Russia’s independent news agency has raised more than $ 250,000 in cryptocurrencies from supporters to continue broadcasting independent news during the Russian government’s campaign of propaganda and censorship.
Meduza, a Latvian news site in Russian that claims to cover “the real Russia today,” has been asking for donations since April 2021 in the form of the US dollar, the euro and cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin (BTC), Ether. (ETH), BNB, Tether (USDT), Monero (XMR) and Zcash (ZEC).
Since they published their donation request, the news company has received about $ 250,000 in cryptocurrencies through 146,000 individual transactions. Approximately 93% of the total amount came in the form of 3.75 BTC with $ 116,954 and 49.9 ETH with $ 117,767.
Folks, Meduza has redesigned its crowdfunding after being disconnected from our supporters in Russia. We now turn to you – our worldwide audience – to exchange these 30,000 gifts. Help us keep Russia and the world informed of the terrible war against Ukraine. https://t.co/y83ieV9LuT
– Meduza in English (@meduza_en) March 14, 2022
Meduza’s financial problems actually began in April 2021, after it and several other independent media outlets were branded by the Russian Ministry of Justice as “foreign agents” and demanded that the company put a large letter warning in each of its articles in Russian to inform readers. the status of “foreign agent”. The same warning must also appear in all ads, resulting in almost all advertisers being lost. It wrote on frequently asked questions about donations:
“As you can imagine, companies will pay to promote their products under the warning that the material has been ‘created by foreign agents’.
However, being branded as a foreign agent did not prevent readers in Russia from donating to the agency, as the company immediately set up a way for participants to provide regulators through their banks using the Stripe payment processing program and through cryptocurrency. .
But in March, Meduza found himself at odds with both the Russian government’s censorship and the influence of Western sanctions. Russian authorities blocked their website from “disseminating information in violation of the law”. A major ban on receiving donations from Russian supporters was also blocked by a ban on the SWIFT network for Russian banks on 26 February.
SWIFT is an international financial messaging system used by financial institutions to perform international money transfers.
Meduza wrote on its donation website that financial constraints had made it impossible for them to send donations from their supporters in Russia.
Since February 25, the news organization and its journalists have published daily updates on Russia’s war against Ukraine, sharing photos and stories of Ukrainian citizens affected by the war and other major events not reported by the Russian media.
“Millions of people in Russia now rely on our news,” Meduza wrote, noting that its journalists were forced to leave the country:
“Since the outbreak of this war, it has been impossible to transfer money from Russia to Europe. We lost 30,000 donors. At the moment we do not receive any money from Russia.
Ivan Kolpakov, editor-in-chief of Meduza, told Bloomberg that the donations would help 25 journalists who have since fled the country to settle in Riga, Latvia, where the company’s headquarters are located.
Related: Ukraine invasion shows why we need cryptocurrency
Meduza and her journalists are not the only unintentional victims of Russian sanctions. Media reports over the month have pointed to everyday Russians, students studying abroad, international students in Russia and even the civilian population of entire nations who have been severely affected by sanctions against Russia.
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