tv Discussion Features Russian Dissident Journalists CSPAN May 9, 2017 12:35pm-2:00pm EDT
the role of dissident media under the presidency of vladimir putin and the outlook for the free press in russia. the conversation was hosted by the atlantic council in washington, d.c. good afternoon, everyone. forthe director of research europe and eurasia here at the atlantic council. it's my pleasure to host all of you and our listing which guests for this panel and conversation today. we pride ourselves on relationships that we have built
with russia's independent voices and civil society. rolelieve that it is our as a nonpartisan organization to work in a bipartisan way in washington and elsewhere rooted in transatlantic values and principles that it is our duty to serve as a platform for freedom fighters from around the world, including our russian friends and colleagues. many eventse host that brought together washington , researchers and policymakers together with russia's independent voices. we heard from -- whose book about her father's assassination and the role of russian propaganda in creating an atmosphere and environment of hate in russia today.
we regularly see and are honored to host it is not the first time that we've met our friends from medusa. medusa come of the english version and russian version. it is one of the few remaining independent news sources in the russian limits the day -- russian language today. unfortunately, the environment in russia today is not one that allows for freedom of expression. we are delighted that we were able to host -- in berlin about on the rise of
this information -- disinformation. i would like to hand the floor over to our established and a unified moderator, melinda herring. she's the editor of our flagship newsletter, ukraine alert. with as pria fellow fpri, the foreign policy research institute. and we have the chief executive of the medusa project. i will leave it up to them to tell you more about their story. atase remember to follow us
#russiafactor. >> good afternoon. thank you all so much for coming out. we have the pleasure of having to of russia's top journalists with us today. -- two russia's top journalists with us today. we have 30 minutes for q&a with our audience. i hope you can prepared. can you tell us more about your article and the response?
>> thank you for having me here. in 2014, march 12, as far as i remember, i was fired for my post. -- official reason was frankly, it wasn't the real reason. me official trigger to fire we had our special correspondent there. , weovered the story published lots of interviews sides from armed forces to opposition leaders.
march, as you recall, it was about ukrainian annexation and the ukrainian referendum. to administration wanted clear out the media space. to the ukrainian events, but not for the reason in the publication. we received a warning about publishing the link to the public sector -- the right sector was put into the black list of extra missed organizations. -- extremist organizations. 77 journalists resigned in
i dodn't be looking -- everything i can to give you that >> why did you resign and what is it like to be a journalist in russia today? >> and was one of the best moments in my life, actually. of 2014back to the u.n. -- it was that moment when you understand what you should do, you should stand up and quit. because of two reasons. peoplest reason is that wanted to fire the editor-in-chief. from my perspective means direct initiative. most important thing about that, the guy who actually replaced him -- he been working chief for a in
small internet newspaper. it is pro-kremlin. --is well-known as the guy he was working in the same -- he worked there with the person responsible for relations with the government, the gr guy. authorities were disappointed about our articles. -- that kind of guy is going to run the biggest and most respectable and most important internet media in
russia. he invited people from the editorial team, the editorial staff. i would never want to be in his place. >> what happened? did you walk out? >> screaming at him. yelling at him. we've been humiliating him. of course, it was a pleasure to humiliate him. >> what is medusa? where did you get the idea? after my firing, i decided i should take a breath and she to the capital of
hungry. hungary.l of i returned and my mom called me i'm at the airport -- we will be here. airport -- we will be here. there were five of us. i asked one question -- what should we do? we can lead our own lives or we can try to do something. handy cams to make the anda with the right staff no owner at all.
