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A dozen Russian journalists meet every Saturday, at dawn, in a forest 20 kilometers from Riga. With the first light of day, they embark on a walk through some slippery paths through the ice sheets. As they walk in silence they stretch out their arms with a gymnastics stick. Arriving at the beach, where a white blanket covers the sand, they charge their lungs with the sea breeze and meditate. Back in the car park, they have some sweets and tea while they share anecdotes from their day-to-day life in the Latvian capital. They all left Russia less than a year ago, shortly after the invasion of Ukraine began. Like hundreds of other Russian journalists in exile in Riga, they live without a stable income or a clear outlook for the future. With an added difficulty: for the first time they feel that the country that welcomed them months ago is looking at them with suspicion, considering them too lukewarm in the face of the war in Moscow or even suspecting that they might act as spies.

The activity on the shores of the Baltic Sea is organized by Riga Media Hub, a foundation that has helped more than 300 Russian professionals exiled in Riga to continue their information work and whose voices still reach part of the Russian citizenry, despite all the restrictions. . One of them is Lev Kadik, a 45-year-old journalist and historian who worked, until his dismissal in the fall of 2021, as head of the Politics section at Kommersant, the business newspaper with the largest circulation in Russia. “They told me that I was not following the party line. [gobernante, Rusia Unida]. Always the party line, always, ”she recalls sardonically. “The contents of Kommersant today they faithfully follow the official narrative, with a very slight seasoning of liberal criticism, although what reaches the reader is pure propaganda”, summarizes Kadik in one of the meeting rooms of the modern work space that Riga Media Hub makes available for free. disposition of Russian, Belarusian and Ukrainian journalists in a secret location – for security reasons.

By carlos torralba (Special envoy)

In this photo, from CT, a group of Russian journalists walk through a forest near Riga on January 21.

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