The Expulsion of a Correspondent (26.6)

<<No 26 : 5 July 1972>>

On 5 May David Bonavia, Moscow correspondent of the London paper The Times, was ordered to leave the USSR. On the same day, the British government registered a protest. D. Bonavia is the twentieth foreign correspondent to be expelled from the USSR in the last two years.

On 6 May the London Times, protesting at the expulsion of its correspondent from Moscow, reprinted word for word its protest at the expulsion of the Times correspondent from Berlin at the end of the 1930s, changing only the name of the capital and the name of the correspondent. On 13 May 1972, The Times pointed out that throughout the entire history of the paper, apart front the two above-mentioned cases, there had been only one other instance of its correspondent being expelled: in 1903 Nikolai II had The Times correspondent [D. D. Brabant] expelled from Russia for his articles on the Jewish pogroms and the revolutionary movement.

The expulsion of Bonavia was preceded by an appropriate campaign in the Literary Gazette. The paper printed, for instance, a letter from an old-age pensioner in the Vitebsk Region demanding Bonavia’s expulsion [21 April, p. 9]. In connection with this letter a Times reader expressed his surprise that a publication in such short supply in the USSR as The Times was read by pensioners in the town of Vitebsk. The same reader also writes that when he was in the USSR he did not see The Times anywhere [note 1], but on his next visit he will certainly take a trip to Vitebsk and there obtain this paper which is so rare in the USSR.

Another Times reader writes; “Please allow me to congratulate your correspondent on the well-deserved honour of being expelled from the USSR. Such honours are conferred only upon the most talented and objective correspondents” [note 2].

The Stockholm paper Svenska Dagbladet writes that the expulsion of Bonavia is the best advertisement for him: it is clear that he is a good journalist and has a good understanding of Soviet affairs.



[1] Only a handful of “bourgeois” newspapers, such as The Times (or The Guardian), were available in the USSR, to those with special access at certain Moscow libraries and other institutions.

For research students with access to the special holdings, see CCE 10.15, item 4.

[2] The second sentence is a paraphrase of the original (9 May), whose author was Martin Dewhirst of Glasgow University. The first quoted letter (13 May) was from Louis Eaks.