tv Discussion Features Russian Dissident Journalists CSPAN May 10, 2017 4:27am-5:54am EDT
this is an hour and a half. my name is elaine and i'm the director of research here at the atlantic council and it is my pleasure to host all of the distinguished guests for the panel conversation today. as the atlantic council center we pride ourselves on the relationships we build with russians independent societies and we believe it is our role as a nonpartisan organization to work in a bipartisan way rooted
in the values and principles that it is our duty to serve for freedom fighters around the world including our friends and colleagues. last year we hosted many events that brought together the researchers and policymakers together with the independent voices. we also heard about the father's assassination and the role that the russian propaganda played in creating an atmosphere in russia today. we also are honored to host the recently released documentary
film with one of the most prominent independent thinkers and places in russia today. it's not the first time that we've met our friends speaking earlier and all of us read the english version and the russian version is one of the few remaining today that is run by real professionals and editors we know we can trust with our news content. today the environment is not one that allows freedom of expression. in a conference foundation a topic not many people cared about at the time so without
further ado i would like to hand the floor over to our established and dignified who had the pleasure and honor of working. the chief of the project and of course the chief executive of the project i did leave it up to them to tell you about the story and before i forget please remember to follow us so without
further ado, distinguished panelists. >> thank you all for coming out. we had the top journalists with us today. we have 60 minutes for the conversation and q-and-a with the audience. i understand as the editor for an article you did in the spring of 2014 can you tell us more about that article and the response?
>> 70% of your earnings are coming from advertising just huge. that is a huge deal. what kind of companies advertise with you and are there any penalties for russian companies advertising? [inaudible] it is absolutely free of charge for the companies so now we have the russian divisions of the company's like air bmb, bmw,
some banks, even the government banks advertise for example. we were so stupid to run the media out before the crisis. it was a challenge but it was cool because they stopped burning the door and advertising and they decided to put the money into something effective. >> you were running this popular
website and one of the readers wants to how you can cover russia from abroad. the news is moving quickly. how do you do with? when you live in russia you understand 90% are in moscow and 99% of the positions so if you want to make news media but there are no secrets we have journalism as well and we are
primetime program, he put asunder the big screen because we were the only source of information. he wanted to tell a story how they went across the street and would give to putin's regime but he showed up and talk about how we were the only ones sourced. >> what kind of numbers that you have in the protest and march? >> i would say millions. >> we had famous journalism team
he may prosecute as a criminal. >> anything has to be explained for example state creates if you are a teacher working and it's asked about homosexual affairs is it okay for you to talk to them about this or is it a propaganda and you can be prosecuted that is one that can be explained. one of the popular articles was the police is knocking at your door, what should you do.
the hotel in russia? my favorite was the brother that is in prison now so we printed out the paper and sent it and he filled out the question -- >> it sounds like a sort of irreverent tone is that right? >> russia is full of fear and when people are laughing you are not full of fear. we want them to be brave, not to
feel fear. >> i read some articles you told the daily beast and you try to experiment and watched about a week of state tv and said it's changing my views. you check into the hotel and he wanted to see how it would change the mind. he quit and cheated, you logged in and drink too much. we know tv is powerful but for advice in washington and the u.s. because we want to separate the russian media but tv is expensive and it's hard.
>> they are creating their own issue. it started from i think zero and should look like a robot. in the first video it was pathetic and stupid. but now is a very popular blogger. >> use protesting during this when somebody threw liquid asset in his face in his own most blind on the right. he is protesting with green face and closed. he was broadcasting with a special mask. >> you hide.
>> i think the biggest achievement figure from youtube was the documentary about the corruption, about the current prime minister in the president. so they made these documentary about the property. in the published and i think one month ago. no, and more than one month ago. >> is this what catalyze the protest? >> yes. >> were the youtube videos about -- and it sort of spread? >> i think russia was the first country where you to became the channel for. >> for dissent. you told the daily beast that
closing independent media is a dumb, stupid, dead and strategy. when putin closes five, ten moral spring open, is that happening? >> i would not say ten but yes, of course. their new media in russia. for example there are small media people. but actually it is huge. they cover stories about human rights violations and stuff like that. criminal use. i think they have 1 million per month. >> which is huge. >> or some some organizations which are not media for example one that is anticorruption involvement in the foundation and their publishing the stories every day ricky documentary i
can see why a lot of new media and a lot of new and pendant media is rated. i think it is the same size of audience but comparing. >> but there is a number of independent. >> do any of your readers have trouble accessing your website in russia? >> no. we are trying to broadcast all distribution channels. the messenger and channels and subscription letters the newsletter, what else, messenger. so we are trying to broadcast on the different channel.
