bAttlefield tanks are really only half the battle. Beyond military power on Ukrainian soil, there is another important confrontation in which the Kremlin’s supremacy must be challenged. Information War.
Russia’s media space has reverted to a grotesque parody of the Soviet-era model. (Actually, it’s so bad that, in the last Soviet years at least, most people knew they were being lied to). Television and the domestic press are completely taken over. Millions have been fed Daily diet Ukrainian “fascists”, Western pederasts, and nuclear revenge on Anglo-Saxon civilization.
is working A broad consensus within Russia still supports Putin and his vicious campaign in Ukraine. The Kremlin may be making hash of the war on the ground, but it is winning the propaganda war.
However, there is a small minority of courageous journalists who are trying to make a difference, publishing independent, credible news for audiences back home. It’s not easy. They are blocked, banned, threatened and expelled from Russia. They have been denounced as foreign agents and “undesirables”, and their journalists, funders and readers have been threatened. They live in exile, lacking employees, advertisers and revenue. But there is no shortage of readers.
Like independent news websites Medusa and the cold Thanks to mirror websites, virtual private networks (VPNs) that can evade censors, and hard-to-block channels like email and Telegram.
I met both senior editors in Riga last week as part of Guardian Foundation A project to compare notes and advise on how to fund independent journalism. MedusaIts editor-in-chief, Galina Timchenko, told me it was like a game of cat and mouse: every time she came up with a new way of distributing news in Russia, the authorities shut it down. And yet Meduza still claimed about 2.5 million monthly unique browsers in Russia last year.
the coldThe editor, Taisia Bekbulatova, said that curbing independent Russian journalism was an important part of saving Russia from itself.
“Our goal is to preserve independent journalism for the future of Russia,” Bekbulatova told me. “Despite working in exile, we believe in the importance of high-quality journalism and its potential to destroy dictatorships. We want to be not just a media, but a true institution of independent journalism.”
For the Western world, concerned about how to make a difference in the Ukraine war, supporting journalists like these seems like an obvious opportunity. As are millions of readers supported Guardian journalism has for years recognized the importance of free media to the functioning of democracy, and the same is true in Russia.
We can easily help outfits like Medusa and Holode for a fraction of the cost of a leopard tank. Hopefully the thriving independent Russian news organizations can be persuaded in large numbers to question the Kremlin’s lies. Glasnost has impeccable form in this respect.
Mark Rice-Oxley is the Guardian’s executive editor for supporters and a former Moscow correspondent.
You can find more information on how to support here the cold and Medusa