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Chasing the story with David Filipov

Posted by Dan Egan  February 5, 2014 04:54 AM

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I’ve traveled all over the world to many far-off lands, but my country roll call pales in comparison to David Filipov, a senior staff writer at the Boston Globe who was Moscow bureau chief from 1996 to 2004.

Filipov covered Russia's transformation from Communism, and reported from conflict zones in Chechnya, Afghanistan and Iraq. He went on to work as assistant Metro editor, and currently writes feature stories about a variety of topics throughout New England. He recently spent two month in Dagestan, Russia on the Boston Marathon bombing investigation for the newspaper.

My world is sun, snow athletes, and sport. His world is a mix of shadows, people, and interpretation of half-truths. So when I heard I was going to spend the day with him tracking down stray dogs in Sochi and the people who help them, I knew it would be an adventure. Filipov has what you need to get around in countries like Russia – he’s got “people,” and people who know “people”.

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Our day ranged from waiting in a gas line at a Sochi petrol station to driving up and down dirt roads to roads, neighborhood roadside meetings with Dog Activist, and negotiating swampland to a makeshift kennel. All in all, my kind of day.

“I think Egan found his road to Damascus,” Filopov mentioned to his editor, “He likes hanging around with me.”

I did, for the adventure, and it was fascinating to see how a he worked and how he maneuvered around the city and its people using his fluent Russian and connecting the dots between the facts. Plus, the side stories of his life as a journalist were mind-blowing.

Stray dogs may not compare to his world of war and terrorism, but his skills kept me from getting bitten by the dogs and not stepping in their messes at the kennel. In between tracking down dog kennels and dog catchers, he was giving interviews to NPR and television stations back home via cell phone and skype.

We are heading out on another story tonight and I can’t wait!

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