let's try. >> i read that 70% of your earnings right now are coming from advertising, which is huge. congratulations on that. that is a huge deal. what kind of companies advertise with you? are there any penalties for russian company's advertising with you? >> the best companies advertise with medusa. >> we started with advertising. charge -- we are trying to attract them. , among our advertisers, we have russian divisions of international companies. uber,irbnb,
philips, bmw,ny, some banks. when they saw the results of ,heir advertising campaigns even russian pro-government banks advertised. for example, we did ir banksements for the -- >> the main state bank in russia. just for the economical prices. it was a challenge. it was cool because all of those moneyies stopped earning -- earning money -- earning
-- burning money. >> you guys were running the most popular website in 2014 -- you have medusa started. how can you cover russia from abroad? inr staff of 30 is living russia. how do you do it? there were skeptical people when we started. i don't understand why they were skeptical. when you live in russia, you understand that 90% of the russian economy is in moscow. 90% of the money is in moscow. the political decisions are made in moscow. you have to stay in moscow. secret we have
journalists on the ground and reporters in moscow. we actually have our sales department in moscow because we are dealing with russian companies and russian departments of international company's. -- international companies. make aas his dream to popular media outlet outside of moscow. is it like nebraska? >> like albuquerque. one of the dakotas. of the your coverage stories you break influence russian state media? >> at first, we were newsmakers
for russian state media. hunting and getting us with cameras and they did their primetime programs about us. as the top anti-russian media -- , there's a you know tricky situation. , on the 26th of march, there were huge demonstrations, 100 cities took part in this. no one from state media covered these situations. there were no programs, no news , norage, no articles columns about those protests.
began topropaganda guy broadcast his weekly primetime program, he put us on the big screen because we were the only source of information about protests. of howed to tell a story politicians use youngsters to go to the streets to protest against putin's regime, but he showed us for many minutes and coverageut how our what we were the only source -- >> did you see a huge spike? >> it was a really good promotion for us. >> what kind of numbers did you have during the protests in march? >> millions of readers. >> when you first started, how
did you get the word out that there was this new website called medusa? >> we had a lot of publicity because of the story -- we were famous journalists, a famous journalist team can actually. there was attention from russian media and international media. we have some resources in the very beginning. we started from nothing. this is the problem, actually. when you are working in huge media command 2014, it was the number one media in russia -- huge media, in 4014, it was the number one media in russia, the biggest media in russia ever. 2014, it was the number one media in russia, the biggest media in russia ever. problem which i called the
problem of the second -- it is not that hard to record your first good and successful album. then, you start thinking, it , the success is not about us, it's about some condition, some luck. can you do it for the second time? is it possible to make the same thing popular and important but brand-new? you will be compared with your first child. >> how are you doing with being compared your first child? >> we decided to forget about our first child. [laughter] today? about russia your english newsletter, you have this slogan -- "medusa, the
real russia today." how does rt treat you? >> we live in different universes. putin. product made for we have our own russian television -- >> the twitter of russia today --much more popular than >> than the actual content. a good twitter personality. , but we don'tches exist for russia today. >> what kinds of stories most interest your readers? >> tough question. story as far as about aer was a story
russian activist who was .etained twice he was put behind bars for two years. he wrote a letter about torture in his prison. it was published and we began to investigate this case. we get one million views of this article. stories,about other you know, most of our audience is young people under 35. 70% of our audience are under 34. they have no soviet background.
after 2014, after the ukrainian war, there was a lot of white noise. we decided to reduce white noise. and to begin to explain what is really happening in russia, what is really important in russia. we decided to do individual journalism, answering questions. even embarrassing questions. >> give us an example. >> well -- >> anything. , may 8 his victory day -- it is a victory day and we made an embarrassing question -- did russia really invade poland before the war? we have special lore about russian history.
hears about the soviet union -- >> anything could be explained -- everything has to be explained in russia. theserliament creates bizarre lore about gay propaganda. if you're a teacher and you are working with children and your peoples ask you about -- pupils ask you about sexual affairs, is it fine for you to talk to them or is itosexuality already gay propaganda and you can be prosecuted? explain.o >> one of the most popular
, police knocking on your door, what should you do? -- was it a list? how do you tell that story? was -- >> it looks like this, it looks everyone has had that experience, who lived in russia, and every time there was some an of the door, you wonder who it is. like, i is one where was detained, what should i do, what should i say to the police man? >> young people, 70% of your readers are under 34. are they mostly reading on their phones and sharing? >> the most popular publications
are -- we do these news gaming for youngsters. we want them to be engaged. ordo games, video games games based on real news stories. about thespecial game russian orthodox church. all --eeply involved in of life. they banned operas. they smashed modern art exhibitions and so on. we made a special game. there is a church and school, museum and concert hall. people will try to run out of church and you need to tap them to return them to church.
