As It Happens

'I'm part of a miracle': Russian journalist returns to work after being stabbed in the neck

Less than two months after getting stabbed in the throat, popular Moscow radio journalist Tatyana Felgenhauer is going back to work Saturday.

Tatyana Felgenhauer was attacked at Moscow radio studio in October

Tatyana Felgenhauer, a top host and deputy editor-in-chief at Ekho Moskvy, was stabbed in the throat at the station's offices in Moscow in October and spent hours in medically induced coma. She returns to work on Saturday, less than two months after the attack. (Alexander Zemlianichenko/Associated Press)

Story transcript

Less than two months after getting stabbed in the throat, popular Moscow radio journalist Tatyana Felgenhauer is going back to work Saturday.

Felgenhauer, a morning show host and deputy editor at the Russian independent news radio station Ekho Moskvy, was stabbed at their studio in October. She has rebounded after an operation and is now prepping for her first interview and program, post-attack.

"I think I'm OK, really. It was not easy but a lot of very, very, very good people helped me," she told As It Happens host Carol Off. "And it was really, it was a miracle. So it helps really just understanding that I'm part of a miracle."

Tatyana Felgenhauer, a radio journalist for Russia's Ekho Moskvy, narrowly survived a stabbing attack in October. She said the attacker was intent on killing her. (Alexander Zemlianichenko/Associated Press)

It's part of a string of attacks on journalists and opposition activists in Moscow. Yulia Latynina, a fellow Ekho Moskvy host, was hit with a suspected arson attack on her car in September. She fled the country but Felgenhauer is staying put.

"It's very, very hard," she said. "There are so many crimes against journalists. And I think it's a huge problem for our country."

As part of her return, Felgenhauer attended Russian President Vladimir Putin's annual press conference Thursday and asked him a heated question among a glut of adoring ones.

She told Off about that experience and her recovery; here's part of their conversation:

​You asked President Putin why innocent Russians were going to jail when people who were friends of Vladimir Putin's were not being punished for any of the things that they were doing or not doing.

It's like we have two different realities of injustice. So there is special justice for special people who are friends or, I don't know, just loyal to the president and they just can't ignore the law.

And I think that it's not right. And we cannot just say, 'Oh OK, so they are just friends of president. It's OK.'

Felgenhauer asks a question during Russian President Vladimir Putin's annual news conference in Moscow, Russia on Thursday, Dec. 14. Felgenhauer, who represented Ekho Moskvy, asked Putin about political prisoners and what she described as selective justice. (Pavel Golovkin/Associated Press)

You can't ask any follow up questions, you get only one chance. How did Mr. Putin ... answer your question?

Honestly he didn't … he didn't answer and I wasn't surprised. I knew that he wouldn't answer me because in this case I think … the question is more important than the answer.

Because he just said that 'Oh it's a trial, so we should be independent. And it's not my job and it's not my business.'

When you stood up to ask this question, people in the room know you. They knew that you ... still [have] scars on your neck from where this man stabbed you. Vladimir Putin, other journalists, everyone in the room would know that you were attacked at work for doing your job. Is that right?

Yeah, everyone knew that I am who I am.

For four hours Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin answered questions in what the Kremlin billed it as his 'Big Press Conference.' Most of the queries were adoring words followed by requests for help. (Pascal Dumont/CBC)

What do you remember of those moments when that man burst in?

I was sitting in our guest room and ... suddenly somebody took me to my neck and next moment I felt the heat. That's all. And I was surprised. I didn't expect this.

And then I think I tried to fight and then two guys from our security came and I just run. So that's all.

And then we called the emergency. And I was waiting and tried to stop bleeding. So I was trying to, you know, 'Don't panic, just don't panic.' But it was scary.

An ambulance leaves the Ekho Moskvy radio station office in Moscow, Russia on Monday, Oct. 23, 2017, following the stabbing attack. (Alexander Zemlianichenko/Associated Press)

Has the attack on you, has it changed the way you work?

No ... I think no. I cannot return to my morning show right now because I need more time for rehabilitation because this show lasts three hours and it's a long time to talk.

But tomorrow, I return to my work. As always, nothing will change, I promise.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity. With files from the Associated Press.

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