The collapse of the Soviet Union in the early '90s was one of the most monumental postwar events. With the collapse of communism came a tumultuous search for a new identity.
It was a time of bandit capitalism and extreme poverty, but also one of hope, openness and — for the first time since the Russian Revolution — press freedom. For the first time, Russian citizens were free to explore history, exchange opinions and criticize power: cornerstones for any open and democratic society.
In present-day Russia, most of those achievements have been rolled back, but the seed of honest and independent journalism was sown in those early '90s. And many brave Russian journalists continue to tell their stories independent from state interference or business interests. It is an uphill struggle — sometimes dangerous, always difficult.
The war of aggression by Russia against Ukraine changed the entire Russian media landscape. Operating independent media from with Russia became not only dangerous- it became illegal. Authorities introduced draconian laws forbidding journalists to use the word 'war' and labelling the activities of independent media as 'foreign agents' or even worse 'undesirables'. This forced Russian independent media into exile - from where they now became the voice to fight Russian state propaganda. The mission of Stichting Potamos is to support independent journalism in Russia and the CIS countries. Freedom of the press and freedom of information are vital for gathering and distributing reliable, fact-based news.
Media play a crucial role in providing citizens with free and unrestricted access to information that can help them monitor the authorities and make empowered decisions. In Russia, where all of the media are state-controlled, it is of vital importance that objective news and information remain available to everyone.