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The Naked Pravda

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Meduza’s first English-language podcast, The Naked Pravda highlights how our top reporting intersects with the wider research and expertise that exists about Russia. The broader context of Meduza’s in-depth, original journalism isn’t always clear, which is where this show comes in. Here you’ll hear from the world’s community of Russia experts, activists, and reporters about the issues at the heart of Meduza’s stories.
46 Episodes
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Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden recently had their first presidential phone call — a conversation that paved the way for a renewal of the New START Treaty (the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty reached in April 2010 between presidents Obama and Medvedev). But most other arms control agreements between Moscow and Washington have expired or collapsed in years past, so what’s the future of these diplomatic efforts going forward? For answers, “The Naked Pravda” turns to two experts in this field: Olga Oliker, the Director of the International Crisis Group’s Europe and Central Asia Program, and Pavel Podvig, an independent analyst based in Geneva, where he runs his research project, “Russian Nuclear Forces,” and works as a senior research fellow at the UN Institute for Disarmament Research and as a researcher with the Program on Science and Global Security at Princeton University. “The Naked Pravda” comes out on Saturdays (or sometimes Fridays). Catch every new episode by subscribing at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or other platforms. If you have a question or comment about the show, please write to Kevin Rothrock at kevin@meduza.io with the subject line: “The Naked Pravda.”
For the last six months, Russian opposition politician Alexey Navalny has been making headlines both in Russia and abroad. His near-fatal poisoning in August 2020 provoked international outcry and his immediate arrest upon returning to Russia after spending months recovering in Germany sparked a wave of protests that brought people to the streets countrywide.  With Navalny in jail, his supporters and associates sprang into action. The day after his arrest, his Anti-Corruption Foundation published an investigation about a billion-ruble palace allegedly built for Russian President Vladimir Putin. Meanwhile, his “Team Navalny” offices in cities across Russia worked to organize the demonstrations calling for his release. Nevertheless, on February 2, a Russian court sentenced Navalny to nearly three years in prison — as Meduza recorded this show, law enforcement in Moscow and St. Petersburg were detaining protesters opposing his sentence en masse. To assess the broader impact of Navalny’s anti-corruption work and his influence on politics in Russia, “The Naked Pravda” spoke to Ilya Lozovsky, a senior editor at the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), and Yana Gorokhovskaia, an independent researcher focusing on politics and civil society in Russia. “The Naked Pravda” comes out on Saturdays (or sometimes Fridays). Catch every new episode by subscribing at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or other platforms. If you have a question or comment about the show, please write to Kevin Rothrock at kevin@meduza.io with the subject line: “The Naked Pravda.”
In December 2010, a St. Petersburg businessman named Sergey Kolesnikov penned a nifty four-page open letter to then-President Dmitry Medvedev, outlining how a glorious palace built for Vladimir Putin came to be. The details of this seemingly ancient document are now familiar again thanks to a massive investigative report released this week by the opposition figure Alexey Navalny, who survived an attempted assassination last year only to be jailed last weekend after returning home to Moscow. As Meduza recorded this show, cities across Russia were hours away from planned protests in support of Navalny, who timed his investigation into Putin’s palace to land exactly as the world watches to see how his movement mobilizes against his incarceration. To learn more about how the Kremlin’s slush funds operate in Russia and abroad, how Vladimir Putin allegedly amassed a fortune in secret, and how the president’s early days in KGB still influence Russian politics, “The Naked Pravda” turned to Catherine Belton, a special correspondent at Reuters and the author of the 2020 book “Putin’s People: How the KGB Took Back Russia and Then Took On the West.” “The Naked Pravda” comes out on Saturdays (or sometimes Fridays). Catch every new episode by subscribing at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or other platforms. If you have a question or comment about the show, please write to Kevin Rothrock at kevin@meduza.io with the subject line: “The Naked Pravda.”