but channel has no example of blocking or closing media in russia. >> that's great. can you tell us an example of a story you covered in in an objective evenhanded wake? how did russia's tv cover the same topic? >> just a moment. >> there are a lot of stories. but for example we mention the story about the meetings when television did not make any story about the protest. and even the biggest news aggregator did not put the sto
story, though few independent media wrote about it. >> so your stories are you in there? >> they don't touch you. >> it is happened in 2014 it happened during the ukrainian crisis because a lot of ukrainian media are actually russian media. as far as we understand they have an agreement with the administration and they are sources and it led them not to put ukrainian russia articles so, since that time in a russian-speaking foreign media cannot be the part of the feature of the day.
there is this brilliant example. in moscow every year, moscow buys these new year decorations. so we made the story and we decorated all of this decorations like christmas but we are celebrating new year in russia but not celebrating here. so our main holidays new year. we are proud of this tradition so, every year the moscow government buys these two stupid decoration to make the city more beautiful. and from the point of view. we publish this story about the price of these decorations there
four times bigger than on the market. so it is just a clear piece. but at the same time we see in moscow a media or russia television the moscow getting better, they have some spots on the street and people are telling that moscow is so beautiful. we're so proud of. we're so proud of the decorations like how does it work. is the difference between the reality that you get from the state control first and influence media.
>> i think your message in your model is very exciting for journalists. thinking there's a journalist for other post-soviet countries were freedom of speech is a big issue. , do you think this model would work other places where your operating their country? >> a lot of these countries by the way are exiled what else? >> i think they have and use pakistan. nothing as is big and powerful. >> i do not know the proper step to give and advice. as far as i understand, all of those media, they are noncommercial organization.
but i think that financial independence is part of media independence. and when i spoke to some from exile i said you didn't even think about commercial revenue. let's try to be independent, not with the tag on the four head. i'm independent, okay. and where is your money and let's try to do something. let's try to try to be independent, not as a journalist, but as a company and businessman. i still respect for noncommercial organization. but it seems to me that it is
wrong way for media to stay with the hand to give us money. if we are successful we should be successful in business as well. >> 70% of year meetings are commercial into think you will be 100% commercial? >> you know seems to me that february 2018. >> that's what they said you'll be done between on the. we want to keep you around. >> i'm responsible for spending money. >> i thought you are responsible for content? >> you are responsible for spending money. every time meet you said, let's
pay him a huge salary. or it's the best piece i ever read. >> i never say big salary. no. >> you've told clinical that the kremlin had recently gone soft on opposition media. what do you mean by that? to expect them to go hard on opposition media after the presidential election next year? >> i have no idea. it's everything is really russian situation is always a mess. what you right now is the guy who is responsible for the internal politics in russia they decided to change the guidance.
there is a very important person in the history recent history of russian media. you probably heard something about him. he is the speaker of the space. he worked with the administration. he's responsible for ruining and destroying the society. there's the architecture of the new -- these guys are responsible for the agent. a lot of media including -- lost their independence. and the extremist law which lets you block any will without the
trial. >> it is the regulator but there is a lot of organization you can actually become why the website. >> just enough to write from office. >> did it happen to you guys? >> no. and then they wrote about the foreigners the media because foreigners not more than 20% of media. it also happens when they were responsible for the internal politics. so it started the process of changing from russia media.
for example they are very respectable. it is now all by some stupid extremely well to the kremlin. so their publishing the least of millionaires in russia. publisher it is very important. their publishing ratings of billionaires of russia. and i know three, four, i can't recall. it was just empty. they have it up just before the readings. it is worse. >> okay it was my order because it's my friend and i do not want
you to see how much access he has. >> anyway let's get back to the question. so they cleaned up the media, they destroyed the civil society. and then the guy was fired. on the other guy became responsible for internal politics. of the new guy, he is very famous in russia because in the '90s when poor sales and was the president he was the prime minister in 1998. 1998 is the year of economical crisis for russia. remember 2008 is a big cyber here in the usa.
