Russian journalist Igor Rudnikov to be honored with Tully Award for Free Speech

Russian journalist Igor Rudnikov is the recipient of the 2020 Tully Award for Free Speech, presented by the Newhouse School’s Tully Center for Free Speech. Rudnikov is owner and editor of Novye Kolyosa, an independent newspaper in the western Russian city of Kalningrad. The award will be presented during a virtual award ceremony and discussion May 4 at noon ET. Register online.

Igor Rudnikov
Igor Rudnikov

Rudnikov has faced numerous threats as he has fought to continue publishing his paper. In 2016, he was stabbed five times by a group of unidentified individuals with government ties and nearly died. In 2017, he was arrested by Russia’s Federal Security Service on trumped up extortion charges and spent 592 days in prison. He has sold his apartment to fund the paper and, because no local printer will work with him, Rudnikov has been forced to print the paper in Moscow and transport it back to Kalningrad, an expensive process. He continues to fight for his paper despite repeated set-backs.

“We are proud to recognize and honor Igor for the great sacrifices he has made and the dangers he continues to face to bring independent news to his readers,” says Tully Center director Roy Gutterman. “He has shown tremendous courage to continue performing his important work. We, here in Syracuse, can learn a lot from Igor’s story.”

For the Tully Award, a slate of journalists is nominated by outside press freedom experts and advocates and selected by a group of Newhouse students and faculty. This year’s panel of experts included  

Pierre Haski, co-founder and former director of of the French independent news website Rue 89; Thibaut Bruttin, chief of staff at Reporters Without Borders; and Caoilfhionn Gallagher, barrister at  Daughty Street Chambers in London. The Newhouse panel included Gutterman; Aileen Gallagher, associate professor of magazine, news and digital journalism; Joel Kaplan, associate dean; Audrey Burian, special events coordinator; and students Sierra Holland and Kieran Taylor.

This year’s Tully Award ceremony will coincide with UNESCO’s World Press Freedom Day. For more information about the event, contact Audrey Burian at 315.443.1930 or