RIMA stands for Russian Independent Media Archive.

We want to preserve the work that independent Russian journalists have been doing for more than 20 years. This is historical evidence.

Why it is important

Russian independent journalists have often been asked, “What is the point? You have assembled mountains of information, you have investigated crimes, you have made the evidence publicly available — but that has changed nothing.” Journalists have answered, “At least there will be a record.”

This record has come under particular threat in the wake of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Most independent Russian journalists have had to leave the country. Independent media have been censored and have lost their sources of revenue. As media outlets fight to survive, they can’t always safeguard their archives, in the short or longer term.

Our goals

Our first goal is to create safe storage for the archives of independent media, impossible to destroy or block.

Our second goal is to build a database with a high-quality search engine and make it accessible to users: journalists, researchers, and others who want to understand in Russia during the last 20-plus years — and how these events have been described by the media.

Our third goal is to model what can be done in countries undergoing crackdowns on free expression or other drastic political change that affects the media. We will offer our toolkit to independent journalists and media activists whose archives are at risk anywhere in the world.

What we collect

We intend to collect all the major Russian independent media organizations that have operated since the year 2000. We hope to serve these journalists as trusted custodians for their content archives.

We will add to the archive regularly and inform you about our updates. By the end of 2023 we plan to have uploaded the archives of more than 50 outlets. Here you can find our roadmap:

RIMA Roadmap

Our mission is to help resisting dictatorship

This is a living archive. We are trying to use it to support free expression and independent media, better understand how authoritarianism and dictatorships work, and stand against propaganda and manipulation of the historical narrative. We also believe that this archive will be indispensable for future justice.

The archive is also a model of what can be done in countries undergoing crackdowns or other drastic political change that affects the media. We will offer our toolkit to journalists and media activists whose archives are at risk anywhere.

How we classify media as independent from the Russian state

It can be complicated and can change over time. We chose to start with a short list of clearly independent outlets, but we will soon have to confront murkier situations. We will ask the Russian independent media community to help us devise criteria for inclusion in the archive.

What you can do now

If you want to receive monthly news about our project, please subscribe:

RIMA Mailing List

If you share our values and want to establish an organizational partnership, write nemz@rima.media.

If you are a researcher or a journalist and want to collaborate with the archive, write iv@rima.media

If you know how to make our archive better, or you have found a mistake, write s@rima.media

Just turn to our home page and search for something. We will analyze the queries we receive and work on improvements.

Founding team

Masha Gessen, journalist, author, ​​Professor, Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York; Visiting Distinguished Writer at Bard College; Staff Writer at The New Yorker. Masha is an advisor to the project.

Christo Grozev, investigative journalist and author. He is the lead investigator with Bellingcat, focusing on security threats. Christo is consulting the project on features and tool development for investigators and researchers.

Serob Khachatryan, media manager, activist, operational director of the project. Serob is responsible for development of the archive platform, and the connection between the technical parts of the project and the content.

Anna Nemzer, journalist, writer, documentary filmmaker, activist. Anna is responsible for the project's mission and its media partnerships.

Ilia Venyavkin, historian of Soviet and post-Soviet culture, journalist, educational designer, activist. Ilia is responsible for the project’s online and offline events, and for creating a community around the archive.

IT team

RIMA is possible thanks to the effort of our technology team.

Andrey K. — CTO and backend engineering
Igor D. — frontend engineering
Vanya Ch. — data engineering
Paul S. — data lead
Vsevolod Goldfeld — devops engineering

For security reasons, the identities of some members of the team are not being disclosed.

Our partners

Russian Independent Media Archive is a joint initiative of PEN America and The Gagarin Center at Bard College.

The project is created in collaboration with the  Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, Diffbot and the Mass Media Defence Centre.