Henry Meyer is a Bloomberg reporter based in Moscow, where he covers politics in Russia and more broadly, the political and economic landscape of Eastern Europe.
In Depth recently spoke to Henry to discuss the nature of his job and the challenges he faces as a reporter in a turbulent region of the world.
You’re part of the team covering the crisis in Ukraine for Bloomberg News. Can you discuss your experience reporting from what’s essentially a war zone?
As a Western reporter in particular, it’s potentially dangerous, as the situation is lawless in parts of eastern and southern Ukraine. There have been cases of kidnappings and assaults at the hands of pro-Russian militias. In Odessa, where I reported most recently, armed clashes took place between supporters of the central government and pro-Russians. Among even ordinary people, there can be hostility toward representatives of foreign media.
What challenges do you face covering politics in Russia? Is it difficult to get access to key sources?
Access has improved enormously in recent years. Bloomberg Television just recently in the space of a week interviewed both the prime minister and foreign minister. Our main asset now is that we have established a real brand in Russia, with an increasing number of reporters who have contacts built up over years of professional activity.
Where do you see Russian politics moving? What does the future hold?
President Putin seems to have a fairly strong grip on power and has the constitutional right to seek another six-year term in 2018. There are risks for him. If the crisis in Ukraine worsens significantly and the U.S. and Europe start to impose so-called sectoral sanctions on the economy, his support among the elite could start to erode. Bloomberg is following the situation closely.
How do Russia and the surrounding region fit into the overall economic climate of Europe? How would you describe the economic state of the region today?
There are strong concerns about a spillover effect on the world economy and in particular on Europe, which has only recently emerged from the aftermath of the global financial crisis. Leading economist Nouriel Roubini warned recently that rising tensions over Ukraine between Russia and the West could lead to a new period of global risk aversion and even disrupt Russia’s ability to supply gas to Europe, which could push the eurozone back into recession.