As Russia continues to censor information about its war in Ukraine, one of the country’s only remaining independent news outlets is asking people around the world to donate to its newsroom so it can continue to report the truth to millions of readers in an increasingly isolated and controlled society.
On Monday, Meduza launched a crowdfunding campaign seeking to raise donations from 30,000 new global supporters after it was cut off from donors in Russia and its journalists were forced to leave the country due to a law criminalizing independent news reporting of Vladimir Putin’s deadly, full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
“We ask you to take the place of our dedicated supporters from Russia,” the Meduza staff wrote. “We have a duty to tell the truth. We have millions of readers in Russia who need us. Without independent journalism, it will be impossible to stop this monstrous war.”
Based in Latvia, Meduza was founded in 2014 by Russian journalists who left another news outlet that lost its independence after its co-founder Galina Timchenko was fired over her team’s coverage of Ukraine and replaced with a Kremlin ally. Since then, Meduza, which publishes in Russian and English, has produced independent journalism despite ongoing attempts by the Russian state to discredit their work. (BuzzFeed News has previously partnered with Meduza to publish investigations on Russia.)
Last year, the Russian government labeled the news outlet a “foreign agent,” requiring it to include a 24-word disclaimer on their work identifying them as such. The designation caused the site to lose most of their advertising dollars, so the newsroom turned to their readers to keep them afloat.
But now, sweeping economic sanctions against Russia have made it nearly impossible for to send money out of the country, and the newsroom has lost funding from 30,000 members based there.