we love games. we had one of the most -- is it in our region prison or a hotel in norwegianis it a prison or a hotel in russia? my favorite quiz was made by the brother of -- and he is in prison right now, and of course, why wouldn't he be? printed quizzes and we sent a letter to him and he wrote do you know the rules of the quiz? >> it sounds like your site has sort of a irreverent tone to it. >> my point is that russia is full of fear, and when people
are laughing, they do not feel fear. we want them to be brave and not to feel fear and not to be scared. >> that is powerful. >> i read some articles -- you told the daily beast that you went back home and you try to experiment. you turned on the tv and watched a week of state tv and you said it is changing my views. a russian-american had tried something similar. he would check into a new york hotel and had kobe beef and watched a lot of alcohol and watched russian tv to see how it would change his mind and he quit. -- he drankrn on too much. question.serious we know that tv is powerful and that most russians watch it. what advice do you have for us
in washington and in the west, because it is really tricky. we want to support independent russian media, but tv is expensive and it's hard to get a tv license. should we focus on supporting online projects like medusa? where should we put our monday -- our money? >> the trick with russian television is that you are what wasour tv and created in the middle of the 1990's was good television, you have good tv shows with celebrities. it has good tv series. it is sophisticated television. it is quality television and the people who are running the state television right now in russia, they started in 1990. a lot of people did not even notice that something had changed because you have the same content and a bit of
propaganda embedded into these contents. we are not trying to reach people who are consuming television as their main source of information. you cannot convince these people to change their habits, especially if you are talking about the older people. who were stuck in the soviet union. you can't reach them and we are not trying to reach these people. you should not create alternative western russian speaking media, because you will not win this competition. it is growing from russia. you should support independent journalism.
i don't believe in any anti-propaganda system. i don't think that one propaganda can win another propaganda. putin started years ago. he invested billions of money and creating this media infrastructure inside russia and without -- within russia and outside russia. sputnik andand things like that. russian television broadcasts all over europe because people are watching russian speaking people. they are not watching archie, rt is -- rt, rt is shit. it is too late to create another channel. you are not ready to spend that kind of money that putin put into russian television. competitive journalism or do
i'm sayingcause about television, because it was a big idea in europe that -- somes have to create tv channel which is based somewhere in europe to make good independent or western, liberal use and broadcast to russia. you will not do this. you do not have enough money. you do not have enough celebrities or professionals. it is just impossible. speaking about impact to russian television. ast week, i saw , but theyment program now, only 56% of
named television as the main source of news. three years ago, it was 83%. it has declined. it seems to me that i've been missed one great -- ivan missed one great point. aredays, youtube channels extremely popular amongst the russian population. are local politicians trying to be youtube stars. >> maybe you can tell me about how -- used youtube during the march protest. >> he is actually a youtube star. a couple of years ago, he -- then that there is
people, they don't know the names, but they are stars amongst youngsters. they have millions of viewers. a couple years ago, they decided to invest all free money they had an free resources and free time into creating their own content for you to. -- for youtube. it started at zero and it looked like robots. it was pathetic and stupid. but now, he is a very popular video blogger. duringas broadcasting this situation where somebody had thrown liquid acid into his face and he was blind on the right eye and he was broadcasting with green face and grows and i -- grows an eye.
