The Christian Science Monitor

Russia's media scene: not just a state affair

The cramped editorial offices of the weekly tabloid Moyaw invoke sharp contradictions to several widely held stereotypes of what the media in Vladimir Putin’s Russia must look like.

For one thing, it’s a privately owned and operated newspaper, and has been since it started up in 1994. For another, it’s the most popular paper of its type in the city. It works from a downtown Voronezh building called “Press Freedom House,” and it consistently maintains its edge despite having a state-owned competitor that’s distributed free of charge.

And though it’s not overtly political in its focus, it does often break stories that seem to go against the official grain. For instance, one week in December, Moyaw (Mine) published a ground-breaking front-page feature spread about transgender people in the Voronezh region, with sympathetic first-person coverage of a local man who explains in detail his feelings, choices, and the steps he took to transition to becoming a woman.

“We try to connect big, national themes to what is happening here in Voronezh,” says Dmitry Yeriskin, Moyaw’s deputy editor. “It’s senseless to ask if we are ‘opposition’ press, because whether we support the Kremlin or not just doesn't come

Russia’s media spectrumMedia and the state‘It’s all changing’

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