Thanks to Russia’s recent constitutional amendments, local self-government has effectively lost its independence. State officials at all levels are now accountable, one way or another, to the president. Dramatic as these changes seem on paper, the reforms, in fact, formally recognize what has long been true in reality: appointed “city managers” have largely replaced the country’s elected mayors. But Russia’s “power vertical” relies on more than just political appointments. To learn about the other levers at the Kremlin’s disposal, Meduza turned to Yuval Weber, the Bren Chair of Russian Military and Political Strategy at Marine Corps University’s Krulak Center and a Research Assistant Professor at Texas A&M’s Bush School in Washington, DC. Dr. Weber is the author of a forthcoming book, titled “The Russian Economy,” about how economic reform efforts in Russia follow similar trajectories even among different types of government. “The Naked Pravda” comes out on Saturdays (or sometimes Fridays). Catch every new episode by subscribing at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or other platforms. If you have a question or comment about the show, please write to Kevin Rothrock at kevin@meduza.io with the subject line: “The Naked Pravda.”
There have been major breakthroughs in the investigative reporting surrounding the poisoning of Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny, whom the Federal Security Service allegedly tried to assassinate in August 2020. As Meduza has reported previously, Navalny’s case is part of a long, grim trend in Russia. In recent weeks, thanks to investigative work by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty journalists Mike Eckel and Carl Schreck, there is also new information available involving another apparent poisoning victim in Russia, the oppositionist Vladimir Kara-Murza. In December 2015, six months after Kara-Murza’s first hospitalization, he filed a police report claiming that someone had tried to kill him using poison. Two years later, after he was hospitalized a second time with another sudden and mysterious illness, the FBI in the United States, where Kara-Murza lives, got involved, but the bloodwork results based on samples provided by Kara-Murza’s family were classified. Kara-Murza is still trying to obtain these records through litigation in America. To learn more about the case, “The Naked Pravda” asked RFE/RL journalists Mike Eckel and Carl Schreck some burning questions about their investigation. “The Naked Pravda” comes out on Saturdays (or sometimes Fridays). Catch every new episode by subscribing at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or other platforms. If you have a question or comment about the show, please write to Kevin Rothrock at kevin@meduza.io with the subject line: “The Naked Pravda.”
Even if you follow news in Russia regularly, you might be unaware or only vaguely aware that Russia’s Central Bank printed an enormous sum of money over the past decade in a sweeping campaign to restructure the country’s major banks and liquidate smaller failing financial institutions. In a recent joint investigative report, Meduza and its media partners spoke to sources and obtained testimony from witnesses who described major abuses of authority by banking executives and senior regulatory officials. For further discussion about these events, and for more background and context about Russian monetary policy, “The Naked Pravda” turns to two experts: Tom Adshead, the director of research at Macro-Advisory Ltd. (an independent strategic advisory and macro analytics firm), and Stephanie Petrella, the editor-in-chief of BMB Russia and Ukraine and a fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute’s Eurasia program.  “The Naked Pravda” comes out on Saturdays (or sometimes Fridays). Catch every new episode by subscribing at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or other platforms. If you have a question or comment about the show, please write to Kevin Rothrock at kevin@meduza.io with the subject line: “The Naked Pravda.”
On November 15, Moldovan citizens at home and abroad came out in record-breaking numbers to cast their ballots in the run-off vote of the country’s 2020 presidential elections. In the end, former Prime Minister Maia Sandu defeated incumbent President Igor Dodon, becoming Moldova’s very first woman president-elect.  Taking place amid the coronavirus pandemic, the campaign season was plagued by divisive political rhetoric and fake news. Meanwhile, international media framed the race as a battle between a pro-EU, anti-corruption candidate (Sandu) and a corrupt, pro-Russian incumbent (Dodon). But was this election really about the country’s geo-political direction? To fill in the backstory and find out what we can expect from Maia Sandu during her presidency, “The Naked Pravda” talks to four experts on Moldova about the country’s socio-political landscape, the 2020 vote, and the future of Chisinau’s foreign policy. Gina S. Lentine, Senior Program Officer for Europe and Eurasia at Freedom House, on how the pandemic impacted the Moldovan elections.Journalist Alina Radu, CEO and co-founder of the independent, investigative weekly Ziarul de Garda, reflects on investigative reporting under lockdown and the fight against fake news.  Ana Indoitu, Director of the Chisinau-based non-profit INVENTO, discusses the main candidates’ attitudes towards young people and civil society. Assistant Professor Ellie Knott from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) argues that geopolitics is often a veil for transnational corruption.  “The Naked Pravda” comes out on Fridays (or sometimes Saturdays). Catch every new episode by subscribing at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or other platforms. If you have a question or comment about the show, please write to Kevin Rothrock at kevin@meduza.io with the subject line: “The Naked Pravda.”
