Vladislav Listyev

Vladislav Listyev, one of the most popular faces on Russian TV was assassinated March 1 in Moscow.

Born in 1956, Listyev studied at Moscow University’s School of Journalism after service in the army, but emerged into the public eye only in the early years of-perestroika.

He made his first mark with “Vzglad,” a hard-hitting investigative show unafraid to debunk the last generation of Soviet bureaucracy. It was made by the production company VID, one of the most influential in Russia’s independent TV scenes, of which Listyev was recently head.

His follow-up discussion show was called “Chas Pik.” He was soon to take up duties as the CEO of ORT, which will begin broadcasting April 1.

Listyev also had shown himself a master of popular entertainment, shaping and presenting Russia’s most popular game show, “Pole Chudes” (Field of Miracles).

In September 1994, Listyev accepted the post of vice president of the newly established Academy of Russian Television Arts, and last month he was put in charge of the newly established Public Russian Television (ORT), successor to Ostankino. He was noted for his ability to combine the demands of the former state network with those of new private shareholders.

A modest, charming man, Listyev was praised by leading figures in Russia’s political and cultural world.

Prime Minister Victior Chernomydrin, on a visit to the U.K., said: “Vlad Listyev belonged to that generation of journalists who not only accepted democratic changes with all their heart, but did quite a bit to ensure reform became a reality.”

Alia Pugacheva, Russia’s musical megastar, joined crowds who gathered in silence to leave flowers at Listyev’s house, where he was killed. “Vlad Listyev was one of the brightest and best in this country, and his killing is one of the most senseless and cruel actions of our times,” she said.

Listyev is survived by his wife and two young children.

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