Masha Gessen: […] a week ago Saturday, I got a call from my publisher: The president’s administration was requesting that a Vokrug Sveta writer-photographer team accompany Putin on a hang-glider flight geared at reintroducing Siberian cranes into the wild. My heart sank: I was sure the journalist would witness something along the lines of tigers borrowed from a zoo or trees tied to stumps. I would then feel we had an obligation to write about it, and then there would be trouble. At the least I would get fired; at the most the magazine’s takeover would turn hostile.

So I said I would not send a reporter.

And I was fired on the spot.