we remember 1998. so he was head of the government of the fall of the economy happened. that is why everybody understood and the guy decided, that's why he also have this nickname. he came from almost nowhere. and then he was also as a friend for boris he was cofounder of the most popular -- in russia in the late 1990s. he is from somewhere from there. then he became some official guy. he worked this in there for the president for putin.
then he was ahead of the state corporation managing the nuclear energy in russia. now he is the head of this in turn all politics. sorry this is wrong story. but a lot of people think consider this guy s -- he was from the very beginning and look like something from 1990s comes back. he started negotiating with liberal media for example. he makes the briefings with editors with reporters and he speaks to these people. he tries to reach the audience using media. he tries to explain why putin wants to become the president. and why he wants to get 99%
during the election. he looks softer than that guy. which was before him. so everybody was like wow, this is unbelievable. the head of internal politics, this is america. so it's actually true because he was a real monster, he destroyed the country. and that's how the guys are responsible for the successful election of vladimir putin as we colleton russia. but then again a big mess because the protest happen. they published the movie about, the documentary about corruption. some youngsters are permanently
want to take part in some -- and it's a big mess and nobody knows what will happen. there is a feeling the concept of internal politics is changing. they don't know how to manage except for pressure. the system itself they lost the idea of how to deal with society except pressure put the prosecution. that's i think eventually, unfortunately nothing is going to change. >> inside i was so long. >> let's we of microphone so if you could please eight data fire yourself. >> right behind you. >> good afternoon.
i'm trying to understand your demographics. and there is a question, is your demographics younger, more educated and do you think that talking only to that demographic is going to make a political difference in russia. >> speaking both demographic, we had 65% of our readers under certified. then from the 65, almost 50 under 25. so, but you know 30% is 35 plus. and yes, they live in big cities and yes, i think we should speak to those who want to understand the situation.
i do not want to teach somebody. i do not want to be like profit. you know living in 2017 in the social media world. and i am not a prophet. i just want to speak openly and objectively with those guys in those readers who are desperately seeking the explanation. and who really want to understand what is happening in their own country. >> these people have good chance to see russia in reason. >> putin is 66. >> he's going to be 71 and 241 the next president. >> actually he could rule like forever. >> you write.
>> john director of the atlantic council. your report and you might say your witness is very important and extremely interesting. but this follows up on a question, do you feel like you have anyone in the country in russia has a good sense regarding were largely speaking the people of russia are regarding the regime and its success or lack of success. or more legitimately the power of the president. >> the question is really important. i will try to translate for myself and them for everybody. >> you want to say that is impossible to talk with the majority people in russia then
with the people who are loyal to them because they want to see the changes yes? >> this is very theoretical question. there are no technologists to reach these people. >> the only technology which led to talk to that audiences television. so becomes to make an experiment here. >> and we are trying to reach those people putting our articles and entertainment into most popular new social media a 40 plus, so and the we can see some interest from them. but actually they are not our audience at all. >> a short follow-up, is it
possible do you think to do a study, discrete study of under the radar possible to really honestly get attitudes around the country? >> what would people tell with the give honest opinion. >> only anonymous. >> this is actually the problem with putin support. >> we do not know for sure how many people support putin. because the guy from the sociologist comes from someone apartment and his looks good, and he looks like an authority in these asking are you supporting vladimir putin and of course russia guy you know they are double thinking headed seems
the soviet and seems the ancient times and he says of course i do and he closes the door and he says. >> thank you very much. you mentioned that their rather successful at tweeting rather than story making the storytelling, said because of their social media strategy? >> i spoke about personal twitter. >> she's very popular with her person in russia. you know that target audience of russia today is outside russia not up inside russia. nobody knows for sure what they are all about. because nobody cannot see inside russia. so inside russia their most
popular. >> years ago other journalists with a country with a crackdown that was happening turkey had flexibility. >> i could call you like you guys. >> and they started attacking his own media, livable media democrats but we did not take it because of media reality this not our fight but then what happened is to governments came up against the journalists. so we hope the journalists coming back. so when you see this increasing and attacks in the western capitals against western media,
is there room for -- to have any concern? >> it's a really good question. when i'm thinking about i want to cry. i really understand the situation. and unfortunately what people here have some interest in was happening in russia, how many people here interested in what's happening what about your question. >> i could share our own experience. we just decided not to think about it and when we, if we want
