On February 24, I tossed and turned all night. We were shocked. It was like 1941 again. I couldn’t believe it.
A couple of editors were happy and tried to convince us that the "special operation" was the right decision. But most of the staff took it negatively.
We started looking for what we could publish without breaking the law, while making it clear for everyone that what was happening in Ukraine was wrong. We dug through a lot of materials, including by "foreign agent" media, and statements of various famous people. Everyone called a spade a spade, spoke directly, well, openly, but it was impossible to publish such statements.
Back then, we already understood that if we published anything about the "special operation", there would be ramifications. For example, we can’t publish anything by Alexander Nevzorov, as he uses blunt language. But we can’t rewrite his words either. Then we came across Grigory Yavlinsky’s article
on Yabloko’s website. It looked to me like a piece by a man of culture.
It was quite benign: Grigory Yavlinsky only asked to start negotiations as soon as possible and to end the hostilities in order to save lives, so it was quite a humane approach. We understood that our self-censorship could give a green light to publish this article. Moreover, our reasoning was as follows: the article was published by an authorized officer of the party that was once part of the State Duma, the article was not banned, and Yabloko was not held accountable, so no consequences if we publish the article. And we did.
Then we received an e-mail from the prosecutor’s office. Administrative proceedings were initiated against us for publishing the article. The investigation took around one month. I requested an expert review to understand how we had discredited the military. After all, I was in charge of the in-house censorship and tried to prevent cases like that. Neither the court nor the prosecutor’s office could explain to me what was wrong.