I do not write anti-war posts on Facebook. Firstly, I do not see any practical sense in this, as it is my crowd of a hundred people like me and read me. And secondly, OK, they’ll put me in prison… I do not want to go to jail...
Here is our last hero – a lady in a village goes to help a bedridden grandmother, whose child is also bedridden, for pennies. They would not have survived without this neighbor, and they cannot pay her decently. She feeds them, washes them, cleans the house. On her own. Or here is another future hero of ours – a man from the middle of nowhere who, at his own expense, takes care of the resting places for 118 people who perished during the forced-labor construction of a railway. Using the archives, he restores names, puts up plaques, fences, brings flowers. I don’t care what his [political] position is, I think that we should talk about such people.What is happening with your audience now? Has it gone down? What is the ratio of readers from Russia and outside?
About 85% is Russia. Readers from outside have increased, people leave and continue to read us, but in Russia there are still many more. And I’m happy about that, we work for this audience. Views, of course, also went down, like for everyone else – this is another pain.
Our audience is growing wildly only on VK. People are afraid to read Instagram (blocked
in Russia in March 2022 – RP).
Previously, we answered every letter [requesting help] in detail. But it’s a huge job. And when you have only three people in the office, you cannot explain to everyone where and how to get through.
So we began to produce more basic materials and instructions to cover the demand for information – for all cases.
Where should I go if I have cancer and the local hospital can’t make a diagnosis, how to help a depressed person, how to avoid falling into the clutches of a scammer.I know that you collaborate with rural newspapers. What is this about?
I decided to go to small newspapers with approximately the same information. Because, OK, you don’t read the internet, but you read newspapers. We have now published two materials in a Karelian newspaper, which is published in a village, and then it is delivered to small villages.
And I thought: since they read them front-to-back, why not go to the editors of these newspapers, who are desperate for good content, and say: “take it from us.” I write letters to these editors: “hello! We are Takie Dela
, we have this and that, would you like to collaborate with us?” They start asking questions: “are you foreign agents? Why do you need to do this in the first place, we do not understand? No way, can you really do it for free?” “We can. Anything you like. If you want, [take this] about how to protect grandmothers from scammers. If you want, about health. If you want, about social stories.”
For example, residents chip in on VK for a newspaper in which we have already published. And there are several people – a collective that puts out this newspaper, local residents write to it about news and problems. And I took a close look at how everything works there. They are ready to pay to do it: you pay for it yourself, you read it yourself. I asked why they need it. They say: “We want to know what is happening in our community, what problems we have, what outstanding people we have, who lives nearby, what they are doing.”
I hope that we will set up collaboration with at least five newspapers in the regions so that something will be published regularly.How do you discuss whether to take on topics that are somehow related to the war or other risky things? If you only write about how people continue to die from cancer or organize a rural club, then it’s as if nothing is happening...
Why [do you say that], we are not only writing about that.I’m exaggerating. But any topic related to the war, mobilization, increases the risk of you being closed and getting into big trouble. How do you find a balance here?
You do many things simply at your own peril and risk.