Congratulations from the DW CEO on the 60th anniversary of the Russian edition of DW | Analysis of events in political life and society in Germany | DW

Dear readers,

On February 24, 2022, the day of the Russian attack on Ukraine, an interview with writer Vladimir Kaminer. A German writer with Russian roots told in it about a telephone conversation with his mother-in-law, who confirmed what was already clear: the invasion that had begun, according to Kaminer, was systematically hushed up from the population by the Russian media. Instead of shocking photos of fighter jets and missiles attacking Ukrainian cities, Russian television shows endless replays of President Putin’s speech announcing the “denazification” of Ukraine – brainwashing based on completely ridiculous “alternative facts”.

On the same day, DW strengthened its Russian language program and the presence of its correspondents in Ukraine. Against the background of all the difficulties that we have already faced in previous months – such as closing of our Moscow office in early February – now it was even more important to show that DW stood up to the aggressor and his censorship apparatus by providing open and truthful information. Since the beginning of the war, we have been covering about 125 million people in Russia with our online services every month and providing them with a realistic picture of the war.

All this happens in the jubilee year Russian edition. Its founding in August 1962 fades into the background against the background of the dramatic situation in Ukraine, and yet it clearly shows one thing: the relevance of our Russian program has not weakened even after 60 years. Beginning during the Cold War with shortwave broadcasts,today we serve many different digital channels and are equally subject to censorship. What used to be jammers are now blocking entire websites. Our colleague Roman Goncharenko impressively writes about it in his text dedicated to the anniversary of broadcasting.

Is independent journalism in Russia a never-ending Sisyphean labor? Not at all. Fortunately, today our users have many technical possibilities to circumvent censorship. At the same time, we provide instructions on how to do this. For example, the number of visitors to our Russian-language Facebook page increased by 370 percent in the weeks after it was blocked.

The war has been going on for five months now with no end in sight. The initial shock – as unfortunately often happens in news journalism – has given way to a “new normal”. Our colleagues from the Russian editorial office, with their reports, interviews and comments, make sure that scary drama in the center of Europe remained in the field of view of our users and was not forgotten.

I would like to thank all the employees who live every day in our slogan “Free Information for Free Decisions” and wish you and all of us more peaceful and carefree times in the coming 60 years.

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