At the end of the day, aren’t you engaged in counter-propaganda? You are opposing the propaganda narratives of Russian federal TV and other state media. But if there is no impartiality and objectivity, then aren’t you using the same methods, only with a different label?
I am absolutely convinced that independent media today, of course, engages in counter-propaganda to some extent. But I do not agree with the phrase “use the same methods.” Because our opponents lie, we don’t.
Can we call it propaganda when we are showing the audience that biting off pieces of someone else’s territory is unacceptable?
And we will not play the game: “Let us now give the position of Ukrainian Foreign Minister Kuleba and then seriously discuss the position of the Russian Foreign Ministry representative Zakharova, who will argue that there is some devious NATO plan to enslave Russia.” We know that there is no such plan, and we live with that.
Does the country you find yourself in – Georgia, Latvia or Netherlands – in any way affect your journalistic work? Or are you a Russian-speaking island and don’t care?
Yes, more like that. Any event, no matter in what country it occurs, we assess based on two parameters. Either it’s ‘wow,’ it’s just cool to watch, like the coronation of Charles III – it’s a historical event, it’s beautiful, a hundred world leaders go there. Or it’s something that you project onto your own experience. The viewer watches protests over pension reform in France and relates to them: what is going on with his pension? What is going on with protests here?
We do not have a separate file where we plan how we should talk about Latvian, Georgian or Dutch events.
Throughout the history of Dozhd, there has been high turnover. But in emigration, people are much more dependent on the editorial office, they have nowhere to go – everything is there: documents, the ability to pay for housing, everything depends on work. For example, potential employers may be in another country, but here the children have already gone to school and begun to learn the language. It turns out that employees turn into slaves and your responsibility as editor-in-chief when making personnel decisions becomes, it seems to me, completely exorbitant...
This coin has a third side: the editorial management is also hostage to some extent. If you are dissatisfied with someone – let’s say he is a slacker – then in a past life, in Moscow, we would sit down with him and say: “hey pal, listen, it was working before, but it isn’t anymore.” But here a huge number of “buts” arise: where will this person go? He won’t go back to Russia because it’s not safe. What about his children, his documents?
Overall, during this time, and more than a year has passed since we left, our relationships have become completely different than they were in Moscow. In our previous life, we communicated with each other much less. But we are in the circumstances we are in.
Is Dozhd making money? Can Russian media in exile potentially become profitable? And if we admit that Russian media cannot make money anymore either in emigration or in Russia, then how and why should it exist?
It seems to me that this question should be divided into two parts. Firstly: is Dozhd making money now? The simple answer is no. Does Dozhd plan to make money? Yes, and we are looking for ways to do that. Before the war, we were making money, though it was not much – the last two years before the war we were slightly above breakeven. Then everything that happened broke our business model. We are temporarily filling this gap with money from various organizations that support us.
But does this mean that we are changing because [now] we have sponsors? No, it does not. Not once did any of them make any demand, request or hint: “report this this way, and that that way.”
The second question, much more serious in my opinion, is: is there a need for Russian media operating outside Russia at all? The simple answer: there is. Regardless of when and how the war ends, Russia will not go anywhere. One hundred and forty million people will remain.