he was broadcasting with a special mask. you are laughing and i am with you. >> i think the biggest achievement they got from youtube was the documentary about corruption, about our current prime minister and ex-president. they made these -- this documentary about his property and they published it one month ago -- more than one month ago. >> is that what catalyzed the protests? >> yes. >> it sort of spread? >> russia was the first country where youtube became the channel for resistance. thatu told the daily beast
a independent media -- cloning independent media is dumb and stupid and when putin closes 5, 10 more will ring open. is that happening? >> yes. there is the small media, it is small but it could be huge. it covers stories about human rights violations and prisons and stuff like that. i think they have one million unique users or something like that. >> which is huge. some organizations acting like media. -- he is anticorruption and they
are publishing the stories every day, or they are making documentaries such as the documentary -- and it is good journalism, good investigative journalism. i can see that there are a lot of new mood -- new media and the number of independent media is rising. i think you cannot blame the media, which has the same size of audience. of news a number independent media in russia. >> do any of your readers have trouble accessing your website within russia? >> nope. broadcasting to through all distribution channels. application, messenger channels, subscription letters, newsletters, broadcasts --
podcasts, messengers. broadcast on to the different channels, but we have no example of blocking or closing mixed media in russia. >> that is great. , can you tell us an example of a story you guys covered in a very objective, evenhanded way and how did russian state tv cover the same topic? >> there are a lot of that kind of stories. mentioned thee story about the meetings and -- with a 26 of march when television did not make any protests andhe even news aggregators in russia
did not put the story up. are you in? they don't touch you? >> no. 2014, during the ukrainian crisis because a lot are russian media language media. understand, there kremlinreement with the because it lets them not put the ukrainian russian articles into the cover. time, any russian speaking foreign media can't be part of the segregated picture.
there is this brilliant example. it buysw every year, these decorations. -- and this story decorate all the streets. it is like christmas decorations but we are celebrating new year's in russia but not celebrating christians -- christmas. we are proud of this tradition. year, mosque -- the moscow government buys these stupid that your -- decorations and illuminations to make the city more beautiful.
>> from their point of view. >> we published a story about the price of these decorations. bigger thantimes the market. piece of a clear corruption. at the same time, in moscow media or on russian television, moscow is getting better. >> better and better. pop on thee some vox street saying moscow is so beautiful and we are so proud of our mayor. buying all of these bullshit decorations. this is how it works. it is like two parallel realities.
there is a dramatic difference between the reality you get from the state-controlled or state influenced media and independent media. >> i think your message is very exciting for journalists. i'm thinking there is a journalist in our audience from other post-soviet countries where freedom of speech is a big issue. kazakhstan, uzbekistan, to name a few. do you think this model would operate well in other countries? >> a lot of these countries have their exiled medium. belarus has. >> uzbekistan and kazakhstan. powerful.s big and know the proper steps to given advice -- to give
an advice, but as far as i understand, all of those media, they are noncommercial organizations. independencecial is part of media independence. editorspoke to some did exile, i said you guys not even think about commercial revenue. independent, not with a tag on your forehead, i am independent. ok, where was your money? let'stry to do something, try to get revenue and the independent, not as a journalist, but as a company, as a business.
respect for noncommercial organizations, but it seems to me it is the wrong way for media to say with the hand, please give us money. if we are successful, we should be successful in business. >> 70% of your earnings right now are commercial. where does the other 30% come from? it seems to me that it is february 2018 when we are 100% commercial, according to the business plan. we want to keep you around. i am responsible for spending money. >> i thought you were responsible for content.
>> my readers read for free. let's pay him this huge salary. this is the best piece i have ever read, please give him much more money. i usually take a miserable salary. >> that's the journalism we know, here. you told politico that the kremlin had gone soft on opposition media. what the amine by that and you expect them to go hard after the election next year -- what do you mean by that and do you expect them to go hard after the election next year? >> i have no idea. it is always a mess. the guysee right now is who was responsible for the internal politics in russia,
they decided to change the guise of who is responsible. it 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 state parliament. he worked in the kremlin administration, and he is responsible for ruining, for destroying the civil society infrastructure in russia because he was the architect of new putinism. a lot of media -- they love their independent, truly independent -- anti-extremist
law which lets you lock any website without a trial in two hours. >> who is blocking it? >> it is the regulator, but there are a number of organizations. whycan become the trigger the website is blocked. write a letterto of proper execution in the office to block a site. >> and it may happen immediately. >> did that happen to you? >> now. thank -- no, thank god no. then the law about foreign owners of media because governors cannot own more than 20% of russian media --
foreigners cannot own more than 20% of russian media. it started a big process of changing the owners of imported russian media. russian forbes which was very respectable and very important part of the media landscape is now owned by some stupid but extremely loyal to the kremlin guy without a reputation but with money. and one are publishing of the lines is empty. list, a publishing a rating of billionaires of russia and number three or four, i can't recall, it was just empty because they cleaned it up just before the publishing, the
rating. it's forbes. >> and i do not want you to see how much assets he has. up the mediaeaned landscape, they destroyed the then theandscape, and guy was fired, he became the head of the parliament. the other guy became the head responsible for the internal is very and the new guy famous in russia because in the 1990's, he was the prime minister. huge98, it is the year of
economic crisis in russia. you remember in 2008, the biggest nightmare here in the usa. we remember 1998. he was the head of the government when the fall of the economy happened and that is why everybody understood that the crisis was going to happen in the guy decided to become -- nobody knew this guy, which is kinder had this day name, surprise. and hea childish face appeared from almost nowhere. he was also a friend of boris, so a cofounder of the most popular liberal party in russia, in the late 1990's.