Back in early October, Meduza learned about a whole archive of transcripts between members of the Clinton administration and Vladimir Putin, dated between 1999 and 2001 — records that were first declassified and published by the Clinton Digital Library in August 2019. We wrote three feature stories based on these archives, highlighting and contextualizing some of the more memorable exchanges between Moscow and Washington. Comparing these conversations to the rhetoric that’s common now, the radically different flavor of today’s diplomacy is apparent. For a better understanding of how this relationship soured so dramatically, “The Naked Pravda” turns to three experts on Russian foreign policy and international relations: (3:13) Stanford University political scientist and former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul describes meeting Vladimir Putin almost 30 years ago and watching his ideology evolve over the decades. (9:58) Cardiff University International Relations Professor Sergey Radchenko argues that there’s more continuity between the Yeltsin and Putin administrations than some scholars like to admit. (15:39) Dr. Carol Saivetz, a senior advisor in the Security Studies Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, describes how Putin lost faith in the West and democracy itself by trying and failing to get the partnership he expected. “The Naked Pravda” comes out on Saturdays (or sometimes Fridays). Catch every new episode by subscribing at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or other platforms. If you have a question or comment about the show, please write to Kevin Rothrock at kevin@meduza.io with the subject line: “The Naked Pravda.”
A six-week war in Nagorno-Karabakh has ended disastrously for Armenia. Judging by the map, the situation on the ground will revert mostly to the conditions in place before Yerevan’s 1991 war with Baku, leaving Azerbaijani artillery perched just outside the breakaway republic’s capital city and the 50,000 souls who call it home. The big difference this time around is the presence of Russian peacekeepers — about 2,000 of them — who will be there to monitor a Kremlin-brokered truce. Not formally part of the trilateral settlement but still very much involved in the conflict is Turkey, which is expected to field its own monitors in Azerbaijan, albeit outside the Karabakh region. For a better understanding of the violence that took place in this area since late September, and to explore what it means to have won or lost in this war, “The Naked Pravda” turned to three experts: (3:15) Neil Hauer, a Canadian journalist based in the Caucasus who's reported extensively on conflicts in Georgia, Syria, and Nagorno-Karabakh, describes the mood now in Armenia and Yerevan’s plans for Karabakh’s future. (8:31) Richard Giragosian, the director of the Regional Studies Center (an independent think tank based in Armenia), argues that everyone involved in the six-week war has emerged a loser, in at least some respects. (16:31) Rob Lee, a former Marine engineer officer and a current doctoral student at King’s College London, explains how drones made all the difference in the latest clashes between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces. “The Naked Pravda” comes out on Saturdays (or sometimes Fridays). Catch every new episode by subscribing at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or other platforms. If you have a question or comment about the show, please write to Kevin Rothrock at kevin@meduza.io with the subject line: “The Naked Pravda.”
