Exiled Russian journalists Ekaterina Kotrikadze and Tikhon Dzyadko continue their ongoing fight to tell their countrymen the truth about Vladimir Putin’s war with Ukraine by relaunching their independent news outlet TV Rain on YouTube.
The married pair spoke with CNN’s Brian Stelter on Sunday’s “Reliable Source,” telling him of the consequences of speaking out against Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.
“You now face 10 years in prison if you call this war what it is, a war…if you interview [Ukraine] President Zelenskyy or do anything like that,” Kotrikadze told Stelter.
Kotrikadze had previously been on “Reliable Sources” during the early stages of the invasion from Moscow, but since fled with her husband and reporting partner Dzyadko to Istanbul and now to Tbilisi, Georgia, where they continue to cover the war via a new YouTube channel, which already has over 100,000 subscribers after just four days.
The duo says that they hope to reunite with their TV Rain colleagues somewhere in Europe in the coming weeks, as they say they have heard pleas from Russian citizens to find ways to continue their work.
“We are filling a huge demand from the viewers,” Kotrikadze said. “They’re asking for a source that is not dependent on this Russian propaganda machine.”
Dzyadko said that the pair chooses YouTube to continue their work because Russia has not yet blocked the site. Since the invasion began, the Kremlin has enforced strict censorship laws to control the flow of information about the war.
In response to those laws, media companies like Netflix and Spotify have suspended their services amongst a global push to isolate Russia from financial and cultural resources, while media companies like CNN, BBC and The New York Times have drastically reduced their presence in Russia and hidden bylines to protect the few reporters still in the country.
“On last Tuesday when we had our first stream, it was very successful and a lot of people from Russia watched this stream as well,” Dzyadko said, adding that TV Rain has just uploaded a new interview in Russian with Pres. Zelenskyy that was recorded on Sunday.
You can watch a clip of Kotrikadze and Dzyadko’s appearance on “Reliable Sources” at the top.