to think every minute of our life what they could do with us, then let's do nothing, we want to do something and we know that we are pretending that putin and the administration all of those think they do not exist at all. the one reason to make somethi something. >> thank you very much. i want to us to questions. first the effectiveness of various social networks now. i see you mentioned you to any use twitter a lot. it seems as though facebook lost
out, can you describe what is happening there and how they managed to utilize various forms of blocking and the other question i have is now these protests on the 26th of march, are they coming as a surprise but they are so widespread and big, did you see this coming before, and if so, how. >> speaking about the second question, we did not expect at all. no one expected, because it was sunday. we had the editor in a couple of journalists. in we saw huge protests, we ju
just. >> actually we had jewish -- but it's like an emergency plan. uis have when you have actions in russia. even those are like who will work. no one believe this emergency plan we believe this emergency plan but it started in siberia and everybody turned on and started working. nobody expected. >> and my first one was about social media. >> a rush is divided between facebook and -- and facebook is opinion makers and trickster. then and -- is people.
so when you want to get a huge audience you should go. when you want to grab attention of the newsmakers you should go to facebook. >> the reason there is a difference. the problem is the russian company. and operating with the second within the secret service. so for the point of view of the private user, he should have published anything because it may cause a problem for you. but i facebook you can act freely. so there are hundreds of trials about extra but there are zero
cases about facebook. because facebook is american company. but you're right. the state works with social networks and there's factories of trolls on facebook. >> we need to know how to fight withdrawals. we have our articles and all the discussion and conversation just disappeared in 24 hours. >> while it is a very special place. it is for people. [inaudible] you have very small experience. so they like using -- one of the biggest service in russia.
>> so this is the way they connect. [inaudible] and somehow is very close. even if you very popular community as we are, people are not pushing the links. so they are not, they don't feel any need to go anywhere because i have everything. they have. >> which one is the most useful platform to get the message out? >> platforms are useful. >> let's take another question. >> thank you. i'm with international broadcasting beer. two questions. the first one is, of course
content is the king but the audience is bas. so what is your strategy for growing the audience? the second part you said that you practice exploratory journalism. how much of it is the media literacy of your audience? >> will i start acting answering the second question. media literacy is a huge thing. it was the big issue when the information war started. the very common idea among european people was if the soviet society, that is why they have so small media literacy. they did not consume independent media for years, that's i propaganda works so good for these people, that's why they really believe in what propaganda says.
which is nonsense probably. let's take some british people and put them into the environment where -- or let's speak about brexit or trump or anything in this world right now. it is a huge thing. everything is media more or less right now. that amount of information any society on earth doesn't have the experience of consuming of that information. >> speaking about our publications, we made with you, this is about how to reduce, how to talk with your friend or parents. how to search and so on.
but it more or less can have a publication in two years. >> so you should do these. but it is not about not only about that. first it was about how we are growing the audience. well we are trying to work as hard as we can. we are trying to use all kinds of distribution channels. >> we understand one thing. that only all our departments should work as hard as possible at the same time. this is the one way to success.
the explanation desk, technical department, even designer desk. only common effect. >> there is no one single part of the structure. you cannot make it like every day seem more name in tonight and give huge audience. you have to make good investigative journalism. and sophisticated videos. but what you need to develop your channels of distribution. it is a complex of different things. which gives you eventually the audience. >> it's a dynamic place to work if you need an english language editor let me know. >> will take a question. >> why did you decide to call it -- >> it was a mistake.
it was a mistake. when we gather in 2014, is stupid me speaking about chance of blocking us in russia, i said to one of my guys, i want something without those stupid mirror. when you do mirror of the side and mirror to and i want us to be like they cut her head and we are raised. no one to mike i said stop but work is great he spoke about
>> thank you both for your remarks today. great work. especially the fact that you're looking at february 2018 and talking about financial independence. i've been in the field a long time. i've not seen a lot of media organizations that have been able to help throughout the region. the question is beside the fact that you happen to have a large market which the likes of sony and air b&b are interested in, was there a tipping point or strategy? how did you attract the power of advertising to your website. >> unfortunately i like in. >> let me started. we try to get money from different sources. we realize that it has to be diverse model. not all media gets money right now from one source. this is a about media advertising as probably the main sources when we started.
