Natalia Sindeeva co-founded the popular independent channel Dozhd TV, translated as TV Rain, in 2008 alongside Vera Krichevskaya.
They were forced to suspend operations at the start of March, however, after the Kremlin passed a law criminalising any public opposition or news reporting that doesn’t support Putin’s narrative on the war.
Russia’s actions on Ukraine can’t even be described as an ‘invasion’ or ‘war’, and must instead be called a ‘special military operation’.
Sindeeva warned about the impact state media coverage has had on the citizens in Russia, telling the Independent that the approximately 20 percent who don’t support the conflict have other ways of finding out the truth.
Speaking about the remaining population, she said: “These people watch propaganda. They have completely opposite footage, they think it is Ukrainians who bomb Mariupol, they believe that Ukrainians killed people in Bucha.
“The problem is the audience of the state propaganda. We cannot reach them, and, to be honest, they do not have any demand for independent information.
“It is a majority of the people – they support the war, they support Putin, they make it easier for him.”
Sindeeva went on to discuss the censorship law, which was passed shortly after the start of the invasion of Ukraine on 24 February.
The ruling aims to punish the distribution of what it describes as ‘fake news’, and those convicted face up to 15 years in jail.
“Passing this law made [it] impossible live reporting on TV online,” she explained.
“We could not report on news relating to Ukraine or we would have to use only Russian state official sources, which do not give a real picture.”
Russians who are opposed to Putin’s war are still able to find reliable sources on what’s happening in Ukraine online.
Sindeeva continued: “The core of our audience knows how to use VPN to open some blocked sources or how to find our reporters or Ukrainian sources. It’s our bubble.”
The socialite is at the centre of the 2021 documentary F@ck This Job, the title of which was changed to Tango with Putin for BBC iPlayer, about her journey to create Dozhd TV.
While it was originally pitched as a lifestyle station, she soon found herself at the centre of Russia's war between propaganda and the truth.
Dozhd TV is one of many independent news outlets that have been forced to shut down in recent weeks.
Perhaps most symbolic of all has been the closure of Russia’s liberal radio station Ekho Moskvy (Echo of Moscow), which went into liquidation after a state censorship watchdog ordered its website to be blocked.
The station was considered a beacon of truth, having survived the Soviet Union’s dying days even as Russia took an authoritarian turn.
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