Russian Journalist Visits Stanford University

A poet and freedom-of-the-press crusader.

Ahead of Russian poet and journalist Maria Stepanova’s April 6-7 visit to Stanford University, it was Cynthia Haven who very ably set the scene.

From the event preview:

Stepanova is the founder of Colta, the only independent crowd-funded source of information that exists in Russia today, with 900,000 unique visitors per month. The online publication has been called a Russian Huffington Post in format and style – and also compared to the New York Review of Books for the scope and depth of its long essays…

Colta was born in the ashes of Openspace. According to Stepanova, “As the official media, from the TV to state-controlled press, turned into an instrument of propaganda and strongly opposed to anything foreign, Colta became an important place where you still could find unfiltered info on what is going on in the outer world. That’s our mission – and that’s why we still strongly resist the idea of paywall. It could give us money we need, but the price to pay is too high: it means that our younger readers in far parts of the country – the regions most impacted by the financial crisis – would lose their only source of information.”

Today, we turn once again to Haven, who was directly involved in coordinating the visit, for a solid summary of Stepanova’s time on campus. She promises to post video of the visiting writer’s April 6 speech soon, and in the meantime has reprinted the introduction she made and also shares some great photos. In addition to Stepanova’s “Time Backward: Putin’s Russia in Search of Identity” keynote, the visiting reporter also gave a poetry reading April 7 at Pigott Hall.

Screen grab via: stanford.edu