Critical cartoons show the Russian president in his fifth term: “Part Z.” The media in exile also reports on anti-abortion politics.

Screenshot from the animated film by Egor Zhgun: Putin is sitting at the desk, behind him is a portrait of Putin, and there is also an image of Putin on the TV screen.

Screenshot from Egor Zhgun's animated film: 12 years of Putin in 2 minutes Photo: Egor Zhgun/YouTube Screenshot

The Russian and English portal Meduza is one of the most important Russian independent media. In January 2023, Meduza was completely banned in Russia. But Meduza continues to raise his voice against the war, from exile. Since March 1, 2023, the taz presents a weekly selection of what Meduza is currently reporting every Wednesday at taz.de/meduza. The project is funded by the Taz Panter Foundation.

During the week of March 28 to April 3, 2024, Meduza reported on the following topics, among others:

“Russian elites are still sharks”

Following the death of Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny, the British journalist and long-time Russia correspondent published the Financial times Catherine Belton the Russian version of her bestseller “Putin's People: How the KGB Reclaimed Russia and Then Took Over the West.”

For jellyfish Belton spoke with journalist Tanja Lukyanova (English text).

Belton's book was published in English in 2020. Even afterward, Belton spoke several times with his sources in Russia. Some of the members of the Russian elite with whom he exchanged views were “horrified” when Putin invaded Ukraine in 2022. For many, this was a “catastrophe” and the end of “30 years of building” ties with the West. Now, in the third year of the war, parts of the Russian elite are assessing the situation differently, Belton said: “I fear they see the weakness of the West and the paralysis of the United States and assume that the war now offers an opportunity “. redraw the map and forge an alliance between Russia, India and China.” Belton adds: “Unfortunately, most Russian billionaires and elites are still sharks.”

The history of Putin's power in cartoon form

In 2012, when Vladimir Putin returned to the presidency after a brief hiatus as prime minister, Russian animator Egor Zhgun released an animated short film telling the story of Russia under Putin. Six years later he updated the work. On March 22, 2024, five days after Putin began his fifth term, Zhgun published the third part of his series on Putin, “Part Z.” jellyfish It summarizes all parts of this article (text in English) and breaks down the various political and cultural allusions that can be found in the video. The third is the darkest so far. The cartoons are inspired by The Simpsons and Putin is portrayed as Mr. Burns.

Throughout the video, several chapters of Putin's mandate are recounted: the annexation of Crimea, Telegram, the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the pre-pandemic, the confinement due to Covid19, the local elections… until the death of Navalny . The video ends with a black image, implying that Putin ordered the murder of opposition politicians held captive in Siberia.

Russia's anti-abortion policy

There is currently no federal law in Russia prohibiting abortions. However, more and more private clinics refuse to perform this procedure. Doctors fear this could be a sign of possible imminent restrictions on women's reproductive rights across Russia. jellyfish For example, look at the Russian Republic of Tatarstan, where 19 private clinics “voluntarily” stopped performing abortions in March (English text). As of 2023, access to abortions in private clinics was restricted in at least 15 Russian regions. The article is an English translation of an original article in Russian published by the independent journalists' cooperative Bereg.

The report collects testimonies from women in Russia who share their experiences. Some of them want to remain anonymous. It all started a few years ago when the Russian Minister of Health, Mikhail Murashko, spoke of the need to ban abortions in private clinics due to their supposed negative impact on demographics. Soon after, ministers in many regions began to address the issue. “I don't think that the Russian Ministry of Health intends to completely ban abortion (…) But it is trying to reduce the number of abortions as much as possible,” says one of the women interviewed.

The most popular propaganda singer in Russia.

Singer Jaroslav Dronov, better known as the Shaman, has become one of the most famous singers in Russia. Reported in this post jellyfish the story of this pop singer who has become a phenomenon in Russia (text in Russian). Her presence in the media is intentional: for example, she sang a requiem for those recently killed in the terrorist attack in Moscow.

His wife, Elena Martinova, is a senior manager of billionaire Alisher Usmanov's USM holding company and vice president of the Russian telecommunications company Megafon. The two have been married for six years. Dronow and his wife went from being soloists in an unknown cover band, “Chas Pick,” to becoming a figurehead of Russian propaganda that filled stadiums. Dronow's lyrics are learned in schools and universities and his songs are parodied.

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