FREEDOM in April: Premieres of milestone projects, videos trending on YouTube

In April, three new projects were launched on the Ukrainian foreign broadcasting channel FREEDOM: the author’s analytical weekly by FREEDOM editor-in-chief Yehor Skoryna, “Everything is so Obvious,” a program about various aspects of the Western sanctions policy towards Russia, “In Isolation” with Yuriy Kulinich, and a digest of news about the life of indigenous peoples of the Russian Federation, “News of Free Peoples” with Kyrylo Volnyi.

In April, a video of Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s statement about Russia’s desire to seize Kharkiv and a story about how Israel effectively repels Iranian missile attacks were trending on YouTube. The total number of views of content under the FREEDOM brand on various digital platforms of the State Enterprise “IBMPU” (YouTube, Facebook, Telegram, X, TikTok) and on the platforms of partners amounted to 213.1 million.* For the entire period of work, this figure reached 10.5 billion views. The weighted average number of views from abroad for the YouTube channels of the SE “IBMPU” and partners was 79.7%. The number of views of FREEDOM on the Ukrainian broadcasting YouTube channels FREEDOM and FREEDOM.LIVE amounted to 45.6 million, of which 93% were from abroad, including 60.8% from the Russian Federation. The top five cities are: Moscow, St. Petersburg, Krasnodar, Tashkent and Yekaterinburg.

The most popular video on FREEDOM’s YouTube channel in April was a joint appeal by Russian volunteer soldiers to Putin (published in March) demanding that he contact them and allow the evacuation of civilians from the war zone, which they recorded during a raid in the Belgorod region. In April, the video received 3.5 million views (4 million views for the entire period of publication), 98.1% of views came from abroad: 68.7% – from Russia; 9% – from Uzbekistan; 5.7% – from Tajikistan; 4.2% – from Kazakhstan; 2.7% – from Kyrgyzstan.

In April, the coverage of the events at the Crocus City Hall was highly watched by viewers from countries bordering Russia and being a source of labor migrants for the country. In particular, the “Special Report” project with Ksenia Barvinenko, dedicated to dispelling the fake about the “Ukrainian trace” during the shooting at the Crocus City Hall concert hall, received 98.3% of views from abroad, 61.8% from Russia, 9.3% from Tajikistan, 7% from Uzbekistan, 4.6% from Kazakhstan, and 2.2% from Kyrgyzstan.

During the month, three new internally produced projects were launched on the air of FREEDOM. The project “In Isolation” with Yuriy Kulinich premiered. The first episode, which focused on how Germany is getting rid of its energy dependence on Russia, strengthening sanctions against Moscow, updating its arsenal and supplying weapons to Ukraine, received 93.1% of views from abroad, including 42.5% from Russia; 7.9% from Germany; 5.6% from Lithuania; and 5.1% from Kazakhstan. The premiere of the author’s project by the editor-in-chief of FREEDOM, Yehor Skoryna, “Everything is so Obvious” took place – a weekly information and analytical program about key events in Ukrainian and world politics, which are often manipulated by Russian propaganda. The project “News of Free Peoples” with Kyrylo Volnyi was also launched, a digest of news and events from the life of the indigenous peoples of the Russian Federation, designed to form the belief that it is time to fight for freedom and independence from Moscow.

It complements the lineup of FREEDOM’s “Decolonization”, “People”, and “Treasures of the Nation” projects, which address topics and events that can contribute to the internal transformation of the Russian Federation and the liberation of its indigenous peoples from the Kremlin’s rule. So far, these projects have already received more than 2.5 million views on the YouTube platforms FREEDOM and FREEDOM. LIVE, with the vast majority of these views coming from national autonomies and Russia’s neighboring countries. The first episode focuses on the interaction of indigenous diasporas with international organizations and government agencies to promote the idea of creating states independent of Moscow.

In April, the topic of the struggle of the indigenous peoples of the Russian Federation for FREEDOM was supplemented by another issue of the in-house project “Decolonization” with Kyrylo Volnyi. The issue analyzes how constant shelling, systematic raids by Russian volunteer forces, a humanitarian catastrophe, and the indifference of the Kremlin and regional authorities contribute to the growth of sentiment in the Belgorod region to restore its independence and separate the region from Russia.
In April, the editorial team of FREEDOM continued to keep constant feedback from viewers in its YouTube community, through a chatbot on Telegram and a poll where people can contact to report violations of their rights (this channel of communication is especially important for residents of Russia and Belarus), through comments in digital media, and publications in the media. In particular, the YouTube channel conducted a blitz poll on the causes of the dam break in Orsk. Over 23 thousand people took part in the poll in the first two days. 68% said it was the result of large-scale corruption in Russia, 15% said it was the negligence of Russian officials, 10% said it was karma for the terrorist attack on the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant in Ukraine, and 7% said it was the fault of rodents. In total, in the communities of FREEДОМ. LIVE and FREEДОМ more than 67 thousand people took part in the survey.

In order to strengthen Ukraine’s information security and Ukrainian broadcasting in the West, a Memorandum of Cooperation was signed between the State Enterprise “IBMPU” and the Center for Countering Disinformation, and a joint project of the Center for Countering Disinformation and the National Council on Television and Radio Broadcasting of Ukraine, “Нate speech”, was launched on the UATV English YouTube channel.

In April, the FREEDOM TV channel suffered another attack by Russian hackers: the channel’s broadcast on the Hot Bird 13G satellite was attacked, with the attackers jamming the signal and temporarily replacing the channel’s content with other content.

*General indicators on all digital platforms (YouTube, Facebook, TikTok, Telegram) of the State Enterprise “IBMPU” and on the platforms of partners – Ukrainian media groups that publish content under the FREEDOM brand.
**The data is given in the material as of 04/30/2024. Data sources: analytical tools of digital platforms; Google Analytics; YouTube Studio of FREEDOM channels and partners’ channels.