A reporter for the Kremlin-funded broadcaster RT claimed Monday to have blocked ruble-denominated donations for an anti-war telethon organized by exiled Russian independent media.
The outlets joined forces on the national holiday Russia Day for a day-long fundraiser in support of the 20,000 activists fined or detained for opposing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
RT correspondent Konstantin Pridybaylo said the Russian donation service Donatepay.ru blocked donations after he lodged a complaint over what he called a “terrorist collection.”
“Did the traitors think they can do anything?” Pridybaylo tweeted. “That they can get away with it? They can’t, don’t bet on it!”
Pridybaylo's disparaging remarks against anti-war news websites, broadcasters and publications reflect the deep divisions that have emerged within Russian society since the country launched a full-scale military campaign in Ukraine.
Donatepay.ru has not publicly commented on the formal reason for blocking the telethon’s fundraiser.
Despite the telethon's fundraising ban, outlets including Dozhd, Meduza and jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny’s YouTube channel said they have raised almost 16 million rubles ($192,500) through other services as of mid-Monday.
Most independent Russian journalists have been forced to flee the country after Russia outlawed the spread of what it deems to be “fake news” about the invasion of Ukraine.
Around 1 million Russians are estimated to have left the country in 2022 in what analysts say may be the largest wave of emigration since the fall of the Soviet Union.