On October 5, thousands of opposition demonstrators took to the streets of Bishkek to protest the official results of Kyrgyzstan’s parliamentary elections. About a dozen different opposition parties had failed to overcome the seven percent threshold needed to get into parliament and two pro-government parties had won nearly half the seats. The protesters demanded a repeat vote and on October 6 elections officials relented and invalidated the results.  Since then, Kyrgyzstan’s population has seen a lot more turmoil than the opposition protesters bargained for: parliament appointed a new prime minister, the president stepped down, and election officials scheduled a repeat parliamentary vote only to see it postponed indefinitely. Meanwhile, lawmakers have been pushing through legislation on changing the constitution and the country is planning to hold presidential elections in January. So how did all of this happen in such a short period of time? “The Naked Pravda” invited three experts on the show to speak about the lead up to the vote, the ensuing political crisis, and whether or not Russia has anything to do with it: (2:35) Bektour Iskender, journalist and co-founder of Kloop — an independent media organization based in Kyrgyzstan, recalls how the post-election protests escalated into an unexpected political crisis. (5:36) Dr. Erica Marat — an associate professor at the National Defense University’s College of International Affairs in Washington D.C., whose research focuses on violence, mobilization, and security institutions in Eurasia — explains why Sadyr Japarov’s lightning-fast rise to power can be considered a coup.  (15:30) Colleen Wood — a doctoral candidate in political science at Columbia University, who researches civil society and identity in Central Asia — discusses what social media reveals about social and political cleavages in Kyrgyzstan. (39:02) All three guests share their take on the Kremlin’s response to Kyrgyzstan’s political upheaval. “The Naked Pravda” comes out on Fridays (or sometimes Saturdays). Catch every new episode by subscribing at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or other platforms. If you have a question or comment about the show, please write to Kevin Rothrock at kevin@meduza.io with the subject line: “The Naked Pravda.”
In April 2020, Russia shipped 45 ventilator machines to New York City as part of what became a humanitarian exchange with America at the height of the Big Apple’s initial coronavirus outbreak. But what should have been a heartwarming display of cooperation in challenging times quickly became a political boondoggle. American hospitals were unable to use the lifesaving machines due to a lack of adapters to convert their required electrical voltage. Subsequently, a few weeks after the Aventa-M ventilators were delivered, several of the same models reportedly burst into flames at two hospitals in Moscow and St. Petersburg, killing six people and raising concerns about the devices’ safety.  The ventilators also became politically toxic in the United States after U.S. officials completed the equipment exchange with Russia by shipping medical supplies worth several times more than what Moscow sent to New York. Additionally, the Russian machinery’s manufacturer, “Concern Radio-Electronic Technologies” (a Rostec subsidiary), is currently under U.S. sanctions imposed against Moscow (though White House officials say the sanctions don’t apply to medical supplies). Just a few days ago, on October 19, BuzzFeed News correspondent Chris Miller reported that the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency “essentially tossed [the Russian ventilators] in the trash.” To find out more about the U.S. government’s decision, “The Naked Pravda” spoke to Chris Miller. “The Naked Pravda” comes out on Fridays (or sometimes Saturdays). Catch every new episode by subscribing at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or other platforms. If you have a question or comment about the show, please write to Kevin Rothrock at kevin@meduza.io with the subject line: “The Naked Pravda.”
Armenia and Azerbaijan reached a fragile ceasefire agreement in Moscow on October 10 after nearly a dozen hours in negotiations. The two sides will suspend hostilities so bodies and prisoners of war can be exchanged, while diplomats from Yerevan and Baku debate a more lasting resolution. Since the late 1980s, the fight for the Nagorno-Karabakh region has killed roughly 20,000 people and made refugees of hundreds of thousands more. Since the most recent escalation that began on September 27, 2020 (already the second resumption of hostilities this year), several hundred soldiers have reportedly died in combat, along with several dozen civilians. “The Naked Pravda” asked four experts to explain what fuels the longest-running war on former Soviet soil: (3:50) Thomas de Waal — a senior fellow at Carnegie Europe, the author of “Black Garden: Armenia and Azerbaijan Through Peace and War” (2003), and more recently the coauthor of “Beyond Frozen Conflict“ (2020) — explains why the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is more dangerous than many people realize. (8:19) Jeffrey Mankoff, a distinguished research fellow at the Institute for National Strategic Studies at U.S. National Defense University, discusses what’s happened on the ground Nagorno-Karabakh this September. (12:05) Journalist Arzu Geybulla describes growing up in Azerbaijan and falling out of favor with the government. (23:07) Kevork Oskanian, an honorary research fellow at the University of Birmingham and the co-author of “Fear, Weakness, and Power in the Post-Soviet South Caucasus” (2013), breaks down the local political pressures in Armenia and Azerbaijan. “The Naked Pravda” comes out on Fridays (or sometimes Saturdays). Catch every new episode by subscribing at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or other platforms. If you have a question or comment about the show, please write to Kevin Rothrock at kevin@meduza.io with the subject line: “The Naked Pravda.”