he became some official guy who worked this end there for the president, for prudent and then he was the head of the state corporation, which is managing the nuclear energy in russia and now he is the head of the internal all ethics department -- internal politics department. a lot of people consider this -- this guy as a ask -- --l -- x liberal ex-liberal. with thed negotiating liberal media, for example. briefings with editors and chief reporters of independent media and he speaks to these people and tries to read the audience using media --
reach the audience using media. explaining why pruden wants to become president for the fourth wants tohy putin become president for the fourth time. he looks softer. everybody was like wow. this is unbelievable. gender surprise -- kinder surprise is the head of internal politics. so the guy is responsible for the successful election of vladimir putin as we call it in russia. but again, it's a big mess because the protests happens.
the movie, the documentary about corruption of dmitry. are permanently wanting to take part in some streets and it's a big mess and no one knows what will happen. thee is a big feeling that concept of internal politics is changing, but they don't have , the systemnt itself, they have lost the idea of how to deal with the society, except pressure and prosecution. eventually,i think unfortunately, nothing is going to change -- something is going to change. >> let's invite our audience to jump into the conversation. we have microphones, so raise your hand and identify yourself.
>> good afternoon. i'm trying to understand your demographics and there is a call a tory -- corollary to that question. in the more educated or durban and du think that talking only to that demographic is going to make a political difference in russia? >> speaking about our 65% of our, we had readers under 35. underhis 65%, almost 50% 25. and they live in big cities, and i think that 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 a profit -- like a prophet. we are living in a social world and i just want to speak openly, objectively with those guys and want and art who seeking -- and are seeking the explanation and really want to understand what is happening in their own country. >> these people have a good russia without putin, next year. >> by physical reasons. >> physical reasons.
he can roll forever -- rule, forever. >> gentleman in the back? >> this follows up on the last question, do you feel you have a good sense, do you feel 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 the legitimacy of the power -- of the president to put it more bluntly. >> you are in charge of content. take it away. >> the question is important. i will try to translate for myself and for everyone.
possible to talk with a bigger majority of people in russia than these people who are loyal just because they want to see the changes? am i right? this is a very theoretical question. there are no technologies to reach these people unfortunately. which allowsnology you to talk to that kind of person is the television. trying to reach those , putting our articles or ment pieces into the most .opular social media of 40+
we can see some interest from them. actually, they are not our audience at all. is ithort follow-up -- possible to do a study, a discreet study, to really, honestly get attitudes around the country in a very large country? would people give honest opinions? >> no. >> only anonymous. withis is the problem vladimir putin's support. we don't know for sure how many people support him. the sociologist comes to some of department and he knocks on the door. he looks good. . he looks like an authority is knocking on the door and asking, are you supporting vladimir
putin and the united russia? of who hasthe russian guy since thenking habits ancient times, says of course i do. he closes the door and says what? great, mentioned successful at tweeting or storytelling. is that because of their social media strategy? personale about a tweeter. she is very popular in russia. the main target audience of russia today is outside russia. it's not inside russia. nobody knows for sure what they
are all about because we have no habit to see russia today inside russia. motor popular than her product. >> years ago, when journalists were not allowed in the country due to a crackdown, i went to turkey because they have more flexibility. we ended up in a situation where the two governments teamed up
against a dissident journalists. then you see this increasing attack in western capitals against liberal media. why isn't there room for dissident journalists? do you have any concern about this? >> it's a really good question. azerbaijan iabout want to cry because i understand the situation. people here have some interest in what's happening in russia because of trump and so forth. how many people are interested in azerbaijan? question, >> i could share my own experience.
