RUSSIAN AMERICA TV - The first, Russian language independent American television channel
By Alice Grey
Founded just one year ago, this bold concept, at the nexus of classic media and blogs, was created by two completely different people, who might never have met in their motherland.
Sergey Danilov is a serious businessman, doctor of economics, a professor, and author of 30 books and monographs. In his homeland, leaders of the largest companies sought out his services. He worked as a financial director for large, metallurgical enterprises and taught at the most prestigious universities.
Anastasia Gorshkova is a journalist, religious scholar, and media manager. She has always worked in multimedia and has never been to a metallurgical plant.
Sergey, tell me how a person so far from the world of media, took a chance in a new place, in a new country, to get involved in such a difficult field as television?
Sergey: This probably sounds very strange to Americans, but it was fate. There was no exciting business plan that promised a good profit. I simply supported Anastasia’s idea, which felt close in spirit to me. Russian and American relations are in a very difficult period. One of the most difficult. Anastasia presented me with an idea along these lines: In the overwhelming majority of the homes of Russian-speaking émigrés, only Russian channels are still watched. They say little good now about America. Everything is permeated with blackness, the goal of which is to form among the people an image of an external enemy responsible for the internal problems of Russia. Watching such content is probably permissible for Russians in Russia, but it violates the information security of America and greatly spoils the lives of the immigrants themselves. It turns out that geographically they live in the USA, but their mind is still in Russia. This is a complex split that puts a lot of pressure on people.
Anastasia, please tell me how you became involved in the development in Russian America TV?
Anastasia: Of course, thank you! I moved to America with excellent English; I watched everything avidly on American channels. Everything was interesting. In the course of everyday life, I realized that not everyone is doing this. My compatriots live on the Russian informational agenda, discuss Putin, Navalny, etc. They know all the oligarchs by name, but they receive very little information about America in their native language. They know the president’s name and know the First Lady. But if in a Russian neighborhood, you ask who is our vice president, our secretary of state, the difference between the Democratic and Republican parties, nine out of ten people will not be able to tell you. Everyone talks about the soccer championships in Moscow, but they have no idea what the Super Bowl is. The lack of a sufficient amount of information makes it very difficult for people to fully immerse themselves in this country of endless possibilities. Well, we decided to fill this void. We decided to help them become happy citizens of the great United States of America, to show and tell how the country that has become their new home is organized, what opportunities they have, and what their responsibilities are.
Sergey: The difference in mentality between Russians and Americans is huge. The United States of America is the birthplace of freedom and the rule of law. And in Russian, there is a popular saying: “The law is like a weathervane, it can be turned in any direction, ”. With this approach, you cannot live in America. You can only break life. It is possible and necessary to preserve national characteristics and traditions, but not these. A simple example: When a highway patrolman stops you in Russia, it is customary to "settle" the case on the spot, shove the cash to the inspector and go your own way. Bribes are banned in Russia, but everyone does it for some reason. And it is very important that immigrants from Russia immediately, upon arrival, know for sure that everything is different here. That for offering a bribe to an inspector, there will be prison. Not just maybe, there will be prison. All this must be explained. The difference is enormous. It must be understood and adapted to immediately.
Anastasia: For me, minority integration issues have always been close. For several years, I had the honor of being the spokesperson for the Moscow Patriarchate. During my last years in Russia I was head of the Department of Information of the National Policy Department of the Government of Moscow. I had to build bridges between the main system and those in the minority. Now here I am, a national minority. And it is very important for me that we live with dignity. So that our people understand and love America, not lose their own good and wise traditions, but leave in the past an unnecessary legacy of the communist and kleptocratic systems, and get used to living in new conditions to maximize their potential.
How are you going to accomplish this?
Anastasia: One of my favorite projects has become our program celebrating American Independence Day by looking at some of the great Russians in the history of the United States. For instance, Igor Sikorsky, the father of world helicopter engineering, Sergey Brin, the founder of Google, the dissident writer and Nobel laureate Alexander Solzhenitsyn, and many other talented people whom Russia has raised, but America has nurtured.
