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Obituary: Irina Demchenko

Irina Demchenko (photo), former head of Reuters Russian language service in Moscow, died on 1 May in London aged 66.

She joined Reuters in 1994 with the task to create a Russian language service and did it brilliantly and quickly, writes Anatoly Verbin, who worked closely with her in Moscow.


Having a solid background in the then liberal and quality newspaper Izvestia, she quickly built a team of young, capable and ambitious Russian journalists. The service became a widely quoted, financially successful source of information for the business world.


Irina is warmly remembered by many dozens of Reuters colleagues in many countries.


She left Reuters in 2002 to become head of news at the Russian state news agency RIA Novosti which was reorganised at the time with an aim to become a real news outlet rivalling Reuters and other western giants.


She quickly angered the Kremlin and was “exiled” to the post of RIA London bureau chief.


She left RIA in 2013, stayed in London and became a fierce critic of the Kremlin. ■