20 episodes

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.

The Naked Pravda Meduza

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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.

    Moral calculus under Putin: Joshua Yaffa talks about his new book, ‘Between Two Fires’

    Moral calculus under Putin: Joshua Yaffa talks about his new book, ‘Between Two Fires’

    This week's guest is Joshua Yaffa, The New Yorker's Moscow correspondent and the author of the new book “Between Two Fires: Truth, Ambition, and Compromise in Putin’s Russia,” which offers a look at Putin’s Russia without focusing on Putin, studying a handful of individual case studies and the moral choices of various individuals who have played unique or interesting roles in contemporary Russia. Where does this book fit in the wider literature on Russia and ethics? Are questions of conscience a problem only for intellectuals? How broad is the power of the book's explanatory prism? And how have time and now the coronavirus pandemic affected the trends laid out in the book? Joshua answered these questions and more. “The Naked Pravda” comes out on 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.”

    • 29 min
    It's business time: Max Seddon dissects the controversy at ‘Vedomosti’ and reviews the nature of financial reporting in Russia today

    It's business time: Max Seddon dissects the controversy at ‘Vedomosti’ and reviews the nature of financial reporting in Russia today

    In the past several weeks, Meduza has written extensively about the newsroom controversy at Vedomosti, one of Russia’s top business newspapers. Most recently, Meduza published a joint investigation with a handful of other independent news outlets (including Vedomosti itself) about the backroom wheeling and dealing that’s guided the outlet’s ownership for the past five years. In this episode of “The Naked Pravda,” host Kevin Rothrock reviews what we know about developments at Vedomosti and speaks to Financial Times Moscow correspondent Max Seddon about the story and business journalism in Russia more broadly. Listen to the end and you’ll be treated to an anecdote about how reporters rekindled the bromance between President Vladimir Putin and action film star Steven Seagal. “The Naked Pravda” comes out on 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.”

    • 31 min
    F**k the Pulitzer: A Russian investigative journalist says his team deserves recognition for breaking one of the stories that won ‘The New York Times’ its latest reporting award

    F**k the Pulitzer: A Russian investigative journalist says his team deserves recognition for breaking one of the stories that won ‘The New York Times’ its latest reporting award

    On May 4, 2020, the Pulitzer Prize Board announced the latest winners of the most coveted award in journalism. The staff of The New York Times won prizes in three different categories: international reporting, investigative reporting, and commentary. The first honor was awarded for “a set of enthralling stories, reported at great risk, exposing the predations of Vladimir Putin’s regime.” The winning work includes six articles and two videos. Not one of the stories is actually set inside Russia: the reports are about wars in Libya and Syria, elections in Madagascar and the Central African Republic, and murders in Bulgaria and Ukraine. The Russian authorities naturally condemned the prize selection, but criticism of The New York Times's award-winning journalism also came from several Russian investigative reporters, including Roman Badanin, who says his news outlet, Proekt, broke the story at the heart of at least one of the winning works that earned this years' international reporting Pulitzer: an article by Michael Schwirtz, released in November 2019, titled “How Russia Meddles Abroad for Profit: Cash, Trolls and a Cult Leader,” which appeared eight months after Proekt’s “Master and Chef: How Evgeny Prigozhin Led the Russian Offensive in Africa” and repeats many of the same findings, chronicling similar events and describing many of the same circumstances and characters. To understand the dispute better, “The Naked Pravda” spoke to Roman Badanin and Meduza corresponded with a representative from The New York Times. “The Naked Pravda” comes out on 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.”

    • 21 min
    ‘Red Dawn’: What Hollywood's most outlandish Cold War movie says about Americans and Russians

    ‘Red Dawn’: What Hollywood's most outlandish Cold War movie says about Americans and Russians

    In a world engulfed by the coronavirus pandemic, “The Naked Pravda” travels back in time to the carefree 1980s, when Americans and Russians worried about simpler things like World War III. Fears in U.S. popular culture that the Cold War might turn hot culminated in 1984 with the film “Red Dawn,” starring Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen, about a group of high school students resisting occupation by invading Soviet, Cuban, and Nicaraguan troops. Even if you haven’t seen the movie, you’ve probably seen people on the Internet shouting “Wolverines!” at each other — a reference to the name Red Dawn’s protagonists adopt for their guerrilla group.  Soviet-born journalist Slava Malamud joins this discussion about Cold War cinema. Last year, his tweets about the HBO miniseries “Chernobyl” gained enormous popularity, attracting thousands of likes and reposts, including from Craig Mazin, the show’s creator. In May 2019, Meduza published a story from Slava about his stepfather’s experience as a liquidator at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in 1986. “The Naked Pravda” comes out on 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.”

    • 25 min
    Pandemic Justice: How COVID-19 and coronavirus containment measures have exacerbated problems in Russia's courts and prisons

    Pandemic Justice: How COVID-19 and coronavirus containment measures have exacerbated problems in Russia's courts and prisons

    In regions and cities across Russia, state officials are taking extraordinary measures to limit people's movements and curb the spread of coronavirus. On March 18, Russia’s Supreme Court even imposed a moratorium on all hearings across the nation’s judicial system except for particularly “urgent cases,” though judges have enormous leeway here to decide what meets this threshold. Meanwhile, Russia's prison system has effectively locked down, and observers warn that we now even less know about what happens at these facilities than we did before. To get a better grasp of the coronavirus containment measures' effects on Russia's justice system, “The Naked Pravda” turned to two pairs of human rights activists and scholars, as well as the author of a Meduza investigative report about how the coronavirus quarantine is making it even harder in Russia to find justice in the courts. In this episode:
    (3:25) Liliya Yapparova, Meduza investigative journalist
    (6:01) Kirill Koroteev, head of international practice at the “Agora” international human rights group
    (11:45) Valentina Dekhtyarenko, project manager at the “Open Russia” human rights group
    (14:13) Dr. Olga Zeveleva, postdoctoral researcher at the Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki, contributing to the Gulag Echoes project
    (21:50) Ksenia Runova, junior researcher at the Institute for the Rule of Law at the European University at St. Petersburg “The Naked Pravda” comes out on 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.”

    • 32 min
    ‘Russian Journalism's Newspeak’: How the Kremlin's euphemisms creep into reporting about disasters

    ‘Russian Journalism's Newspeak’: How the Kremlin's euphemisms creep into reporting about disasters

    In late 2019, many Internet users started noticing that the Russian state media was increasingly describing gas explosions as “gas pops” in news coverage — even when the incidents caused major damage to life and property. In fact, the number of “gas pops” mentioned in news reports jumped from a few dozen stories in early 2017 to thousands of such reports by January 2020. Meduza’s sources in the presidential administration and Russia’s security agencies say this is the result of a targeted policy to introduce more “favorable information conditions” meant to avoid a public panic when reporting gas explosions. Since February 2020, when Meduza first published its findings about “gas pops” in Russian headlines, the significance of euphemisms in news reporting has only grown with the global spread of coronavirus. To understand this phenomenon better, “The Naked Pravda” welcomed back media scholar Sarah Oates, a professor at the University of Maryland, and Alexey Kovalev, Meduza's head of investigative reporting. “The Naked Pravda” comes out on 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.”

    • 21 min

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