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Meduza’s English-language podcast, The Naked Pravda highlights how our top reporting intersects with the wider research and expertise that exists about Russia. The broader context of Meduza’s in-depth, original journalism isn’t always clear, which is where this show comes in. Here you’ll hear from the world’s community of Russia experts, activists, and reporters about issues that are at the heart of Meduza’s stories and crucial to major events in and around Russia.
 
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On May 11, 2022, The Washington Post announced that it was establishing a new bureau in Kyiv with Isabelle Khurshudyan leading coverage as Ukraine bureau chief. Elements of The Post’s expansive coverage dedicated to the war in Ukraine include a 24-hour live updates page on The Post’s site, a Telegram channel for news updates (now with more than 40,…
 
Writer Anna Arutunyan, author of “The Putin Mystique: Inside Russia’s Power Cult” (2014), has a new book out about the early pivotal years of Russia’s invasion of the Donbas, titled “Hybrid Warriors: Proxies, Freelancers and Moscow’s Struggle for Ukraine.” A longtime journalist, former International Crisis Group senior analyst, and now a Wilson Cen…
 
On this week’s episode of The Naked Pravda, Meduza speaks to anthropologist Jeremy Morris about foreign Russia scholars’ growing reliance on state television as a means of monitoring what is thought to be public opinion. Dr. Morris, a professor of Russian and Global Studies in the School of Culture and Society at Aarhus University in Denmark, argue…
 
In an article titled “Ukrainian Voices?” recently published in New Left Review, sociologist Volodymyr Ishchenko warns that talk in the West about Ukraine’s “decolonization” often focuses too much on “symbols and identity” and not enough on “social transformation.” Representing the war in Ukraine “as an ideological conflict of democracy against auto…
 
Given current events in Russia and Ukraine, much of today’s expertise about Russia is again created remotely. It simply isn’t safe for many journalists and researchers to be in the country today due mainly to the militarized censorship of speech related to the invasion of Ukraine. So, what happens when Russia experts are forced to work outside of R…
 
In a guest essay this week for Meduza, philologist Gasan Gusejnov reflected on the experiences of past “waves” of Russian emigrants and on today’s interactions between the Russian-speaking diaspora and Russian-speaking Ukrainians, explaining how the Putin regime has abused the Russian language by elevating “hateful violence.” Gusejnov also describe…
 
A couple of months ago, videos from Russian prisons started appearing online showing a beefy-looking, bald man addressing large crowds of inmates, trying to recruit them as mercenaries to go fight (and quite possibly die, he admitted) in Ukraine. “Do you have anybody who can pull you out of the slammer when you’ve still got 10 years on your sentenc…
 
It’s been more than 266 days since Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022. In more recent few months, the war’s momentum has swung dramatically in Kyiv’s favor amid a Ukrainian counteroffensive that has Russian troops retreating from areas that Moscow has formally annexed. To get a grasp on where things stand currentl…
 
It’s an exaggeration to say that Russian aviation has been cut off from the outside world, but the loss of routes to popular Western destinations has squeezed airlines profits while sanctions complicate basic maintenance. In late July, for example, several Russian airlines reportedly advised pilots, not to use their brakes so much when landing, in …
 
On October 23, following a report in Russia’s state news, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu started calling his counterparts in France, Turkey, the UK, and the United States, warning that Moscow has collected intelligence suggesting that the Ukrainian government is preparing a “provocation” involving the use of a dirty bomb. A day later, Russi…
 
Now that Vladimir Putin is 70 years old, we’re understandably getting less of his torso in official photographs, but the Kremlin nevertheless relies on tropes of masculinity to validate the regime and its actions abroad, particularly in Ukraine and when it comes to confrontation with the West. This gendered rhetoric resonates with Russians just as …
 
On Tuesday, November 8, the U.S. is holding midterm elections — all 435 seats in the House of Representatives and 35 of the 100 seats in the Senate will be contested, in addition to gubernatorial races in 39 states and territories. In all this politicking, mainstream support for Ukraine remains strong, but it was only a few years ago when Donald Tr…
 
The Chinese government has consistently threatened to take Taiwan by force if the government there declares formal independence. American politician Nancy Pelosi completed a two-day trip to Taiwan in early August, enraging Beijing, raising regional tensions, and thrilling Russian state propagandists, who are clearly desperate to draw the two most p…
 
When announcing a draft to reinforce Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, Vladimir Putin accused the West of “nuclear blackmail,” claiming that “high-ranking representatives of the leading NATO countries” have endorsed the “possibility and admissibility” of using nuclear weapons against Russia. In the same remarks, Putin vowed to use “all available weapon…
 
As acting president, elected president, prime minister, and then president again, Vladimir Putin has now ruled Russia for almost 23 years. And it doesn’t look like he plans to retire any time soon. Following amendments to the Russian constitution in 2020, Putin is now able to run in two more presidential elections. This means he could potentially r…
 