The historian Stephen Cohen died on September 18 at the age of 81. Though he became something of a pariah among American Russianists in his final years, particularly after 2014 (thanks to his views on the Ukraine conflict, which often dovetailed with Kremlin talking points), Cohen was perhaps best known professionally for his 1973 biography about Nikolai Bukharin, the Bolshevik revolutionary he believed represented an alternative path for Soviet socialism that derailed into collectivization and mass violence because of Joseph Stalin. Cohen had similar misgivings about Boris Yeltsin undoing Mikhail Gorbachev’s Perestroika. This week, Meduza published an obituary for Cohen written by Ivan Kurilla, a professor of history and international relations at European University at St. Petersburg. For another perspective on Cohen’s legacy among Russia scholars, “The Naked Pravda” turns to historian Sean Guillory, the digital scholarship curator in the Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies at the University of Pittsburgh and a fellow podcaster. “The Naked Pravda” comes out on Fridays (or sometimes Saturdays). Catch every new episode by subscribing at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or other platforms. If you have a question or comment about the show, please write to Kevin Rothrock at kevin@meduza.io with the subject line: “The Naked Pravda.”
About a decade ago, after a temporary falling out with Vladimir Putin, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko tried to pivot his country to the West. In this endeavor, he had help from a British PR firm called “Bell Pottinger” that once employed some of the most influential spin-doctors in the world. The campaign was a complete failure: the consultants left empty-handed and Lukashenko became an international pariah once again. In August 2020, after workers at state television and radio broadcasters in Belarus started walking off the job in protest as the police brutally dispersed opposition demonstrations, a handful of independent journalists and activists reported that whole brigades of “strikebreakers” from Russia arrived to replace these employees. Meduza investigative editor Alexey Kovalev researched both of these stories, discovering that the oligarch Boris Berezovsky bankrolled Lukashenko’s attempt to win over the West, and that Russian journalists now in Minsk aren’t so much replacing Belarusian journalists as they are reshaping the local media’s approach to propaganda. Meduza also spoke to Alex Kokcharov, a country risk analyst who focuses on Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, Eurasia, and the Caucasus, to learn more about younger Belarusians’ media diets. “The Naked Pravda” comes out on Fridays (or sometimes Saturdays). Catch every new episode by subscribing at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or other platforms. If you have a question or comment about the show, please write to Kevin Rothrock at kevin@meduza.io with the subject line: “The Naked Pravda.”
The German media reported on September 9 that Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny was poisoned with a new type of “Novichok” nerve agent, more dangerous than any variation previously identified. Earlier in the month, Meduza science editor Alexander Ershov interviewed biochemist Marc-Michael Blum to find out more about how analytical chemistry is able to identify these poisons in patients and what the outlook is for Navalny’s recovery. (Read the interview’s transcript here.) On social media, it’s easy to find skeptics who question the German specialists’ conclusions — particularly because the implications of a nerve-agent attack against an opposition leader on his home soil are severe and strongly suggest the state authorities’ involvement — but such incredulity is hard to maintain in the face of Dr. Blum’s explanations. “The Naked Pravda” comes out on Fridays (or sometimes Saturdays). Catch every new episode by subscribing at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or other platforms. If you have a question or comment about the show, please write to Kevin Rothrock at kevin@meduza.io with the subject line: “The Naked Pravda.”
