Peak interest in Yle’s news in Russian; HS offers articles in Russian | News

Finland’s biggest daily is starting to publish stories in Russian, while Yle’s long-running Russian news is attracting more viewers – and detractors.

Lyubov Shalygina (left), Levan Tvaltvadze and Katja Liukkonen from Russian service, Yle Novosti.

Finland’s largest newspaper, Helsingin Sanomat, has started publishing articles in Russian about Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

The daily joins the Swedish Dagens Nyheter and the Danish Politiken in this effort.

In a joint statement on Thursday, the editors of the three newspapers wrote that “the Russian administration has focused on preventing its citizens from receiving independent information rather than propaganda.”

Editors said they were “appalled” when Russian authorities closed the last independent TV and radio operators, Dozhd TV and Eho Moskvy, last week.

“Our goal is to provide Russians with unbiased and trustworthy news and coverage,” the editors wrote.

Yle’s Russian service attracts viewers and hates mail

Finnish public broadcaster Yle has been providing Russian-language news on radio since 1990, and on TV and the web since 2013, under the name Yle Novosti. The daily four-minute TV show averaged 225,000 viewers last year, but that figure has risen sharply in recent weeks.

Since the start of the war, there has been a resurgence of interest in Yle Novosti’s online broadcasts and reports.

Last week, the number of visitors to the Yle Novosti site increased by more than 60% compared to the weekly average at the beginning of the year. Traffic from Russia jumped 80%.

Yle has also seen a surge in the volume of public comments related to the service.

Marko Krapu, producer of Russian-language news, said that most of the feedback received on the program is positive. Many viewers expressed their satisfaction that reliable information was provided about the war.

“Plain Racism and Hate Speech”

However, since the beginning of the Russian invasion, the number of critical comments has also increased.

“Some posts have included outright racism and hate speech,” said Krapu, who estimates there were a few dozen of the most hostile posts.

“Some asked Yle to stop the news in Russian because they don’t want to hear the language and hate all Russians,” he said.

Krapu expressed concern about the returns.

“Language should not be used as an excuse for racism or hate speech. In a conflict like the war in Ukraine, criticism should not be directed at language or ethnicity, but at those who have caused war by their actions and decisions,” the producer said.

Krapu pointed out that many Russian speakers living in Finland condemned the attack and some have relatives and friends in Ukraine.

“Under the Yle law, we have to serve all Finns and people living in Finland. There are more than 80,000 native Russian speakers in our country. Information in their own mother tongue helps Russian speakers to integrate into the Finnish society and feel a sense of belonging.” said Krapu.

“Now, if ever, there is a very high demand and need for Yle Novosti’s reliable information,” he added.

The Yle Novosti newscast airs daily at 4:50 p.m. on Yle TV1, and can be seen anytime worldwide via Yle Areena.

Yle’s new Russian stories can be found online here.

Sylvester L. Goldfarb