Statement from the Anti-War Committee to Alphabet board member Sergey Brin regarding the blocking by YouTube of the Echo of Moscow channel
Dear Mr. Brin,
We are writing to you in your capacity as the founder and board member of Alphabet.
As you know, the leadership of the Russian Federation has unleashed an unjust, aggressive and brutal war against Ukraine and its people. The invasion of Ukraine has lasted a week. During this time thousands of people have already been killed and injured, tens of thousands have been left homeless, and hundreds of thousands have been forced to flee the country. Ukraine’s economy and infrastructure have been destroyed.
This monstrous crime against the people of Ukraine naturally provoked solidarity among the entire international community. Sanctions have been put in place, anti-war demonstrations have happened, and Russia has been isolated – the civilized world proved to be more united than ever.
At the same time, unfortunately, there is still no anti-war consensus within Russia regarding the aggression against Ukraine. Russian citizens are blinded by the Kremlin’s massive propaganda, which presents Ukraine as a state hostile to Russia. A state where the rights of Russians are infringed. A state that helps the West destroy Russian sovereignty. And as long as the Russian people do not realize the horrendous crimes that are being committed in their neighboring country, Putin will continue his insane war of aggression.
But the Russian people have very few sources of information. Independent media outlets have been almost completely destroyed, and television, the principal channel of mass communication, has been placed under the strict control of the Kremlin. In this environment, independent and unbiased sources of information have become the most influential of all opposition on YouTube channels.
Among these influential, mainstream and objective channels is the YouTube channel of the Ekho Moskvy radio station. We are writing to you because YouTube management has blocked the Ekho Moskvy channel. The sad irony is that YouTube was blocked on the same day that the Ekho Moskvy website was blocked by the Russian authorities for being too oppositional.
It is our understanding that the formal reason for YouTube blocking the Ekho Moskvy channel is that the radio station is owned by Gazprom. This is indeed the case, and it is confusing to the uninitiated person who is not immersed in Russian reality. But the fact of the matter is that the YouTube channel that is one of the strongest in opposition to Putin, and is objective and honest about Putin’s aggression in Ukraine, has been blocked as a Kremlin resource.
Mr. Brin, blocking Echo of Moscow’s YouTube channel deprives the Russian audience of truthful information about the situation in Ukraine, denies access to an independent assessment of Putin’s policies, and ultimately works to continue the war in Ukraine and, more broadly, in Europe.
Mr. Brin, we ask that you pay close attention to this issue, reconsider the decision to block Echo of Moscow’s YouTube channel and not deprive Russian citizens of one of the few sources of information that is objective and independent of the Kremlin.
Members of the Russian Anti-War Committee:
- Mikhail Khodorkovsky, philanthropist
- Garry Kasparov, politician, 13th world chess champion
- Sergey Aleksashenko, economist
- Sergey Guriev, economist
- Yuri Pivovarov, historian, member of Russian Academy of Sciences
- Yevgeny Kiselyov, journalist
- Vladimir Kara-Murza, politician, historian
- Dmitry Gudkov, politician
- Boris Zimin, entrepreneur
- Yevgeny Chichvarkin, entrepreneur
- Viktor Shenderovich, writer
- Yulia Latynina, writer, journalist
- Mikhail Kasyanov, politician