ivan we even --and thinkhat if we want to every minute of our life what they could do with us and let's do nothing. and we to do something know we are pretending that vladimir putin and the kremlin and all those things, they do not exist at all. >> let's take another question. we have plenty of time for questions. >> thank you very much. i want to ask you two questions. first, the effectiveness of the
social networks now. youtube andd twitter. facebook has lost its ground. what is happening there? to do the authorities manage get rid of the trolls in various forms of blockage? is these question they weren march 26, so widespread and big. there were so many young people. did you see this coming before? if so, how? >> speaking about the second question -- we did not expect at all. no one expected it.
it was sunday and we had a couple of journalists. huge protest in siberia. we just got connected with all other media. >> we had some huge plan for the date but it had urgency when you have action. known believed it. when it started in siberia, everybody turned on and watched but no one expected in russia. >> the first one was about social media. russia was divided between facebook and facebook is an opinion maker.
when you want to gain a huge audience, you should go to connectia. when you want to grab attention for newsmakers, you go to facebook. >> the problem with conductive is it is a russian company. it is cooperating with the russian secret service. from the point of view of a private user, you should probably not put anything on there because it may cause a problem for you. on facebook, you can act freely.
trialsre hundreds of about the posting of something like extremists. facebook is an american company. the state works with both social media platforms. >> we know how to fight with trolls. all the discussions and conversations disappeared within 24 hours. it's a very special place, people who are older.
it's for people who have a small experience on the internet. they like using the biggest mail service in russia. connect to way they their classmates. somehow, it's absolutely closed in russia. even if you have a very popular community, people are not pushing the links. they don't feel any need to go anywhere because they have everything. which one is the most useful platform to get the message out? all platforms are useful.
let's take another question. content is the king but the audience is the ace. what is the strategy for growing the audience in the second part, you said you practice explanatory journalism. is media it -- is the media literacy of the audience. >> let me start answering from the second question. media literacy is a huge thing. the information wars started and the common idea among european it's a post at soviet society and that's why they have small media literacy. they did not consume media for
years. that's why propaganda works so good for these people and that's why they really believe in what propaganda says. which is bs probably. peopleake some british and put them into the environment. >> let's speak about brexit. >> let's dig about brexit or trump or anything in this world. >> everything is media more or less right now. any society on earth does not experience of consuming of that size of information. >> we made some pieces about how
toreduce and how to talk your fellow countrymen. search the web and so on. it more or less maybe 10 publications in two years. it'su should do this but not only about us. at first it was about how we were growing the audience. we are trying to work as hard as we can. use all kindsto of distribution channels. >> everything. thatunderstand one thing, only all of our departments should work as hard at the same
time. this is the one way to success. task, explanation desk, technical department the photo department. exactly, there is no one thing for these structures. you cannot make funny quizzes every day and get a huge audience. you have to make good investigative journalism. videos andicated something and something. you need to develop the channels of distribution. it's the complex city of different things which gives you eventually the audience. it sounds like a dynamic place to work. if you need an english person, let me know. >> let's take another question
right here. >> when did you decide to call it medusa? >> it was a mistake. we gathered in 2014, stupid me, speaking about the chance of blocking us in russia, i said to wantf my guys, you know, i the result as a stupid mirror. one, mirror to. to be like they cut off our head and we will raise up. one of my guys said medusa.
great that we are not medusa. he spoke about hydra. hydra. heads of we called it medusa and i you cannd that medusa, only stare intima medusa's eyes through a mirror. at realitye a look through the mirror of media. workgood international with good sense. becauseomething great you want to look into the reality. >> it's just a scary word. in russian, it also means jellyfish. thank you both for your remarks today. great work especially the fact
that you're looking at february of 2018 and talking about financial independence. i have been in the field a long time and i have not seen that and a lot of organizations. besides the fact that you happen , wasve a large market there a tipping point or particular strategy? how could you attract this caliber of advertiser to your website? unfortunately, i look at the amount -- started, we thought we will try to get money from different sources. diversezed it has to be model. none of the media gets money right now from one source.
