Video On Demand

Russia’s Crackdown on Independent Media and Access to Information Online

March 29, 2022 • 11:00 am – 12:00 pm EDT

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Following the invasion of Ukraine, authorities in Russia have clamped down on independent media and tightened control of the Internet in an apparent effort to control the narrative about the war and prevent citizens from organizing against it. The latest state-imposed restrictions are striking: Russia’s media regulator Roskomnadzor issued instructions to journalists to use only “official sources” of information about the conflict; the respected Echo of Moscow radio station was taken off the air and other independent media were silenced; and according to new legislation, persons who disseminate “false information” about the war or the Russian military could be face up to 15 years in prison. Meanwhile, in the digital space, a growing number of websites are blocked, access to Western social media platforms has been restricted, and major tech companies are leaving the country. These moves represent a notable acceleration and expansion of Russian efforts to impede civic freedoms and prevent political dissent.

What does this mean for the future of independent media and freedom of speech online in Russia? How will citizens respond to new restrictions on access to information, and how will the crackdown affect the country’s political direction? What can the United States and its partners do to support civil society and freedom of speech in Russia going forward?

Please join CSIS for a discussion of these issues with Jamie Fly, President and Chief Executive Officer, RFE/RL, Daniel Baer, Acting Director of the Europe Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Maria Snegovaya, Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Center for New American Security, and Vera Zakem, Senior Associate (Non-Resident) of the CSIS Europe, Russia, and Eurasia Program. The conversation will feature opening remarks from Marti Flacks, Director of the CSIS Human Rights Initiative, and will be moderated by Andrew Lohsen, Fellow in the CSIS Europe, Russia, and Eurasia Program.

This event is made possible through general support to CSIS.

Marti Flacks

​Marti Flacks

Former Khosravi Chair in Principled Internationalism and Former Director, Human Rights Initiative

Vera Zakem

President and Chief Executive Officer, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
Acting Director of the Europe Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Center for New American Security, and Postdoctoral Fellow in Political Science at Virginia Tech University

Andrew Lohsen