Zhanna Agalakova worked for Russian television, as a correspondent in Paris. She withdrew in protest of the war in Ukraine, so people would stop “being zombified”.
“Manipulation”, excerpts from reality twisted to form “lies”, erroneous reference to the Nazis … A Russian journalist from a major TV channel, who withdrew due to the war in Ukraine, on Tuesday gave the “propaganda” to watch from the inside . ”Who rules in his country. “I want Russia to hear me so that people can learn to discern propaganda, to stop being zombified,” Zhanna Agalakova explained to herself during a press conference organized by the organization for the defense of journalists RSF (Reporters Without Borders) , In Paris.
“I hesitated a lot,” before I spoke, “but I do not think I have any other choice,” she added with tears in her eyes. Why now and not before the war in Ukraine? “I compromised in my career”, but there was “a red line”, she replied during this conference, which was held partly in French and partly translated from Russian. In mid-March, another journalist, Marina Ovsiannikova, made an impression by breaking into Pervy Channel’s TV news and waving a sign condemning the offensive in Ukraine.
“In recent days, we have observed a stir in these propaganda media,” with “a certain number of resignations that are difficult to quantify,” said RSF Secretary-General Christophe Deloire, along with Zhanna Agalakova. Correspondent for Western Europe, from Paris, for the public television channel Pervy Kanal, Zhanna Agalakova says she resigned on March 3, a week after the invasion of Ukraine. She describes a Russian media system, “which only conveys the Kremlin’s point of view.”
“Authorities try to stifle independent media”
“Our news does not show the country, we do not see Russia. We only see the first man in the country, what he ate, who he shook hands with, we even saw him shirtless. But we do not know if he is married, if he has children, “she said, avoiding uttering the name of President Vladimir Putin.” Power is trying to stifle the independent media, “and the absence of a” free press “leads to” a country’s suicide, “she said.
To justify its action in Ukraine, “the power played on an extremely sensitive chord for the Russians”, who claimed to be fighting against Nazi groups, stressed Zhanna Agalakova. Because the country continues to be traumatized by World War II and its Soviet “27 million deaths”: “When one hears the word Nazi in Russia, one has only one reaction: it is necessary to destroy it. It is a manipulation, a huge lie.”
Avoid being “propaganda”
Zhanna Agalakova has not worked on Russian soil since 2005. After presenting the news, she became a correspondent in Paris that year, then took up the same position in New York in 2013, and then returned to France. “I thought that by telling about life in Europe, and especially in Paris, I could avoid being a propagandist,” she said. According to her, things got complicated in 2014, with the start of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict in the Crimea and the Donbass region.
“Many journalists, producers or people who work in the media think like me,” said Zhanna Agalakova. ‘It is easy to accuse them, to ask why they do not resign, not to protest. But those who are there have families, elderly parents, children, houses to pay for. They are hostages to the situation … “
Zhanna Agalakova criticized the sanctions imposed on Russia by Western countries: “They mainly affect the middle class, people who share democratic values. In this story, you lose your allies.”