Pressure from the Kremlin and sanctions from the West have forced Russian news outlet Meduza to increasingly rely on cryptocurrency donations to fund its independent journalism. The Riga-based site now accepts several digital coins as restrictions imposed on Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine prevent its Russian readers from donating in fiat currency.
Meduza pulls journalists out of Russia for crypto support
Ukraine war affects Russian-language news sites jellyfish More than one aspect, according to a Bloomberg report. Shortly after the Kremlin launched a “special military operation” and President Vladimir Putin’s government suppressed independent reporting on the conflict, media outlets have sought help to relocate their 25 journalists in Latvia.
The small Baltic country of about 2 million people has a large Russian-speaking minority and has become a center of exile Russian media. However, Western sanctions did not allow the 30,000 Russian readers of Meduza, which supported it before the conflict, to send funds through Stripe after the payment processor suspended services in the Russian Federation to comply with penalties.
War and sanctions forced Meduza to turn to its international audience and seek financial help in dollars, euros or cryptocurrencies. It now accepts card payments, bank wire transfers, Paypal transfers, and several coins including Bitcoin (bitcoin), ether (Ethereum), stablecoin tether (USDT) and privacy-oriented Monero (XMR).The report states that the bitcoin and Ethereum The wallet has accumulated about $230,000 worth of cryptocurrency.
Commenting on the situation, Ivan Kolpakov, editor-in-chief of the news portal, noted that Meduza has only raised about half of the funds needed for development so far. While declining to disclose the total amount of donations, he noted that the site is the first to solicit cryptocurrencies and relies entirely on foreigners for funding, saying:
We cannot predict that Western government sanctions will destroy our crowdfunding in the first place.
Russian independent media are facing unprecedented pressure from Moscow authorities, so some have been shut down while others are blocked by the Russian government. The Novaya Gazeta newspaper suspended publication in March after receiving warnings about its reporting, and radio station Ekho Moskvy handed over its FM frequencies to state-run Sputnik.
Founded in the Latvian capital after Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, Meduza was branded a “foreign agent” by the Russian government last year during another media crackdown. Before the new sanctions effectively ended Russian donations, the designation targeted Russian media outlets that received money from abroad, already hurting their advertising revenue.
Do you expect other independent Russian publications to turn to cryptocurrency donations to fund their coverage? Let us know in the comments section below.
Image Source: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons
Disclaimer: This article is for reference only. It is not a direct offer or invitation to offer, nor is it a recommendation or endorsement of any product, service or company. Bitcoin Network Does not provide investment, tax, legal or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned herein.