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After USSR's collapse

The Russian Federation inherited the state-controlled media tailored to spread propaganda from the USSR. However, in the wild 1990s, many independent newspapers, TV channels, and radio stations were born. The most prominent are Novaya Gazeta, TV Rain (Dozhd), and Echo of Moscow (Ekho Moskvy). All of them were forced to leave the country after the war started.

Following the growth of the internet in the beginning of a new century, many different online media outlets have also popped up, pro-government and independent alike.

The state-controlled media are funded directly from the budget or through pro-government media holdings, e.g. Gazprom-Media.

Putin's era

During the past 20 years, many independent media outlets like NTV got under the government's control. In most cases, outlets have been bought out by Putin's allies who took over the editorial process pushing some topics and forbidding others. Something similar we could see happening in Hungary under the ruling of Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

Media outlets that kept following the principles of true journalism were under great pressure, their journalists got killed (e.g. Anna Politkovskaya was murdered in the elevator of her apartment building) or framed and prosecuted under false accusations.

After the Crimea annexation, the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media (Roskomnadzor) started actively persecuting media outlets, blogs, and any other websites which criticise the government's actions and decisions. To avoid blocking from Roskomnadzor, many media outlets started censoring themselves. The Editor-in-Chief of Galina Timchenko was fired following her refusal to change the article that had drawn Roskomnadzor's attention. She left the country and, together with other former's journalists, founded Meduza.

Prosecution of independent media

In 2017, media was added as a subject to the “foreign agent” law. Since then, all media outlets designated as a "foreign agent" must add a special text to all their materials. The idea is to harm these media's credibility by claiming that they are funded from foreign sources, and working on their behalf.

From march 2022, independent journalism is de-facto forbidden in Russia. Under the new fake news laws, no one can tell the truth about the actions of the Russian army and the war without facing criminal charges. Many media outlets got closed and moved their staff to safe countries. Some closed forever. However, despite the law, lots of former correspondents and editors opened media outlets that are working without licence and are blocked on Russian territory. The main way of getting the true journalistic materials telling the truth now is to find them on YouTube, Telegram, or Instagram.

The long arm of Russian propaganda

Russia Today is a media outlet founded back in 2005 to improve the image of Russia abroad but, in reality, to spread Kremlin’s propaganda. The TV channel and its social media pages has been spreading misinformation in English, Spanish, Arabic, German, and French for almost 20 years. After Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Russia Today has been banned in Europe and other Western countries. However, it is still working in Arabic states and South America, presenting the Russian government’s vision of the war in Ukraine to millions of people.

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Russian independent media you can read in English:


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