On September 1, 2020, the Russian newspaper Kommersant ran a story that looked like a real bombshell before it fizzled out. The report, titled “Hackers Appeal to the U.S. State Department: American Voter Data Appears on Russian Darknet,” credits a Russian hacker platform with posting millions of American voters’ personal data (mainly voters in the swing state of Michigan, but also in Connecticut, Florida, and North Carolina) and then profiting off a U.S. government project to pay foreigners for tips about election interference. Kommersant also quoted experts who warned that the publication of the voter data could be a “provocation” ahead of this year’s presidential election in the U.S. But the voter data in question wasn’t hacked or leaked — it’s all publicly available — and the U.S. State Department says it’s yet to pay anyone for intelligence about election interference. Kommersant’s report isn’t entirely false, however. Russian hackers are sharing the personal information of millions of American voters, and that’s not all. To understand why this is happening and what may have motivated Kommersant’s reporting, “The Naked Pravda” turns to three analysts working on cyber-threats, digital diplomacy, and Russian politics. (5:28) Ian Litschko, a cyber-threat intelligence analyst, explains why Russian hackers traffic open-source U.S. voter data. (11:33) Oleg Shakirov, a consultant at the PIR Center in Moscow and an expert in European security and digital diplomacy, discusses the novelty of a “Russiagate” story that broke in Russia, not in the West. (17:03) Yana Gorokhovskaia, an independent researcher on Russian politics, describes the intended audience for Kommersant’s report and why it matters. “The Naked Pravda” comes out on Fridays (or sometimes Saturdays). Catch every new episode by subscribing at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or other platforms. If you have a question or comment about the show, please write to Kevin Rothrock at kevin@meduza.io with the subject line: “The Naked Pravda.”
If you’ve read anything about Russia’s coronavirus vaccine, “Sputnik V,” you know that it’s rolling out to the public in October, just as Phase III trials begin — meaning that researchers still have no idea how effective the product actually is. So far, the scientists developing Sputnik V say they’ve combined Phase I and Phase II testing and confirmed its safety and immunogenicity, but they’ve yet to compare it to a placebo and the handful of patients already injected were all relatively young and healthy. The Gamaleya Research Institute, which developed Sputnik V, says it hopes to manufacture 3-5 million doses annually, once production is up and running. A handful of other Russian biotech companies will be manufacturing the vaccine, as well. Russia says it’s already received orders for a billion doses around the world.  Suspiciously and unlike most foreign researchers working on a coronavirus vaccine, the Gamaleya Research Institute has yet to publish any trial results in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Despite promises from the Russian team, they haven’t shared any details about their vaccine tests with the global expert community. To learn more about Russia’s coronavirus vaccine and explore the risks and research behind this product, The Naked Pravda turns to two social scientists: Judyth Twigg, a political science professor at the Virginia Commonwealth University, who studies healthcare in Russia and Eurasia, and Cynthia Buckley, a sociology professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, who works on global health and social demography in Eurasia. “The Naked Pravda” comes out on Fridays (or sometimes weekends). Catch every new episode by subscribing at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or other platforms. If you have a question or comment about the show, please write to Kevin Rothrock at kevin@meduza.io with the subject line: “The Naked Pravda.”
Opposition politician and Anti-Corruption Foundation creator Alexey Navalny was hospitalized early on Thursday, August 20, in critical condition. At the time this podcast was recorded, he was in a coma and breathing through a ventilator in Omsk, where his flight home to Moscow was forced to make an emergency landing when he became violently ill. “The Naked Pravda” reviews what we know about Navalny’s situation and looks back at recent poisonings in Russia, as well as the muted police response in these cases, to get a sense of what he is up against. Meduza in English managing editor Kevin Rothrock discusses past attacks on Navalny as well as the alleged poisonings of Pyotr Verzilov, Sergey Mokhov, Vladimir Kara-Murza, Yuri Shchekochikhin, Alexander Litvinenko, Viktor Yushchenko, and Anna Politkovskaya. “The Naked Pravda” comes out on Fridays (or sometimes Saturdays). Catch every new episode by subscribing at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or other platforms. If you have a question or comment about the show, please write to Kevin Rothrock at kevin@meduza.io with the subject line: “The Naked Pravda.”
