Please join the Harriman Institute for a conversation with Galina Timchenko, co-founder, CEO, and publisher of Meduza. Moderated by Keith Gessen.
Galina Timchenko is the co-founder, CEO, and publisher of Meduza — the largest remaining independent Russian news outlet published in both Russian and English. Meduza continues to reach millions of people inside Russia despite the project’s newsroom having to operate from exile for the last nine years. In April 2021, Russian authorities designated Meduza as a “foreign agent” in an attempt to knock out its advertising income, and weeks after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the government began blocking Meduza's website outright. Finally, in January 2023, the Kremlin banned Meduza completely, declaring the outlet an illegal “undesirable organization”.
Meduza has not only changed the language and stylistics of Russian media, but also brought in innovations in numerous areas — ranging from new formats to native advertising, from podcasts to headlines that were lively and audience-friendly. At the same time, through the history of Meduza (and Lenta.ru), we can trace what has happened to freedom of speech and the media industry in Russia over the past few decades.
Galina will talk about how to stay relevant while not being on the ground and how to deliver news inside Russia despite the Kremlin's propaganda firewall. She will also talk about the challenges the newsroom faces, the reporting from Russia and Ukraine, and how to remain first and foremost journalists (not activists) when your country begins a monstrous war with no end in sight and you are working under an unprecedented pressure. Galina Timchenko is a 2022 Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award for extraordinary and sustained achievement in the cause of press freedom. In 2022, Meduza was awarded Fritt Ord Foundation Prize for courageous, independent and fact-based journalism.