6 Views· 05/19/24· News & Politics

Russia's War on Information


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Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Putin's propaganda campaign has become increasingly extreme. But Putin’s information war hasn’t gone to plan. The critical journalists he banned haven’t stayed silent, and are challenging the idea that 'In Putin’s world there can be no dissent'.

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When Putin launched the invasion of Ukraine, hundreds of journalists moved to neighbouring Latvia, which has fast-tracked visas to become the European hub of the information war. Leading independent Russian channel, TV Rain, now broadcasting from Riga, claims that they are reaching tens of millions of Russians by putting their content on YouTube. "After the relaunch, we are having approximately 22 million unique viewers monthly, and 65 per cent are from Russia," says presenter Yekaterina Kotrikadze. Russia’s last independent newspaper, Novaya Gazeta, is publishing online through encrypted channels, providing links to VPNs to bypass Russian firewalls. As Russia has been pushed back in Ukraine, the rhetoric has become ever more strident. At the start of the war, state media were pushing the line that Ukraine was a Nazi state. Now the line is that it's being run by "LGBT Nazis" who are trying to make Russia gender neutral. TV Rain's editor-in-chief, Tikhon Dzyadko, said the Russian government was struggling to sell the war. "So Russian propaganda switched to the idea that Russia is the last fortress of traditional values". Meanwhile, Russia's independent channels face their own conflicts of interest and difficulties. Every day is a "daily slog". As the Ukraine war enters its second year, both sides on the information war are settling in for a long fight.

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