August 31, 2021 Special Dispatch No. 9528

Dozhd TV Director General Rejects Foreign Agent Designation: 'Dozhd Is Not A Foreign Agent, Dozhd Is An Agent Of The Russians'

August 31, 2021
Russia | Special Dispatch No. 9528

On August 20, 2021, the independent Dozhd TV was placed on the list of "foreign agents". This joins a series of steps against independent voices in Russia, who have been labeled "extremists" (supporters of the imprisoned opposition leader Alexei Navalny, or "foreign agents." The designation "foreign agent" is designed to have two effects: it impugns the patriotism of those labeled as such and more importantly it is designed to have a deterrent effect on advertisers and others, who fear guilt by association.

When the designation was published, Dozhd's editor-in-chief, Tikhon Dzyadko wrote on his Telegram channel: "Hello everyone! As many have seen, the Dozhd TV channel was included in the register of foreign media agents.

"There are a lot of messages and calls, I don't have time to answer everyone.

"The position is very simple. Dozhd TV channel is not a foreign agent. Moreover, Dozhd TV channel is not some other agent.

"Dozhd TV channel is a Russian media outlet. In all its 11 years of existence, Dozhd has been operating in full compliance with Russian legislation, all our sources of funding are known, because we publish our financial statements on our website.

Of course, we will appeal this decision - as a decision that does not comply with the law and "common sense.

"And of course, we will continue to work as before.

"Thanks to everyone for writing and calling. We would be grateful if you could support us by subscribing or donating." [1]

Natalya Sindeyeva, the Director General of Dozhd TV, published a personal letter to her subscribers in the newspaper Novaya Gazeta rejecting the designation, and arguing that under the law's criterion it could be applied to anyone even pro-Kremlin outlets.

Sindeyeva's letter follows below:[2]

Natalya Sindeyeva (Source:

"I'm Natasha [diminutive of Natalya] Sindeyeva, the General Director of the Dozhd TV channel, and I’m not a foreign agent.

"I’m a patriot. I live in Russia, I love my country, I do not intend to leave it and never had such an intention.

"And Dozhd is not a foreign agent. Dozhd is almost 200 people who, just like me, love their country, cheer it on, and want Russia to get better and become a more humane, safer, more just, more honest, richer and freer country. All we want is to be happy, live in peace and be proud of our country. About 20 million people who watch and read our media every month via various platforms, I’m sure, wish the same as us.

"Dozhd went through a lot in 11 years. We were banned from cable networks, our business was destroyed, we broadcast from private apartments not knowing what would happen; but we always engaged in honest journalist work and told our viewers the truth. We will continue to do so, even if it displeases certain people.

"Of course, you can joke all you want about the 'foreign agent' status and call it a mark of quality. But in truth, this is terrible. It is very bad when the state starts dividing people into 'our guys' and 'foreigners.'

"A foreign agent is essentially a person or an organization that acts in the interests of another state. I ... we don’t have any other state. We live, work, and make a living in order to continue our work only in Russia. We act in the interests of our citizens, the Russians, who, according to the Constitution, have a right to freedom of speech.

"I think the following things are important:

"The law on foreign agents is not only a dirty trick, which tags dissidents and freethinkers with special markings and pits citizens against each other, it is also a completely absurd law. After all any media can become a foreign agent these days – any media. There are but two criteria that must be met: citing the “foreign agents” such as Meduza, Radio Liberty, or Lev Ponomarev [Soviet and Russian political activist], and receiving money from abroad.

"We, like all media, reported to Roskomnadzor [The Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media] about all foreign funding, even before the foreign agent law came into force.

"Today, we checked Roskomnadzor’s website in order to see who else was on this report, besides us. And oh, what a surprise! Besides Dozhd there are several dozen different media listed there, starting from knitting magazines to state-owned Russian companies like RT TV, TASS, etc.

"Each of these media if they quote a 'foreign agent,' could acquire a 'foreign agent' status as well. Each of them. Just think about it. What’s more, they do it, but don't acquire the status of foreign agents.

"Is that nonsensical? - Of course it is! Does it come as a surprise to me that Dozhd is recognized as a foreign agent? No, it doesn’t. But I haven’t made my peace with it either.

"We will stand for our interests, stand for the interests of Dozhd, other media that were designated foreign agents, and for the Russians. [We will] defend the right of our viewers to be informed about what is really going on in the country.

"In an ideal world, I would be working without ads that distract from the main content, without any financing other than money coming from the subscribers.

"And someday, I hope, the ideal world will come. Alas we live in the present, and it’s not a perfect world. Under the current circumstances the departure of every advertiser will be painful to us.

"Creating content, running a TV channel, is very expensive. We don’t have mentors, we don’t enjoy state support, we aren’t owned by oligarchs or anyone else. We are a Russian independent media [company], which the state once again strives to destroy simply for the fact that we are independent.

"We’re also honest first and foremost, to our audience. We never make compromises, even when we were afraid for our physical safety. We never censored our work, neither under pressure nor due to our own fears. And we are not ashamed to look ourselves and you in the eyes.

"Thank you for your support, for believing in us, and we will do our best."

Dozhd is not a foreign agent, Dozhd is an agent of the Russians. Dozhd is love!


[1], August 20, 2021.

[2], August 26, 2021.

Share this Report: