By Kostas Onisenko
The decision by Google to block the YouTube channel of the Russian Tsargrad TV, which deals with church issues, and is owned by the well-known Russian businessman with close ties with the Kremlin, Konstantin Malofeev, provoked reactions.
As it turned out, there was no warning and the channel was blocked with the indication that it violates the terms of the community while another YouTube channel of the same media group was blocked, as well as the page of the former chief editor of Tsargrad TV, Aleksandr Dugin.
The aforementioned media are considered not only conservative but are also described by some as extreme, as they support the most extreme view of the supporters of the idea of the “Russian World” not only on church issues but also on social and political issues, such as Crimea and the War in Eastern Ukraine. It was one of the Russian media that at the beginning of the pandemic questioned the hazardous effects of the coronavirus while spreading views that have been described by the scientific community as “conspiracy theories”.
According to media reports, the decision to block the channel, with more than one million subscribers, has to do with sanctions against businessman Konstantin Malofeev by Western countries. Specifically, financial sanctions have been imposed on him by the EU and the USA because of his allegedly financial backing for Donbas separatists in Ukraine.
The decision to shut down the YouTube channel provoked a chain of reactions in Russia, even the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement on the matter. In her comment, the spokesperson of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs spoke about “censorship”: ” […] All these facts leave no doubt that Google’s decision is another example of political censorship and violation of freedom of expression and of the principle of equal access to information. The US monopolies on the technology market are once again being led by Washington, which is carrying out a malicious operation to clear the global information field from Russian sources,” the statement said.