Russian TV anchor makes his name doing big interviews

Updated: 2014-10-16 08:02

By Fu Jing in Moscow (China Daily)

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Sergey Brilev, a TV anchor who is a household name in Russia, has made a career out of interviewing world leaders.

Shortly after Premier Li Keqiang landed in Moscow on Sunday, he sat down for a one-hour interview with Brilev, deputy director and anchor of Channel Rossiya 1 TV.

"I found the premier to be a very lively, visionary leader and fond of playing jokes, which I like very much," Brilev told China Daily during lunch at an Italian restaurant in downtown Moscow on Tuesday.

In February, Brilev had a 40-minute dialogue with President Xi Jinping in Sochi at the opening of the Winter Olympics.

The two meetings extended his list of heavyweight interviewees, such as Russian President Vladimir Putin, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, US President Barack Obama, British prime ministers David Cameron and Tony Blair, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Russian TV anchor makes his name doing big interviews

When news of Li's visit emerged nearly half a year ago, two Russian journalists were competing to interview the premier.

"I had to work very hard to prepare; I did my best and made it finally," he said.

He said his interview with Xi in February started his new relationship with China. Of course, to make the interview with Li happen also needed "good networking".

Brilev said he has a very good relationship with the Russian ambassador to China, and the Chinese embassy in Russia has shown professionalism and efficiency in dealing with the media.

"All these factors put together have made the interview possible," he said. "But the paramount factor is that Medvedev's role is instrumental in achieving this."

Medvedev had "invited him" along to Beijing and Hefei, Anhui province, during his previous tour to China, the anchor said.

Brilev said the interview mainly focused on the Sino-Russian partnership and he asked about six or seven questions.

"But I had some interruptions and we managed a very smooth dialogue," said Brilev, who is an expert on international affairs and spent several years in London as a journalist.

Brilev said he could not speak Chinese and the interview was done through a translator, which he thought was "a disadvantage".

Brilev said he had read a lot about Li during the previous months, but what surprised him was that the premier had also done a lot of homework about him before the interview.

Brilev said the preparation with leaders such as Li would take at least half a year.

"Premier Li even knew my father's birthday happened on the same day of his arrival in Moscow," Brilev said. "Li asked me to bring his best wishes and congratulations to my father on his 70th birthday."

Liu Jia in Brussels contributed to this story.

(China Daily 10/16/2014 page2)