inmate -- it needs to make this and that. the thing about media advertising is one of the main sources when we started the been the advertising became a huge thing for us and the market. we were the first media in russia that started promoting advertising. is it good or bad? >> what is native advertising? >> when it's from russia. it gives us money and independence. now we gain money from media and native advertising from conferences. we made a conference called
storm. >> it was a professional conference. everybody who wants to listen and we made a special nonpolitical project. it's an online guide application that goes around the world. and we made a school of journalism for youngsters. >> that also created money. >> and we made some merchandising. >> it is kind of a creative agency within our structure. there is a wall between
commercials and journalists. >> would you still like to ask a question? >> yes, forgive my ignorance but it's not clear what the access would be to the guardian or the new york times for people who read those languages or du monde . is it blocked in any way? are there penalties if you access it and it becomes known? >> you can access on most anything. there are a lot of blocked but some arerussia linked in a social network. some of it was blocked in russia so there are a list of blocked sites but it's not like a
chinese firewall. there is a list and it becomes longer. any court in russia can add something to this list. things,read many anything if you're in russia. 90% of russians just don't speak english. >> you can hear it. >> so it needs to be in russian. we will go to another question. american media laughs at american presidents a lot especially donald trump. they left at him as a person.
formal -- russian media doesn't really do it. i'm talking about vladimir putin's actions that show his personal ignorance or stupidity or anything else. is wrong to it laugh at vladimir putin as a person? >> i think it is the wrong strategy. if it's the only strategy. trump was notnald the most successful strategy for the american society. it did not help. if there are people who support trump, i'm sorry. you have to put humor into anything and we are laughing at vladimir putin and his actions.
we are not laughing at him because he is bald or old. he is always late and he plays these games. >> in his meeting with pope francis, he kept them waiting for 40 minutes and queen elizabeth for an hour. >> just before the meeting with he was playing a game based on super mariano. putin --vladimir >> did he have a rocket launcher? games ined about these austin, texas. minutes, i heard the sounds in the audience.
>> the problem with vladimir putin is it is funny already. 18 years. favorite quiz about vladimir putin is about his press secretary. his reaction is so absurd. he has three reactions. vladimir putin knows or doesn't know or i don't know if he knows or not. [laughter] news and readers should guess the reaction. what did he say? putin knows, pugin knows or he doesn't know. is space for there
some jokes but in general, >> vladimir's ruling is very boring. >> it's nothing compared with boris yeltsin. then there was brezhnev who ruled almost like vladimir putin. brezhnev was funny. vladimir putin is not that funny. donald trump is more funny than vladimir putin. >> we have two more questions and then we will wrap it up. >> a very quick question. you mentioned the english version of medusa. can you tell us more about why you decided to start the english language and what audience you are hoping to reach and what kind of audience you are actually reaching with the english language version?
>> we have the head of our english version here. give her your you melody you want a subscription information from russia. recognizablebe media for western people. want foreign journalists to consider medusa a reliable sub -- source as to what is happening in russia. if you want to work for these people, you need to speak english. russian.e people speak world, not as
much as a if you want to reach these people, you have to make something in english. a great idea is to produce something for that part of western society who have special interest in what is happening in russia. >> scientists, andcientists, authorities people like that. i want you as my audience and i got you. >> will kind of demographics do you get? are you translating your russian language articles or is it original content? >> its on-demand. >> sometimes we understand [indiscernible] subscribers ask our
if they want the story in english. it's interesting for how english readers -- >> i think you will have more english readers after this. i would like to congratulate you because this is a project that is less than three years old, it has already generated 70% of its revenue through commercial means which is very hard. it generates hundreds of thousands of unique visitors , 65% ofnth, millions your readers are under 34. there is huge growth potential there. want tonder 25 so we congratulate you. we will be watching you and following your story and want to wish you the best and we would like to say happy birthday to galina. [applause] thank you very much. [applause] [captions cori