Defiant to the last, Moscow’s media star takes aim at Putin’s brutal clampdown

Natalya Sindeyeva, the founder of Dozhd, struggled to the last but her TV station has been silenced – for nowTwo Sundays ago I wrote in the Observer about the last remaining Russian independent TV station, Dozhd (“TV Rain”), and the irrepressible spirit of Natalya Sindeyeva, the woman who pioneered and ran it. Keeping the station alive had cost Sindeyeva her home and her marriage and her health and her security. A dozen years ago when she launched Dozhd she had been a vivid Russian celebrity, a “dancing queen” of Moscow’s elite party circuit, now her mugshot is posted on street corners as a “foreign agent”. The defiant struggles of Dozhd to stay on air and to continue to report the truth in Russia despite years of intimidation and sanction from the Kremlin were the subject of an inspiring documentary, “F@ck This Job (Tango with Putin)”, made by London-based Vera Krichevskaya, which was released in the UK last week and broadcast on the BBC.A few days after “F@ck this Job” came out, on Friday, the decade-long defiance of Dozhd was silenced, at least for a while, by a brutal new law, passed unanimously in the Russian parliament, which bans news organisations from reporting anything except state approved press releases (it is now illegal for any broadcaster to call events in Ukraine, for example, “a war”). The new legislation, which has also caused the BBC and most other news organisations to suspend its reporting in Russia, will see journalists and media owners who contravene it jailed for up to 15 years. BBC director general Tim Davie said the law “appears to criminalise the process of independent journalism”. Its most chilling effects have been felt among the few surviving liberal Russian media outlets like Dozhd and Novaya Gazeta, whose editor, Dmitry Muratov, winner of last year’s Nobel Peace Prize, announced that the paper’s website had been forced to remove all of its material on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, saying “there is no doubt that the threat [of prosecution] will be realised”. Continue reading…

Natalya Sindeyeva, the founder of Dozhd, struggled to the last but her TV station has been silenced – for now

Two Sundays ago I wrote in the Observer about the last remaining Russian independent TV station, Dozhd (“TV Rain”), and the irrepressible spirit of Natalya Sindeyeva, the woman who pioneered and ran it. Keeping the station alive had cost Sindeyeva her home and her marriage and her health and her security. A dozen years ago when she launched Dozhd she had been a vivid Russian celebrity, a “dancing queen” of Moscow’s elite party circuit, now her mugshot is posted on street corners as a “foreign agent”. The defiant struggles of Dozhd to stay on air and to continue to report the truth in Russia despite years of intimidation and sanction from the Kremlin were the subject of an inspiring documentary, “F@ck This Job (Tango with Putin)”, made by London-based Vera Krichevskaya, which was released in the UK last week and broadcast on the BBC.

A few days after “F@ck this Job” came out, on Friday, the decade-long defiance of Dozhd was silenced, at least for a while, by a brutal new law, passed unanimously in the Russian parliament, which bans news organisations from reporting anything except state approved press releases (it is now illegal for any broadcaster to call events in Ukraine, for example, “a war”). The new legislation, which has also caused the BBC and most other news organisations to suspend its reporting in Russia, will see journalists and media owners who contravene it jailed for up to 15 years. BBC director general Tim Davie said the law “appears to criminalise the process of independent journalism”. Its most chilling effects have been felt among the few surviving liberal Russian media outlets like Dozhd and Novaya Gazeta, whose editor, Dmitry Muratov, winner of last year’s Nobel Peace Prize, announced that the paper’s website had been forced to remove all of its material on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, saying “there is no doubt that the threat [of prosecution] will be realised”.

Continue reading…

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