TypeNews website
Owner(s)Galina Timchenko[1]
Founder(s)Galina Timchenko, Ivan Kolpakov, Ilya Krasilshchik
PublisherGalina Timchenko (since 2019)
Editor-in-chiefIvan Kolpakov[2]
Managing editorKevin Rothrock
General managerGalina Timchenko
News editorEilish Hart
Founded2014; 10 years ago (2014)
HeadquartersRiga, Latvia

Meduza (Russian: Медуза, named after the Greek goddess Medusa[3]) is a Russian- and English-language independent[9] news website, headquartered in Riga, Latvia. It was founded in 2014 by a group of former employees of the then-independent news website.[10][11][12] Free mobile applications for iOS, Windows Phone, and Android became the basis of the media.[13] A semi-official motto of the portal is "Make the Kremlin sad".[14]


In 2014, Galina Timchenko was fired from her job as chief editor at by oligarch Alexander Mamut, a supporter of Vladimir Putin, after she had interviewed Right Sector leader Dmytro Yarosh. She launched the new webpage Meduza in October 2014.[11][12] Several former journalists of joined the new online site.[12]

Timchenko told Forbes that the decision to base Meduza in Latvia was made since "right now, establishing an independent Russian language publishing house in Latvia is possible, while in Russia it is not".[15] Moreover, Timchenko stated: "We understood that in Russia, most likely, they would not let us work."[16]

Russian businessman and former oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky and telecommunications magnate Boris Zimin had been considered as passive investors, but they parted ways "for strategic and operational reasons".[15] Timchenko said Khodorkovsky had wanted 100 percent control of Meduza, which she considered unacceptable.[17] For financial reasons, Timchenko and her partner at Amond & Smith Ltd, Sergey Nazarkin, based Meduza in Latvia.[18]

In February 2015, the website also launched an English-language version. In January 2016, Timchenko handed over the role of chief editor to her deputy Ivan Kolpakov.[19]

In August 2017, Meduza started a partnership with the American news website BuzzFeed News.[20] The partnership included publishing each other's materials, sharing experiences, and carrying out and publishing joint investigations.[21]

On October 20, 2018, at the outlet's annual celebration, Meduza chief editor and co-founder Ivan Kolpakov reportedly groped an employee's wife, saying, "You're the only one at this party I can harass and get away with it."[22][23] Kolpakov was temporarily suspended until Meduza publicly censured and reinstated him. The incident triggered a social media backlash.[24] On November 9 Kolpakov announced his resignation saying that "it is the only way to stop the crisis engulfing the website and minimize the damage to its reputation".[25] He was reinstated as chief editor on March 11, 2019.[2]

In 2019, Meduza started the English podcast The Naked Pravda, which highlights how Meduza's top reporting intersects with the wider research and expertise that exists about Russia.[26]

In May 2022, Helsingin Sanomat started publishing individual Meduza articles translated in Finnish.[27]

In February 2023, Timchenko's iPhone was targeted with Pegasus spyware. The attack occurred a day before a conference of exiled independent Russian media that was held in Berlin and which Timchenko attended; her phone could have been used to eavesdrop on the journalists' conversations during the conference. This attack is the first confirmed instance of Pegasus being used against a Russian journalist. It is unclear which state carried out the attack.[28][29] Several employees of other independent Russian outlets, Current Time TV and Novaya Gazeta, received notifications from Apple that "state-sponsored attackers" may have attacked their phones as well.[29]


By 2014 Meduza had a team of around 20 journalists.[12] No Latvian journalists contribute to the project.

Since March 2015, Meduza has published a daily news called "Evening Meduza".[16]

In September 2022, it announced the creation of English email dispatch "The Beet", aiming to amplify "local perspectives" from Central/Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia, "without centering Moscow".[30] Its debut article was titled 'Suing Gorbachev' and explored Soviet violence in the Baltic states under Mikhail Gorbachev.[31]


Three months after opening, Meduza had 1.3 million monthly readers of its Internet publication.[32] In 2017, Meduza had 7.5 million readers per month and 2 million followers on social media.[33] In 2020, Meduza was the leading Russian site in social media links, according to Medialogia [ru], a company that monitors and analyzes exclusivity Russian sites on media and social networks.[34] By March 2022, Meduza's website had between 12 and 18 million monthly visitors.[17] The majority of readers are younger than 45.[35]

Meduza grants open source access to all their coverage of the war in Ukraine under a Creative Commons license. The articles can be reprinted in full (CC BY 4.0, does not apply to photos).[36]


Meduza aims to fill a market niche that exists due to "a long list of forbidden topics which Russian media do not raise for various reasons—due to direct and indirect censorship".[15]

The day after it was launched, Meduza was blocked in Kazakhstan, probably due to an article about the city of Oskemen (Ust-Kamenogorsk).[37][38]

