Latvia revokes licence of Russian exiled broadcaster

Latvia has withdrawn the broadcasting licence of Russian TV station Dozhd, which moved to Riga after being blocked in Russia, citing threats to national security. Dozhd, which until now has been considered an anti-Kremlin outlet, presented a map showing Crimea as part of Russia, and its news presenter Alexey Korostelev expressed the hope that the station had been able to help Russian soldiers by sending them equipment. Dozhd fired Korostelev and apologised, but to no avail.

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Meduza (RU) /

Riga playing into Putin's hands

The exiled Russian news website Meduza, which is also based in Latvia, criticised the decision in an open letter endorsed by many media outlets and journalists of the Russian opposition:

“The TV station's anti-war stance is obvious, as is its critical attitude towards Putin's regime. The importance of Dozhd as a counterweight to Russian propaganda is enormous. Behind the slogans about 'national security' is a decision that deals a heavy blow to freedom of speech. ... By banning Dozhd, the Latvian authorities are supporting the Kremlin in its efforts to completely destroy Russia's independent media.”

Delfi (LT) /

Not acting on his own

Delfi does not believe that moderator Alexey Korostelev acted without consulting his bosses:

“First of all, this is not the first time Dozhd has curtsied to imperial Russia since moving to Riga. Secondly, every journalist knows that a moderator can't just go on air and launch a fundraising campaign - even for children - simply because he wouldn't have the technical means to manage such a task without editorial support. ... Dozhd's responsibility is also clear because Korostelev used the pronoun 'we'. Editor-in-chief Dziadko is lying. ... On 28 April 2014, when asked who owned Crimea, the good Russian Dziadko tweeted without being asked: 'Crimea, welcome to Russia'.”

Neatkarīgā (LV) /

It had become intolerable

For Neatkarīgā, there could be no other decision:

“War does not forgive any errors. There have already been two warnings from the National Council for Electronic Mass Media (NEPLP). ...Dozhd must be replaced because the Latvian authorities will not allow the editorial team to continue anyway [editor's note: this text appeared before the decision]. However, not because there is a kind of racism in Latvia against anything that contains traces of Russianness, but because Latvia must not permit any tolerance for manifestations of Russian imperialism and the inability to adopt a clear position.” (UA) /

No longer the Dozhd it used to be

The opposition Russian journalist Alexander Nevzorov supports the Latvian stance on

“Unfortunately, we must come to the realisation that the TV station is a wolf in sheep's clothing. ... I would like to remind you that this station has long been considered 'anti-Kremlin' and independent. At the very beginning of the war it obediently 'laid down its arms' and remained suspiciously silent for five bloody months, and now it is beginning to articulate itself. The vague (trivial) explanations and apologies of the editor-in-chief should not be taken seriously. To dwell on the question of whether Dozhd was subjected to bribery or intimidation makes no sense.”

Kirill Rogov (RU) /

Those who condemn all Russians endorse Putin

Journalist Kirill Rogov warns against on Facebook against pigeonholing Dozhd:

“As serious as this mistake was, it does not change the fundamental fact that Dozhd, along with Meduza, is the most effective TV station for spreading anti-Putin and anti-war ideology in Russia. ... The harshness of the reaction to Dozhd's mistake confronts us with the current widespread opinion that there are no good Russians, and that if you scratch a little on the surface, you can (and should) find a 'hidden imperialist' in every 'Russian'. ... Paradoxically, this discourse represents the same idea that the Kremlin propagates: Putin is Russia. These debates leave no space on the map for the 'other Russia'.”

Nikolai Mitrochin (RU) /

Even a scarf increases the Russians' fighting power

Nikolay Mitrochin, a political scientist based in Bremen, says in a Facebook post that Dozhd has crossed a line with its appeal for sympathy:

“By appealing to people to send a scarf or gloves, you are helping to increase the fighting power of the Russian army - and by exactly the number of hours that a soldier who has received a scarf and avoids a cold as a result of this appeal can fulfil the orders of his superiors, even if he is not yet in the trenches but only sweeping away the snow on the parade ground. ... This is precisely how the Russian side assesses the help its army receives from Ukrainian volunteers - which is why they are ruthlessly captured and harshly treated.”