Free Russian media in exile in Latvia defies Kremlin propaganda
Exiled to Latvia after war broke out in Ukraine, free Russian media sought to provide independent information to the millions of Russians subjected to Kremlin propaganda. “Those who control the information control the situation”Agence France-Presse Tikhon Tsyatko, editor-in-chief of independent Russian television Dozhdin, explains.
“Our goal is for as many people as possible to get real information, not this propaganda broadcast by Russian channels”, he adds. Fortunately, “Russia is not USSR with iron curtain, you can get information through internet, social media. Digital iron curtain is not solid”He underlines in the newsroom established in Riga.
A rare independent Russian media outlet, Dozht (Rain), a critic of the Kremlin, was banned in early March. After Moscow passed a law penalizing proliferation “Misinformation” Russian military and clashes in Ukraine, a veritable death warrant for independent media; “It was impossible to work in Russia, because we called the war a war, and we were imprisoned for up to 15 years”Mr. Dzyadko explains.
“The Latvian government offered to settle us in Riga. We resumed our broadcast in mid-July., he says. Dojd’s editorial staff was not the only one to take refuge in the Latvian capital. Others stayed there, including the Moscow editorial staff of Novaïa Gazeta Europe and Deutsche Welle. The independent platform Meduza has already been working there since 2014. Valeria Ratnikova, a journalist at the Dojd, estimates that around 300 Russian opposition journalists have settled in the Baltic country since February.
Latvia is a Baltic country with a large Russian-speaking minority, 30% of its population. Riga has banned Russian-based TV channels from its territory, citing warmongering, aggressive propaganda against Ukraine and threats to the country’s security. Other Russian or Belarusian journalists, artists, and dissidents have also taken refuge in neighboring Estonia and Lithuania.
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