Type of site
|News and opinion|
|Available in||English, Russian|
|Editor||Charles Bausman, David Curry and Riley Waggaman|
Russia Insider is a news website that was launched in September 2014 by American expatriates living in Russia. The website describes itself as providing an alternative to how Russia is portrayed in the Western media. Other sources have described it as being "pro-Russian," "pro-Kremlin", advocating and pushing antisemitism and creating false or misleading content.
Foundation and funding
Russia Insider was founded in 2014 by Charles Bausman, an expatriate who had lived in Moscow for nearly 30 years and had been dissatisfied with what he perceived as the Western media's coverage of the outbreak of the crisis in Ukraine. Bausman described the website as "citizen journalism" and stated that it has no relation to and is not funded by the Russian government. Its deputy editor is Riley Waggaman and its director of operations and human resources is David Curry.
In late 2015, Ukrainian writer and political activist Anton Shekhovtsov who investigates the far-right in Russia, asserted that Bausman had sought funding from Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeev, who is reportedly close to the Kremlin, citing emails leaked by Anonymous International in which Alexey Komov acted as an intermediary. In an article for Haaretz in January 2018, Shekhovtsov wrote that the website was "originally launched to attack Ukraine after its former president Viktor Yanukovych was ousted and fled to Russia, by accusing the new Ukrainian authorities of fascism and anti-Semitism".
Writing for ThinkProgress in 2018, Casey Michel similarly asserted that "a series of leaked emails showed site founder and editor Charles Bausman requesting funding from Konstantin Malofeev. [...] As Bausman wrote to one of Malofeev's associates, 'I still need money!!'" The solicitation to Malofeev was cited as evidence of Russia Insider's connection to the far-right in Russia and Europe. The website itself has said it is dependent on crowdfunding, indicating that from 2014 to January 2018 it had received $300,000. The Daily Beast has said Bausman denies receiving money from Russian oligarchs.
The website has been criticized for its pro-Kremlin stance, accused of being among "pro-Kremlin propaganda sites" by Newsweek, and called "pro-Kremlin" by BBC News and the Slate website, being further accused of disseminating "false or misleading content" by the RAND Corporation. It is considered by the Euractiv website to be alongside "several highly visible partisan outlets such as RT (former Russia Today), Ruptly and Sputnik". Russia Insider is also known for posting the same content as clarityofsignal.com and RT. Bausman has himself been invited to speak on Russian state owned TV Russia-1 and RT.
RT later issued a statement which said: "RT categorically and unequivocally condemns the disgusting hate speech promoted by the recent Russia Insider article, its author, and the platform as a whole, and rejects any association to such". RT asserted the station had blacklisted Bausman two years earlier. Russia Insider has reproduced RT content. When asked by The Daily Beast, Google said "when a copyright holder notifies us of a video that infringes their copyright, we remove the content promptly in accordance with the law". RT material remained on the Russia Insider website.
Russia Insider is also considered to have right bias and mixed factual reporting. Latter means that it sometimes uses improper sourcing, failed one or many fact checks and "do not correct false or misleading information".
On January 15, 2018, Russia Insider published an editorial by Bausman entitled "It's Time to Drop the Jew Taboo" in which he described the hostility to Putin's Russia as "largely a Jewish phenomenon", alleged a "strict taboo in the media of criticizing Jews as a group, and announced that "from now on, the pages of Russia Insider will be open to articles which fairly and honestly address the influence of Jewish elites, including pointing out when it is malevolent, which it often is". Haaretz said the manifesto alleged "Jewish pressure groups" were responsible for "most of the deadly turmoil in the world over the last 30 years". Vladislav Davidzon, contributing to the American Tablet magazine, described the article as "a lengthy anti-Semitic manifesto" writing that the article "contained a comprehensive litany of the most vile accusations against Jews dating back more than one hundred years". Another Tablet writer, Yair Rosenberg, said on Twitter: "This pro-Putin site's manifesto is basically a Nazi screed in 2018. It reads exactly the same way: 'We must go after the Jews or we will face societal calamity'."
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- Michel, Casey (February 16, 2018). "Why is this Russia 'expert' writing for an anti-Semitic outlet?". ThinkProgress. Center for American Progress Action Fund. Archived from the original on March 15, 2018. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
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- Gotev, Georgi (July 14, 2016). "Commission: Russian propaganda has deeply penetrated EU countries". Euractiv. Retrieved January 24, 2018.
- Davidzon, Vladislav (January 18, 2018). "Prominent Russian Website Publishes Virulent Anti-semitic Screed". Tablet. Retrieved January 20, 2018.
- Helmus, Todd C.; Bodine-Baron, Elizabeth; Radin, Andrew; Madeline, Magnuson (2018). Russian Social Media Influence - Understanding Russian Propaganda in Eastern Europe (PDF). Santa Monica, California: RAND Corporation. p. 12. ISBN 978-0-8330-9957-0. Archived (PDF) from the original on October 20, 2018. Retrieved December 8, 2018.
- Russian Insider
- Shekhovtsov, Anton (January 29, 2019). "Opinion: How Vicious anti-Semitism Quietly Aids Moscow's Covert Influence Campaign in the U.S". Haaretz. Retrieved June 16, 2019.
- Collins, Ben (20 January 2018). "Too Racist for Russian Propaganda?". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 23 January 2018.
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- Horawalavithana, Sameera; Ng, Kin Wai; Iamnitchi, Adriana (2020). Thomson, Robert; Bisgin, Halil; Dancy, Christopher; Hyder, Ayaz; Hussain, Muhammad (eds.). "Twitter Is the Megaphone of Cross-platform Messaging on the White Helmets". Social, Cultural, and Behavioral Modeling. Lecture Notes in Computer Science. Cham: Springer International Publishing: 235–244. doi:10.1007/978-3-030-61255-9_23. ISBN 978-3-030-61255-9.
- Baly, Ramy; Karadzhov, Georgi; Saleh, Abdelrhman; Glass, James; Nakov, Preslav (2019). "Multi-Task Ordinal Regression for Jointly Predicting the Trustworthiness and the Leading Political Ideology of News Media". Proceedings of the 2019 Conference of the North. Stroudsburg, PA, USA: Association for Computational Linguistics: 4. arXiv:1904.00542. doi:10.18653/v1/n19-1216.
- Bausman, Charles (January 15, 2018). "It's Time to Drop the Jew Taboo". Russia Insider. Retrieved 16 January 2018.