Whitelist: quality Russian-language media


Propastop has previously compiled two Blacklists of Kremlin propaganda media channels (part one and two). These are publications that provide one-sided, biased or Kremlin directed information that are owned or otherwise closely associated with the Russian Government. When following the blacklist channels, it must be remembered that the information received is not honest, balanced or objective press. The choice of topics, the way they are presented, the facts – these are all directed by the Kremlin on propaganda channels.

With this story, we lay the foundation for the White List, a list of Russian-language media outlets that are outside the Kremlin’s sphere of influence and can therefore be trusted.

The whitelist is for Russian-language media that are not owned, directly or indirectly, by the Kremlin. As a rule, these channels are located outside Russia, but they write a lot about what is happening in Russia. We focus on channels covering important socio-political and social issues. At least for the time being, local media, as well as blogs and social networking groups are excluded from the list.
The new list is aimed in particular at people living outside Kremlin’s media sphere of influence who feel a lack of honest and balanced media. We invite you to distribute the White List among all your Russian-speaking friends and acquaintances. The easiest way to do this is to share this link.
Note that some channels on the White List are blocked in Russia. However, they can be read via VPN but also on social networks (Facebook, YouTube, Telegram), where many of the list’s publications publish their material. The Russian authorities are trying to block these accounts too, but most of the time they have been unsuccessful.

We are publishing the White List in several parts, by country and by region, starting with publications in Scandinavia and the Baltics.


Yle Russian-language portal

Public service broadcasting in Finland is owned by the Finnish State but is completely independent in terms of press content. The Russian-language edition of Yle employs ten people who provide news, interviews and other texts of lasting value. For example, the heading „The Finnish Path“ deals with Finnish culture and traditions, while the „Russian accent“ is about the Russian speaking population of Finland.

Examples of Russian-language publishing’s produced by Yle includes a detailed overview of the European elections and an article on Translation difficulties between Finnish and Russian.

There are no good examples of Russian-language media from other Nordic countries. Swedish National Broadcasting only recently had its own Russian-language portal, but it was closed in 2016. Norway and Denmark also lack any significant Russian media channels. In these countries, information in Russian is circulated through Internet forums and common media communication groups. Propastop has no overview of how reliable the info is there.


The Estonian National Broadcasting’s Russian-language portal, radio station Raadio 4 and TV station ETV+

Estonian National Broadcasting, like the Finnish Yle and the British BBC, is publicly funded but journalistically independent. The Russian-language portal focuses on Estonian news, but also covers important events in the world and shares opinion stories.

Radio 4 is one of the most popular Russian-language stations in Estonia, broadcasting on social and political issues, offering cultural, educational and entertainment content. The Radio broadcasts 24/7 on internet radio.

The TV channel ETV+ produces its own news, discussion and entertainment shows as well as series and documentaries. The investigative press program, Insight touches on important topics, such as recently broadcasting the background of some failed business projects in Estonia.

Postimees portal

Belongs to one of the largest private media groups in the Baltic’s, Postimees Group, owned by Margus Linnamäe, an Estonian entrepreneur who also is involved in the pharmaceutical business as well as in real estate. Linnamäe has been named as one of one of the most influential individuals in Estonia.

The Russian-language Postimees employs ten journalists. Portal news, opinion stories, interviews, video clips focus on Estonian and Baltic topics. Investigative stories are written, much is covered on events in the regions of Russia bordering Estonia, for example, this article writes about the storage of St. Petersburg garbage 13 km from the Estonian border.

Delfi in Estonia portal

The portal is part of Ekspress Group, a media concern operating in the Baltics. The company’s shares are freely traded on the stock exchange, the majority of shares are held by Hans H. Luik, an Estonian media entrepreneur. There are eleven journalists working in the Russian-language Delfi, focusing on Estonian and Baltic topics, with a strong emphasis on entertainment. A lot of material is translated from the Estonian language Delfi. A separate section is dedicated to Russian news and as a rule; these stories are based on the content of foreign channels.

The newspaper Delovõje Vedomosti

The only Russian-language business newspaper in Estonia belongs to the Bonnier Group, the largest media group in Scandinavia. The Russian-language publication employs seven journalists and covers business news and articles on the Estonian economy, for example, an article on Russian entrepreneurs doing business in Estonia. Socio-political issues are also covered, such as an interview with Zhanna Nemtsova, the daughter of the murdered Russian politician, Boris Nemtsov.

Re:Baltica portal

It is an independent investigative journalism center founded by a group of Latvian journalists in 2011. The project is funded by Western foundations, but in its revenue and donations as well as press content it is independent. Re:baltica investigative articles have been published by several major Western publications. For example, a story that showed how propaganda portals operating in the Baltic States were funded by the Russian government was widely publicized.

Meduza portal

Lenta.ru Russian journalists founded Meduza after Lenta was taken over by the Kremlin. The project’s financiers have not been disclosed, but for example, Mihhail Hodorkovski is considered a passive investor. Meduza’s texts target Russian readers, providing an alternative to Kremlin-biased media. Relevant news, analysis and opinion pieces from other world publications are mediated but original texts are also created.

Meduza journalists are also employed  in Russia, the most famous being Ivan Golunov, whose criminal case in Russia sparked widespread protests for the freedom of the press. An example of Meduza’s content would be the detailed analysis of the 2019 Moscow protests.

Web newspaper Spektr Press

The magazine was founded by Anton Lõssenkov, a Russian journalist who moved to Latvia. Ekspress Group and the EU Foundation for Democracy have funded the venture.

The publication is aimed at Russian readers to give a Kremlin propaganda machine free undistorted view of world affairs. Much of the material produced by other publications is shared. An example of the publication’s work is an overview of Moscow’s 2019 street protests.

LSM portal

The Russian-language portal, which started operating in 2013, is owned jointly by Latvian radio and Latvian television, both of which are owned by the Latvian State. The Russian editorial team employs five journalists, who provide news, analysis and opinion stories, the radio and television channel that manages the portal has created most of them.

Delfi in Latvia portal

The portal belongs to the Ekspress Group together with Delfi in Estonia and Lithuania (read more detail in the Estonian Delfi section). There are 11 journalists working in the Russian-language editorial office in Latvia, as an example, we chose the investigative story of Ukranian food reaching Latvia and a longer article about the mass escape from a Latvian prison in 1994.

TVNet portal

Belongs to the Postimees Group (read more detail in the Estonian Postimees section), similar to Postimees in content. The Russian-language publication employs ten journalists, a good example of their work would be the article „memory from water“ that is being sold in Latvia.

Mixnews portal

The portal along with web radio Baltkom belongs to Mix Media Group, which is owned by Latvian entrepreneur Andrej Feldmanis. He is a former DJ as well as having been involved in politics. The Russian-language portal focuses mainly on Latvian news, but also current issues include interviews with Russian journalists and politicians – for example, interviews with the trusted television channel Dožd journalists Mihhail Fishmanis and Mihhail Hodorkovski.


News portal Delfi in Lithuania

The portal is subject to the same characterization as the Estonian and Latvian Delfi in Russian. According to the website, two journalists are working in the Russian-language editorial office focusing on Lithuanian issues. An example of the content of the portal is Konstantin von Eggert’s opinion article on the Moscow protests.

Photos: Craig Leontowicz /Flickr /CC; screenshots.