Indie Russian news company raises $250,000 in cryptocurrency after sanctions

The Russian independent news company has raised more than $250,000 in crypto donations from supporters to keep independent news coverage amid a barrage of propaganda and censorship by the Russian government.

Latvia-based Russian news site Meduza claims to report “Real Russia, Today” and has been soliciting donations in the form of USD, Euro and cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH), since March. are doing , Binance (BNB), Tether (USDT), Monero (XMR), Zcash (ZEC).

Since posting the donation request, the news company has received approximately $250,000 in cryptocurrency donations through 146,000 individual transactions. Approximately 93% of the total donations were in the form of 3.75 BTC ($116,954) and 49.9 ETH ($117,767).

Meduza’s financial troubles actually started in April 2021. Since then, Meduza and several other independent media outlets have been classified as “foreign agents” by the Ministry of Justice of Russia, requiring the company to display a large font warning in each Russian-language article announcing the fact to its readers. “Foreign Representative” status. You lose almost all advertisers because the same warning should appear on every ad. I wrote the following in the donation FAQ.

“As you can imagine, few companies pay to promote their products under the warning that the content is “generated by a foreign agent”.

Classification as a foreign agent did not prevent Russian readers from donating to the organization. That’s because the company immediately paved the way for donors to offer regulated donations through banks using payment processor Stripe.

However, in March, Medusa learned that it had been strained by Russian government censorship and the effects of Western sanctions. The website was blocked by Russian authorities for “disseminating information that violates the law”, and the only way to receive donations from Russian supporters was a February 26 ban on the SWIFT network for Russian banks.

SWIFT is a global financial messaging network used by financial institutions to execute international money transfers.

Meduza wrote about giving. Website It was said that it was impossible to raise donations from their supporters in Russia due to financial constraints.

Since February 25, this news organization and journalists have published daily updated news about Russia’s war in Ukraine, sharing images and stories about Ukrainian civilians affected by the war and other major events not reported by the local Russian press. There is.

“Millions of people in Russia now rely on our reports,” Meduzha wrote, noting that Russian journalists were forced to leave Russia.

“Since this war broke out, it has been impossible to send money from Russia to Europe. We lost 30,000 donors. Right now we are not getting any money from Russia.”

Editor-in-chief of Meduza Ivan Kolpakov said Bloomberg’s donation will help after 25 journalists fled North Korea to resettle in Riga, Latvia, where the company’s headquarters is located.

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Meduza and its journalists are not the only unintended victims of Russian sanctions. Months of media coverage have covered ordinary Russians, students studying abroad, international students in Russia, and even entire Civilians in countries severely affected by sanctions faced by Russia.

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