Meduza’s only English-language podcast, The Naked Pravda, returns for a third season tomorrow on Friday, September 23. Throughout the new season, each show explores a hypothetical event and its potential consequences for Russia and its relationship with the rest of the world. On upcoming episodes, Meduza asks journalists, scholars, and other expert…
 
Meduza welcomes European Council on Foreign Relations Senior Policy Fellow Kadri Liik for a discussion about her recent article, “Putin’s Archaic War: Russia’s Newly Outlawed Professional Class – And How It Could One Day Return,” where she argues that the invasion of Ukraine is “effectively de-modernizing Russia” and derailing processes that could …
 
After Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, five Hollywood giants — Disney, Warner Bros, Universal, Sony Pictures, and Paramount — all stopped releasing new films in Russia. Netflix, which was producing multiple shows in Russia for the domestic market, has also suspended all service there. Amazon Prime has halted stream…
 
Earlier this week, the European Union passed a landmark agreement banning most Russian oil imports into the region by the end of the year, though the embargo features a temporary exemption for imports delivered by pipeline in order to overcome opposition from landlocked Hungary. In late May, the U.S. Treasury declined to extend a license that allow…
 
Through speeches by political leaders and in television broadcasts that have blanketed the country (as well as new territories recently seized by force), the Kremlin has argued breathlessly that Ukrainian statehood is a historical accident weaponized by Russia’s enemies. This rhetoric, which essentially denies the existence of an independent Ukrani…
 
The past nine weeks of all-out war have completely upended civilian life throughout Ukraine. After withdrawing from around Kyiv and Chernihiv in late March, Russian forces are ostensibly refocusing their invasion on taking Ukraine’s eastern and southern regions. With many cities, towns, and villages already in dire humanitarian situations, civilian…
 
The Russian North Caucasus has played a special role in the invasion of Ukraine. Journalists estimate that at least 60 men from Dagestan died fighting for Russia by March 23, indicating that this republic had lost more soldiers, by far, than any other region in Russia. In terms of public messaging, Chechen ruler Ramzan Kadyrov has been one of the l…
 
Following the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the Russian authorities imposed military censorship in all but name, annihilating the entire domestic free press. Within a week of Moscow’s “special operation in the Donbas,” the television station Dozhd and radio station Ekho Moskvy both shut down, ending 12 and 32 years, respectively, of independent j…
 
This week’s guest is Meduza special correspondent Lilya Yapparova, who just spent several days in Chernihiv, reporting on how the Russian invasion has destroyed local families and upended residents’ lives. She managed to leave the city just before Russian troops besieged it again. Now back in Kyiv, still reporting on the war, Lilya joined the podca…
 
We’re now more than three weeks deep into Moscow’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, and many are asking the question: What information is still reaching Russians? Unless you’re using a VPN to tunnel beneath the state’s censorship, Instagram is blocked, Facebook is blocked, Twitter is blocked, and YouTube is probably next. The independent news media …
 
In the days since Vladimir Putin ordered a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the Western world has imposed crippling economic sanctions on Russia designed to force extreme costs on the Kremlin for its aggression. In the Biden administration’s words, the measures will “weaken the Russian defense sector and its military power for years to come and targ…
 
On February 21, Vladimir Putin delivered a nearly hour-long televised lecture on Soviet history, describing what he clearly believes are the flimsy foundations of Ukrainian statehood and arguing that the government in Kyiv owes its territory today to the supposed generosity of the Bolsheviks, particularly Vladimir Lenin. To assess this presentation…
 
Meduza spoke to the two hosts of a special project organized by the Monterey Initiative in Russian Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. In roughly 16 hours of interviews, “The Ambassadorial Series” features in-depth conversations with eight of the living former U.S. ambassadors to Russia and the Soviet Union, each featuring…
 
Three decades after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Eastern European breakaway states of Transnistria, South Ossetia, and Abkhazia exist in a sort of geopolitical limbo. Born out of wars that ended in deadlocks in the early 1990s, these self-governing regions remain unrecognized by most of the world and dependent on Russia’s backing. This iso…
 
January 2022 kicked off with a flurry of tense diplomatic talks between Russian and Western officials. Moscow is seeking wide-ranging security guarantees in Europe, while simultaneously massing upwards of 100,000 troops along its Western border. The buildup has provoked international concern that Russia plans to escalate the long-simmering conflict…
 
In the past two weeks, Russia has demonstrated its capacity to project military power at different corners of its periphery, sending troops to Kazakhstan for a small but symbolic peacekeeping operation and pressing sweeping security demands in Europe, where the West has accused the Kremlin of plotting a war of aggression against Ukraine. The Naked …
 
On this week’s show, The Naked Pravda looks back at some of the journalism and scholarly work in 2021 that made significant contributions to our knowledge about Russia. These nine articles feature incredible fieldwork, insights into how power works in Russia, and compelling stories that you might have missed over the year. Meduza spoke to the autho…
 
The lawyers and journalists who worked with the Team 29 project specialized in Russia’s most hopeless political prosecutions — the treason case against journalist Ivan Safronov, the extremism charges against Alexey Navalny’s Anti-Corruption movement, and dozens more indictments all but doomed to convictions. Earlier this year, the project was force…
 
