“The public doesn’t care if I bought the data or got it from a source,” said Roman Annen, founder of Russia’s non-profit investigation site iStories, which has 15 employees. A country where the authorities are killing opposition leaders will forget these rules, because these stories are more important than our moral laws. “
The gateway to Vladimir Putin’s world opened up when some American journalists covering Russia’s interference in the 2016 elections published hot articles and threads on Twitter. They portray Mr Putin in the American imagination as a very strong puppet master and everyone whose name ends with the letter “v” as his trustee. But the actual Russians, who control their positions on the verge of legitimacy or from the outside, have opened windows to Mr Putin’s real Russia. They uncovered incredible personal corruption, mysterious individuals lurking behind international political interference, and deadly but sometimes incapacitated security services.
Here are some examples of this revelation:
Non-Profit Investigator Project Identified Mr Putin’s “secret family” revealed that a woman associated with the president had acquired an estimated $ 100 million in wealth from sources affiliated with the Russian state.
Stories Used A series of hacked emails documenting how Putin’s former son-in-law has built up a tremendous wealth of public relations.
London-based Bellingcat has identified the Russian-based Insider by name and photo of Russian agents who in 2018 poisoned dissident Sergei Skrippa and his daughter in England.
Media group RBC probes Troll farm’s political mechanism interferes in US elections.
Presents Jellyfish Deep corruption throughout the Moscow city government, up to the funeral.
The Navalny Foundation flew unmanned aerial vehicles over Mr Putin’s mansion, a vast property in the Black Sea that Mr Navalny described as “the largest bribe in the world”. A harsh and satirical video showing about two hours after he was released after returning to Russia last month. The video has been viewed over 100 million times on YouTube.
Currently, some US media tend to reflexively condemn the growth of alternative voices and open platforms on social media, looking at them only as disseminators of information or tools of Donald J. Trump. Russia is a strong reminder of the other side of this story, the power of these new platforms to challenge one of the world’s most corrupt governments. That is why, for example, Mr Navalny has been a strong critic of Twitter’s decision to ban Mr Trump, Connection This is an “unacceptable act of censorship”.
The new Russian investigative media on the Internet are exactly the same. And a lot started with lawyer and blogger Navalny, who on YouTube developed an investigation method based more on the platform’s light and memo formats than on documentaries or news magazine investigations.
Mr Navalny does not portray himself as a journalist. “We use investigation reports as a tool to achieve our political goals,” said his assistant, Mrs Bevščič. (One of the rules they do not follow: get a comment from the purpose of the investigation). In fact, his relationship with freelance journalists can be complicated. Most of them want to maintain their identity as independent actors, not as activists. They criticize him, but also send him their stories, hoping that he will promote them to his wide audience, and openly criticize them, in turn, for tolerance of the Kremlin.
The new media also learned from Mr Navalny. Many of them shared his technique on YouTube. And he proved that some lines can be crossed. In addition, they all undoubtedly benefit from the homogeneity of television networks. Imagine how much YouTube you would watch if the only news channels available were Fox News, Newsmax and OAN.
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