On August 9, Belarus concludes its most contentious, openly dirtiest, and toughest presidential campaign ever. During the race, one leading (albeit unregistered) candidate has been imprisoned (as well as two campaign chiefs of staff) and another fled the country altogether. Long-time incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko (Alyaksandr Lukashenka) now faces a surprisingly formidable challenge from Svetlana Tikhanovskaya (Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya), a woman thrust into the nation’s political spotlight. To understand better what is at stake in the race, what it means for Lukashenko to compete against a woman, and why the Belarusian authorities arrested nearly three dozen alleged Russian mercenaries just days before the election, “The Naked Pravda” turned to three experts on Belarusian politics. (3:03) Maryia Rohava, doctoral candidate at the University of Oslo whose research focuses on nationalism, symbolic politics in post-Soviet autocracies, and identity studies (6:10) Ryhor Astapenia, fellow at Chatham House and founder and research director of the Center of New Ideas in Belarus (7:50) Franak Viačorka, journalist in Belarus and creative director at RFE/RL’s Belarus service “The Naked Pravda” comes out on Fridays (or sometimes Saturdays). Catch every new episode by subscribing at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or other platforms. If you have a question or comment about the show, please write to Kevin Rothrock at kevin@meduza.io with the subject line: “The Naked Pravda.”
For the past two years, several major state news organizations in Russia have been working with China’s biggest media conglomerate to trade publicity about each nation’s greatest achievements. Beijing’s efforts have fallen mostly flat in Russia, however, thanks to shortages of trained personnel and shortcomings in China’s grasp of the Russian mediasphere. Moscow, meanwhile, has struggled as the propaganda pact’s junior partner. To learn more about how the Russian and Chinese state media work together, why this cooperation has stumbled, and how geopolitics plays into this relationship, “The Naked Pravda” turned to three experts, as well as Meduza’s own investigative editor: (1:23) Meduza investigative editor Alexey Kovalev explains how he first learned about media cooperation between state broadcasters in Russia and China. (5:07) Maria Repnikova, an expert in Chinese media politics and an assistant professor in Global Communication at Georgia State University, warns against using too negative a frame to analyze Chinese foreign broadcasting. (11:48) Alexander Gabuev, who chairs the Carnegie Moscow Center’s “Russia in the Asia-Pacific Program,” describes major differences between the Russian and Chinese media markets. (22:23) Professor of International Relations Sergey Radchenko discusses Moscow’s cautious approach to the expansion of Chinese influence, like the Belt and Road Initiative. “The Naked Pravda” comes out on Fridays (or sometimes Saturdays). Catch every new episode by subscribing at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or other platforms. If you have a question or comment about the show, please write to Kevin Rothrock at kevin@meduza.io with the subject line: “The Naked Pravda.”
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Комментарии (3)

Olga Zilberbourg

insightful! thanks for unpacking the racism behind Russian Lives Matter

Jul 6th
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Ilya Kashnitsky

The head of HSE PR doesn't speak English. And every student entering has to pass a toefl like exam. Facepalm!

Feb 17th
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Marina Matveeva

While this was a valuable episode, the best thing Meduza could do for women is to forbid inappropriate behaviour in their own company. Their editor-in-chief harassed his employee's wife, got fired under public pressure but was quietly brought back to his position in less than a year. While this incident is obviously less horrific than the cases described in this episode, this certainly gives men the sense of impunity that causes domestic violence and shows Meduza's hypocricy.

Dec 4th
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