Earlier this week, events in space flirted with a real-life adaptation of Alfonso Cuarón’s 2013 motion picture “Gravity” when the Russian military blew up an inoperative Soviet satellite that had been orbiting the Earth since the early 1980s. Moscow insists that the debris didn’t get within 40 kilometers (25 miles) of the International Space Statio…
 
Our main story this week is Russia’s place in Europe’s energy crisis. Political risk analyst Nick Trickett, the author of the OGs and OFZs newsletter, joins the podcast to explain what consumers want from Moscow, why being a “swing producer” is inherently political, and how inflation endangers ordinary Russians. Timestamps for this week’s episode: …
 
Our main story this week is the treason case against Ilya Sachkov, the 35-year-old CEO of the cybersecurity firm Group-IB. On Wednesday morning, September 29, hours after officials raided the company’s Moscow office, a local court jailed Sachkov for the next two months, pending trial. That will likely be extended several times, as the authorities c…
 
Earlier this month, Moscow was one of just a few regions in Russia to offer electronic voting in three-day parliamentary elections. In the capital, multiple opposition candidates led in-person voting but ultimately lost when electronic votes were added late to the final tallies. In the week since the voting ended, the campaign teams for several los…
 
Khalimat Taramova is only 22 years old, but she’s been through a lot, especially in the past two weeks. Kept under lock and key at home in Chechnya, her family beats her and even forced her to undergo so-called “conversion therapy.” Taramova identifies as bisexual. Last month, she reached out to a prominent LGBT rights group begging them to help he…
 
Last week, investigative journalists at Meduza and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty revealed that a Russian marketing firm recently tried to recruit European bloggers in a secret media campaign to smear Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine. To find out more about these solicitations and to learn how this fits into Russian politics, The Naked Pravda spoke to…
 
On May 13, a Ukrainian court placed pro-Kremlin oligarch and lawmaker Viktor Medvedchuk under round-the-clock house arrest pending trial for high treason. The country’s Prosecutor General had signed off on the charges two days earlier, indicting not only Medvedchuk, but also his closest ally and fellow lawmaker, Taras Kozak, in connection with thre…
 
As you may have learned from the crowdfunding banners now adorning this website, the Russian authorities designated Meduza as a “foreign agent” on April 23. Our new status in Russia has chased away advertisers and deprived us of revenue, endangering Meduza’s continued existence. That’s the sad truth of our situation right now, but what does it mean…
 
A lot has happened this month. On the world stage, Russia’s relations with the Czech Republic started unraveling on April 17, when officials in Prague accused Russian military intelligence agents of destroying ammunition depots seven years ago in explosions that killed two people. Three days before that bombshell dropped, police officers in Moscow …
 
This week, the Biden administration rolled out the latest round of U.S. sanctions against Russia, slapping Moscow (yet again) with a series of targeted measures to punish the Kremlin for alleged election meddling, hacking, and military aggression. The U.S. Treasury Department identified a few dozen persons and entities, freezing any of their assets…
 
Last month, the Siberian branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences decided to withhold public access to new research on atmospheric and soil pollution in cities throughout the region. The discussion about burying the “alarmist” report was streamed on YouTube, however, and the academy’s effort to purge the footage from the Internet only drew the pub…
 
When it comes to carrying out repressions, the Russian government’s reach isn’t limited by its own borders. The Kremlin is known for going after perceived enemies abroad — especially former “insiders” and members of the political opposition. In recent years, high-profile assassinations linked to Russian agents have made headlines around the world, …
 
In an interview published on March 17, U.S. President Joe Biden said he considers Vladimir Putin to be a “killer,” prompting the Russian president to respond a day later with a schoolyard retort that translates loosely to the phrase: “Look who’s talking!” In what sounded more like a threat than a salutation, Putin also wished his American counterpa…
 
Russia and Twitter haven’t really gotten along for years now. In fact, since 2017, federal censors at Roskomnadzor (RKN) have filed more than 28,000 takedown requests with the social network, and the agency complains that Twitter still grants Russian users access to 3,168 of these materials containing supposedly illegal information. In retaliation …
 
In a time when intergalactic superheroes dominate global box offices and capture the imaginations of millions of people around the world, what do we see when we look back at the science fiction of the Cold War? What is gained and what is obscured by comparing the films and literature created by the two superpowers of the early Space Age? And what d…
 
Belarus has seen ongoing protests since August 2020, when election officials declared that Alexander Lukashenko (Alyaksandr Lukashenka) had won his sixth consecutive presidential term. The mass demonstrations were met with a violent police crackdown, and several members of the opposition were thrown in prison. Pressure and threats from the authorit…
 
Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden recently had their first presidential phone call — a conversation that paved the way for a renewal of the New START Treaty (the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty reached in April 2010 between presidents Obama and Medvedev). But most other arms control agreements between Moscow and Washington have expired or collapsed in y…
 
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