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One year on: Disinformation and the dismantling of Russian independent media

Article by Lana Estemirova

February 24, 2023

One year on: Disinformation and the dismantling of Russian independent media

​​As we approach the grim one year anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, we cannot underestimate its crushing impact on independent journalism and human rights inside Russia. 


Without a doubt, the systematic demolition of civil society in Russia helped to lay the ground for the invasion, as did the notorious Foreign Agents Law. Incessant Kremlin propaganda that dominates state channels, coupled with the shutdown of independent media, blocks citizens from easy access to truthful information. In a new draconian measure, the Russian parliament passed a law that imposes a 15-year sentence for spreading ‘fake’ information about the invasion. For example, a 20-year-old student, Olesya Krivtsova, who is currently under house arrest, is facing up to ten years in prison for posting anti-war messages on her social media. 


Press freedom rapidly deteriorated even further after the invasion. Independent media organisations such as Novaya Gazeta, TV Rain and Echo of Moscow (among many others) were closed by the Russian media watchdog Roskomnadzor. Most outlets that were declared Foreign Agents have had to re-establish themselves outside Russia. Despite continuous threats and financial challenges, independent journalists carry on their investigative work. It is crucial for Russian independent media to survive and continue telling the truth about their country’s actions.

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