but then in 2015 they started making advertising and there was a huge thing for us in the market. we were the first in russia and there are questions about is a good or bad. >> what is native advertising? >> everyone has questions but it is and it gives us money and independence. so now we get money from media and advertising. and advertising from conferenc conferences. we made a conference which is a professional conference and everybody who wants to listen should pay some fee.
we made a special nonpolitical project. it is online guide application people around the world. and made a school of journalism for youngsters. and we made some merchandising. >> it is a creative agency to structure and these native projects. >> outside of -- in moscow and there is not just wobble between commercials. >> there's a lady in the back has been waiting patiently. >> my name is cynthia.
forgive my ignorance, but it is not clear to me what the access would be to the guardian or the new york times for people who lead those languages is it blocked in any way, people who read those languages accessing it or other penalties if you access it and it becomes known? >> you can access almost anything. there is blocked resource from russia from nonprofit organizations or linkedin social network for example. so it is not like chinese there is at least it becomes longer
and you can use the new york times. and 90% of russians do not speak english. >> we have three more questions, will take your question and wi will. >> american media the special events donald trump and they offered him like as a person. so there independent. almost never did. i'm not talking about, i'm not talking about possession, i'm
talking about his actions that actually show his personal ignorance or stupid idea. so, do you think it is a wrong strategy to look at him as a person. >> i think it is it is beyond strategy. laughing a jump as you probably know was not the most successful's strategy. it did not help. sorry for trump here. >> i think you have to put humor into anything. and we are laughing about putin and his action. but this is not the way we are laughing at him. he is always late.
even if he miss he doesn't care because he is always right. >> he has his meeting with the pope francis for convenience and with queen elizabeth for an hour. >> and just before the meeting with the pope he made these game based on mario game. and it could help with putin be in time. >> did he have a rocket launcher? >> i spoke about the schematic conference in texas. and after minutes i heard all of the audience saying me, me, me. they got putin it the meantime. >> the problem with putin is -- it is like 18 years.
my favorite is about putin is about his press secretary. because his reactions is so exerts. his press secretary has three way reaction. putin knows, putin doesn't know, i do not know if putin knows or not. and we put real news and readers should guess the reaction. what did he say, putin knows, putin doesn't know, i do not know putin knows or not. >> sometimes there's some space for jokes. in general. >> it putin's ruling is very boring. nothing comparing to boris
yeltsin. -- ruled almost like putin but shorter. people remember it's like it was forever. but putin was funny. >> by the way trump is more funny than putin. >> let's go to more questions and then we'll wrap it up. >> a very quick question, you mentioned the english language version, can you tell us a bit more about why you decided to start the english language and what kind of audience your hoping to reach and what kind of audience you are actually reaching with the english language version? >> so we have the head of the english version, if you want to
get our subscriptions a subscription letter about what is happening you. of course we want to be recognizable media for western people. we want journalists to consider is is a reliable source of what is happening in russia. of course we want to appear as links in the american free press about what is happening in russia. if you want to work for these people you need to speak english. for god sakes, please speak russian here. but in the world, i mean in the western world, not as much. it means that if you want to reach these people you have to make something in english. our idea is to produce something
that part of western society have special interest in what's happening in russia. scientists, authorities and people like that. >> so just add in the final comment. i wanted you as my audience, got you so i think i got it. >> it's on demand. sometimes we really understand that this article has to be an we actually don't know sometimes is it interesting for english readers. >> i think you'll have more
english readers after the presentation today. i like to congratulate you. this is a project less than three years old it is one that has generated 70% of its revenue through commercial means which is very hard. it generates hundreds of thousands of unique visitors every month. millions, 65% of your readers are under 34 so there's a huge growth potential there. 50% under 25. we would like to congratulate you. will be watching you and following you the story. we like to say happy birthday to clean up. thank you very much. [applause] [inaudible]