Meduza, a Latvian-based Russian-language news company, has raised more than $250,000 in cryptocurrency donations from supporters in order to continue reporting independent news under a barrage of Russian government propaganda and censorship.
It has been reported that Meduza claims to report on “the real Russia, today,” has been asking for donations since April 2021 in the form of United States dollar, euro, and cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), BNB, Tether (USDT), Monero (XMR), and Zcash (ZEC).
However, since publishing their donations plea, the news company has received around $250,000 in crypto donations through 146,000 individual transactions. Around 93% of the total donation amount came in the form of 3.75 BTC with $116,954 and 49.9 ETH with $117,767.
The report said that Meduza’s money troubles actually began in April 2021, after it and several other independent media outlets got labeled by Russia’s Justice Ministry as “foreign agents,” requiring the company to place a large font warning in each of its Russian-language articles informing readers of its “foreign agent” status.
The announcement stated:
“As you can imagine, few companies will pay to promote their products below a warning that the content was “created by foreign agents.”
Likewise, being labeled as a foreign agent did not prevent readers in Russia from donating to the organization, however, as the company promptly set up an avenue for contributors to provide regulator donations through their banks using payment processor Stripe and through crypto. But, in March, Meduza found itself pincered by both Russian government censorship and the impact of Western sanctions.
Russian authorities blocked its website for “disseminating information in violation of the law.” Also, a major avenue for receiving donations from Russian supporters was blocked by a ban on the SWIFT network for Russian banks on February 26. SWIFT is a global financial messaging network used by financial institutions to execute international money transfers.
Meduza wrote on its donation website that the financial restrictions had made it impossible for them to field donations from their supporters in Russia. Since February 25, the news organization and its journalists have been publishing daily updates on Russia’s war against Ukraine, sharing images and stories about Ukrainian civilians impacted by the war and other major events not reported by local Russian media.
Thus, Meduza stated:
“Since the outbreak of this war, transferring money from Russia to Europe has been impossible. We lost 30,000 donators. At the moment, we get no money from Russia at all.”