Access to the site has also been blocked in Uzbekistan.[38]

Meduza has installed technical measures to circumvent censorship with their mobile apps.[clarification needed][39]

In June 2019, Meduza journalist Ivan Golunov was arrested by Russian police for claimed drug offences.[40] Colleagues and friends of Golunov said they believed the charges to be fabricated, motivated by his investigations into corruption.[41] Following a public outcry, Golunov was released, and five police officers were fired and later arrested.[42]

On 23 April 2021, the Russian Ministry of Justice designated Meduza as a "foreign agent".[43][44] In response, the European Union rejected the decision, saying this restriction "goes against Russia's international obligations and human rights commitments".[45][46][47][48] Russia's actions caused financial difficulties for Meduza, as they stopped many advertisers from Russia, which were the portal's main source of income, from displaying their ads at Meduza's pages. This resulted in an international campaign to collect funds to ensure Meduza's survival through donations and buying subscriptions.[49][50][51] Timchenko said the designation made it even harder to obtain sources that are willing to talk to the reporters – specifically without the protection of anonymity.[35]

Meduza published an editorial condemning the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022;[52] due to its coverage of the invasion, the site was blocked on the territory of Russia by Roskomnadzor among other news websites due to the "systematic dissemination of fakes".[53] Despite the actions of Roskomnadzor, Meduza managed to maintain most of its Russian readers, but the economic sanctions imposed on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine also hit Meduza's finances, as the sanctions made it nearly impossible to send donations from Russia and 30,000 members across the Russian border were suddenly unable to donate to the website. As a result, Meduza launched a campaign seeking donations from new supporters outside of Russia.[17][54] On March 11, Reporters Without Borders announced a mirror site[55] has been set up.[56] Russian journalist Ilya Krasilshchik, the former publisher of Meduza, was charged under the "fake news" law for denouncing the war in Ukraine.[57]

On 26 January 2023, the Russian prosecutor-general’s office designated Meduza as an "undesirable organization" in Russia.[58] In March 2023, Timchenko said that while "Russian propaganda has enormous financial sources" and the government can spend billions to spread disinformation, Meduza has a "little crowdfunding campaign by people of good will around the world, and some support from international organizations".[35]


In December 2022, the independent outlet Proekt wrote that since 2019, Meduza increased the number of exclusive articles per month from 2 to up to 8, especially since the start of the 2022 Russia-Ukraine War. After studying 150 articles published by Meduza journalist Andrey Pertsev since mid 2019 where at least 65 predictions were made, Proekt found out that only 10% of the predictions came true. Amongst the things that didn't come true were numerous predicted government resignations, a union between All-Russia People's Front and United Russia, 9 predicted annexation dates of Ukrainian regions and Russia - also, 5 days before the Russian attack on Ukraine, Meduza said the attack wouldn't happen. Out of the things that did come true, except two cases, all of the predictions appeared in other publications.[59]


