clear that the news item was fake.

There are many examples and I cannot give an answer to your question with a light heart. I understand what the world is coming to and a question occurs what happens earlier: either people begin to negotiate or a tragic story happens. Nevertheless, humankind should become aware of the danger. The priority problem for us, people who work in the traditional news agencies, is the fight against fake news on sports, culture, politics, military attacks, etc.  This is a global problem, therefore, the Government introduces new technologies, but it should be clear that there are always opponents who try to resist them.