Sergey: I love the project “Political" about political refugees. The fate of people who were nearly crushed by the system, but were saved by America. I went through it myself. Gangster lawlessness, threats, mask shows (as ordered attacks by security services on businessmen are known in Russia), twice attempted to take my life. My pregnant wife and I ran and wandered for several years in small European cities. We were afraid to keep in touch with relatives, cautiously went to the store for food. By the will of fate, I was in the path of an octopus of corruption; very powerful people on their way to their dirty goals. I have always been against shadow schemes. From a young age I developed myself and knew how to honestly earn with my mind. I was appreciated, my career was growing. I never did anything illegal. But I still found myself under the press of the system, just by chance. Whoever has lived in Russia understands how it happens. You are simply crushed for the sake of someone’s interests. When America sheltered us, for the first time I understood what freedom is. What the law is. They hunted me here. Just recently, members of the regime with high government awards tried to defame me here. They enlisted the forces of two very expensive law firms and attracted journalists who were ready to wait for me to be led away in handcuffs. The process took several months, but the truth triumphed. I was cleared of all charges. I thank God, fate, and America for learning that freedom and the law are not just beautiful words.
Anastasia: The history of political refugees of the last decade is very important to tell. Terrible things have happened and happen to people that are hard to imagine for an American. On the one hand, Russia has greatly strengthened its state machine, but there is a flip side to the coin. The security of ordinary people has decreased many times. For dissent, fates collapse faster than under Soviet rule. Business people are completely defenseless if they come into the view of raiders with strong connections in the system. It even seems to me that we need to translate material about this into English. During the previous Cold War, the United States had talented Sovietologists, but they are not well informed of the situation in modern Russia. It seems that a new generation of advisers, specialists in Russia, has not yet appeared.
What is the basis of your TV channel's information policy?
Anastasia: For us, the concept is important - Transatlantic Bridge News. We pay special attention to all events that can improve relations between Russia and America and improve understanding between nations, first and foremost. But the absolute priority is to help Russian-speaking immigrants settle in America, to understand the framework of the law, the freedom and opportunities it gives, to love the American way of life. And through this, realize for yourself your American dream. Become happy and responsible citizens of the country you chose as your Homeland. For channel staff, there is one important rule—to draw information from the American information field, not to use rewrites of events from Russian information. We are trying to quickly and fully acquaint viewers with what America lives and breathes in their native language, Russian. This is a 100% American channel. But it is by no means an anti-Russian channel. We still love our homeland, and suffer from the fact that much has gone wrong. We do not talk often about Russia on the air, and mostly discuss the topics that Russian media keeps quiet about.
Sergey: There is a rule - we almost do not cover the conflict events in Ukraine. Not because we have no point of view. But because any word on this topic is now becoming the cause of new discord. We are unable to help the settlement and don’t want to inflame another argument by eloquently chatting about it. This beautiful country and its people have suffered so much that it remains only for God to pray for peace for Ukraine.
Anastasia: We are trying to improve the legal literacy of people. We attract experts and business lawyers so that people have a good understanding of how to properly conduct their business. In America, there is a very favorable business climate, but it is important to strictly follow the letter of the laws.
Sergey: This is important. Modern immigrants do not come empty handed as during the seventies. People sell houses and apartments in Russia in order to settle in a new place, but they are surrounded by many dangers. When I first arrived in the United States, my compatriots cheated me. They used my money to invest in rental properties, then resold them several times, forged signatures and so on. Everything seemed to be lost, no way out could be found. I managed to restore justice through the courts. But I am an experienced person, a financier who worked at huge enterprises. Ordinary people just lose everything, they don’t know what to do. So our experts teach them the American way. Here everything needs to be done step by step. It is imperative to involve specialists who are guided by the realities of America.
In the conclusion of our conversation, please tell us where can we watch your channel?
Sergey: 24/7 on the platforms of Amazon TV and Apple TV, on the site www.russianamerica.tv, on Youtube, on all social networks: Facebook, Twitter Instagram, Telegram messenger, all under the same name, Russian America. Almost 75% of viewers watch us from phones and for them we have made convenient mobile apps for both IOS and Android. We always joke that we live in a future that has already begun. We produce useful and interesting content and spread it across all channels familiar to modern people. No ordinary broadcasting network, television seasons. We are always where people are used to getting information: on phones, iPads, and social networks.
Anastasia: Well, in the conclusion, please allow me to take this amazing opportunity to wish all the readers of the Washington Times a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! And from all my Russian soul, I wish you peace, happiness, goodness and abundance. God bless America and all who live in it!