See also


  1. ^ " (Medusa Project)". Archived from the original on 24 September 2022. Retrieved 3 May 2024.
  2. ^ a b Ivan Kolpakov has been named Meduza’s chief editor Archived 1 July 2022 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ ""Медуза" ответила на вопросы читателей". Meduza (in Russian). Retrieved 27 January 2023.
  4. ^ Urman, Aleksandra (13 October 2019). "News Consumption of Russian Vkontakte Users: Polarization and News Avoidance". International Journal of Communication. 13: 25. ISSN 1932-8036.
  5. ^ Lavrinenko, Olga (2021). Bessant, Judith; Mejia Mesinas, Analicia; Pickard, Sarah (eds.). When Students Protest. Universities in the global North. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield. p. 130. ISBN 978-1-78661-181-9. OCLC 1260343703.
  6. ^ "Russia restricts access to DW's website". Deutsche Welle. 4 March 2022. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  7. ^ "Russia says 'limiting' sites of BBC, Deutsche Welle, Meduza". Radio France Internationale. Moscow. 4 March 2022. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  8. ^ "European Media Offer Support to Ukrainian, Russian Colleagues". Voice of America. 2 March 2022. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  9. ^ [4][5][6][7][8]
  10. ^ Vasilyeva, Nataliya (7 June 2019). "Prominent investigative journalist detained in Russia". Associated Press. Moscow. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  11. ^ a b "I was 'fired' because of the Kremlin". BBC News. Retrieved 6 July 2020.
  12. ^ a b c d Beard, Nadia (23 October 2014). "Russian journalists set up shop in Latvia after Kremlin crackdown". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  13. ^ Taratuta, Julia (10 October 2014). "Галина Тимченко, главред Meduza: унизительно, когда вся политическая журналистика затаив дыхание следит за движением бровей президента" [Galina Timchenko, editor-in-chief of Meduza: it's humiliating when all political journalism is holding its breath following the movement of the president's eyebrows]. TV Rain. Retrieved 24 November 2020.
  14. ^ Dwornik, Bartłomiej (14 November 2022). "Historia portalu MEDUZA. Rosyjski, niezależny, medialny okręt piracki". (in Polish). Retrieved 24 November 2022.
  15. ^ a b c "Галина Тимченко: "Никто из нас не мечтает делать «Колокол"". 15 September 2014. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  16. ^ a b "Meduza Тимченко зазвонит из Латвии". (in Russian). 29 September 2014. Retrieved 6 July 2020.
  17. ^ a b c Hakala, Pekka (29 March 2022). "Uutissivusto Meduza onnistui säilyttämään venäläiset lukijansa Venäjän estämisistä huolimatta, mutta nyt rahat ovat loppumassa pakotteiden vuoksi". Helsingin Sanomat (in Finnish).
  18. ^ Подрез, Тарас (27 August 2014). "Экс-главред Галина Тимченко учредила Medusa Project". Известия (in Russian). Retrieved 6 July 2020.
  19. ^ Meduza chief editor steps down, remains as CEO Archived 1 February 2016 at the Wayback Machine, Meduza, January 28, 2016.
  20. ^ Wang, Shan (29 August 2017). "Stories about Russia "are so hot right now" — so BuzzFeed is partnering with Meduza for more substantive Russia reporting". Nieman Lab. Retrieved 6 March 2022.
  21. ^ "Galina Timchenko". Politico Europe. 7 December 2017. Retrieved 6 July 2020.
  22. ^ Gershkovich, Evan (9 November 2018). "Editor's Resignation Signals Milestone #MeToo Moment in Russia". The Moscow Times.
  23. ^ Brown, Hayes (9 November 2018). "This #MeToo Moment Is Tearing The Russian Internet Apart". BuzzFeed News.
  24. ^ Stewart, Rick (9 November 2018). "Russia's most progressive media outlet finds itself on the wrong side of #MeToo". Global Voices. Retrieved 28 July 2022.
  25. ^ "Meduza Editor In Chief Resigns Amid Sexual Harassment Accusations". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. 9 November 2018. Retrieved 28 July 2022.
  26. ^ "'The Naked Pravda' premiere trailer: Meduza's new English-language podcast".
  27. ^ Mukka, Antero (3 May 2022). "Jokainen teko sananvapauden puolesta syö pohjaa sortovallalta". Helsingin Sanomat (in Finnish).
  28. ^ Satter, Raphael (13 September 2023). "Russian journalist's phone hacked with Israeli spyware, researchers say". Reuters.
  29. ^ a b Gupta, Gaya (14 September 2023). "A report of a Pegasus attack on one Russian journalist sets off a flurry of concern among others". The New York Times.
  30. ^ "The Beet: A new email dispatch from Meduza".
  31. ^ "Suing Gorbachev 31 years after the USSR's collapse, a group of Lithuanians sought to hold its last leader to account".
  32. ^ "Российская аудитория сайта достигла 1,3 млн человек в месяц". РБК (in Russian). 28 January 2015. Retrieved 8 July 2020.
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  34. ^ "Федеральные СМИ - 2020 год" [Federal media - 2020]. (in Russian). 28 January 2021. Retrieved 27 April 2021.
  35. ^ a b c d Smale, Alison (7 March 2023). "A Russian Editor Evades Putin's Censorship". The New York Times.
  36. ^ "Meduza is granting open access to all coverage of the war in Ukraine under a Creative Commons license".
  37. ^ Лихачёв, Никита (21 October 2014). "Издание Meduza заблокировали в Казахстане после репортажа из Усть-Каменогорска". Archived from the original on 7 March 2015. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  38. ^ a b Bolotskaya, Rita; Bogoyavlenskaya, Evgenia (29 October 2016). "Галина Тимченко, гендиректор и учредитель проекта Meduza (Рига)". Ukrinform (in Russian).
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  40. ^ MacFarquhar, Neil (7 June 2019). "Russian Reporter Who Exposed Moscow Graft Is Arrested on Drug Charges". The New York Times.
  41. ^ Roth, Andrew (7 June 2019). "Russian police accused of arresting journalist on false charges". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
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  47. ^ ""Обязанность властей — обеспечить журналистам возможность заниматься своей работой в атмосфере, свободной от страха и принуждения"" [The duty of the authorities is to ensure that journalists are able to do their work in an atmosphere free from fear and coercion.]. Meduza (in Russian). 24 April 2021. Retrieved 24 April 2021.
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  59. ^ "Непубличный дом". Proekt. 19 December 2022. Archived from the original on 19 December 2022. Retrieved 3 January 2022.
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