Redak­tion „novinki“

Hum­boldt-Uni­ver­sität zu Berlin
Sprach- und lite­ra­tur­wis­sen­schaft­liche Fakultät
Institut für Slawistik
Unter den Linden 6
10099 Berlin

Online plat­form “We aim to build net­works of soli­da­rity across national borders”

Inter­view auf Deutsch lesen.  / Читать интервью на русском языке. is a mul­ti­l­in­gual, self-orga­nized, open online plat­form where rese­ar­chers, artists, small publishers and acti­vist com­mu­ni­ties publish their own mate­rials. was founded in 2014 in Moscow and is now not only a working media, but also an archive with more than 25,000 publi­ca­tions on phi­lo­sophy, art, poli­tics, psy­cho­ana­lysis and film, inclu­ding acti­vist mani­festos, aca­demic essays and poetry coll­ec­tions. Bet­ween 150,000 and 250,000 users per month visit the site from around the world.

In the wake of Russia’s full-scale inva­sion of Ukraine, the platform’s main goal of being a plat­form for brin­ging tog­e­ther diverse com­mu­ni­ties has become even more rele­vant: has taken a clear anti-war stance and focused on expan­ding its inter­na­tional audi­ence by diver­si­fying its lin­gu­i­stic pre­sence on the plat­form, invi­ting con­tri­bu­tors from artistic, cul­tural and acti­vist com­mu­ni­ties from all over the world, inclu­ding Ukraine. In its com­mit­ment to hori­zon­ta­lity and “plat­form-ness, repres­ents a valuable alter­na­tive to both pro-Kremlin and “inde­pen­dent” liberal media in the Rus­sian-lan­guage and inter­na­tional media space.

novinki publishes an inter­view with one of’s edi­tors, Kon­stantin Kory­agin. When Russia atta­cked Ukraine, he decided not to return to Russia and stayed in Berlin, ending up, like most of the edi­to­rial staff, in exile. main­tains con­nec­tions with (pri­ma­rily left-wing) com­mu­ni­ties and aut­hors both within the “country of the aggressor” and around the world and aims to be a plat­form “where dif­fe­rent acti­vist and vol­un­teer com­mu­ni­ties read and get to know each other, share expe­ri­ences and audi­ences”, where acti­vist texts are “com­bined with in-depth ana­lysis and rese­arch, brin­ging tog­e­ther theory and practice”.


novinki: When and how did you first learn about When did you join the edi­to­rial board and what is your cur­rent posi­tion in the team?

Kon­stantin Koryagin: I learned about at the time of its launch in 2014. I remember I really liked the way its home­page jux­ta­posed almost diary-like notes by aut­hors unknown to me with serious aca­demic rese­arch by phi­lo­sophy stars, expe­ri­mental poetry with big spe­cial pro­jects, such as the offi­cial blog of the Moscow Bien­nale. I saw this as a very inspi­ring example of the hori­zontal redis­tri­bu­tion of sym­bolic capital and the dis­pla­ce­ment of estab­lished hier­ar­chies. By rea­ding one could follow the life of self-orga­nized cul­tural initia­tives in the Rus­sian-spea­king envi­ron­ment and keep abreast of the novel­ties of inde­pen­dent book publishers. It also published a lot of texts on con­tem­po­rary con­ti­nental phi­lo­sophy and psy­cho­ana­lysis, which I was very inte­rested in at the time.

I joined the edi­to­rial board in March 2018, while stu­dying at the Phi­lo­sophy Depart­ment in St. Peters­burg. I was called to the edi­to­rial board by a friend of mine. Since then, I am one of the edi­tors-cura­tors of the plat­form and am mainly respon­sible for fin­ding aut­hors, texts and topics, invi­ting com­mu­ni­ties to the plat­form, com­mu­ni­ca­ting with them, and occa­sio­nally mana­ging social media.


novinki: How many per­ma­nent mem­bers does the edi­to­rial team count at the moment, where are they based?

К. K.: Right now con­sists of six people: three edi­tors, two deve­lo­pers, one edi­to­rial manager. Also, when we have money, we hire an smm manager on a paid basis. When there is no money, the edi­tors run the social net­works them­selves. Apart from one person who was born and raised in Uzbe­ki­stan, the other mem­bers of the edi­to­rial staff were born and raised in dif­fe­rent regions of Russia. After the war started, the part of the edi­to­rial staff that was still in Russia left because of oppo­si­tion to the war and because it was simply not safe to do such a pro­ject in Russia. Now we are scat­tered all over the world: Georgia, Armenia, Ger­many, and the United States.

As part of our eco­system there is also — with mixes, releases and live per­for­mances of expe­ri­mental musi­cians from all over the world. The radio has its own edi­to­rial staff, but their path, posi­tion and geo­gra­phical loca­tion are similar to ours.


novinki: The foun­ding year of is 2014. Does it coin­ci­den­tally overlap with the begin­ning of the war in Ukraine or are those events per­haps somehow related to each other?

К. K.: It is a coincidence. is a self-orga­nized platform,
the aut­hors and com­mu­ni­ties mostly bring their texts to our plat­form themselves,
using it as their own web­site and archive where their texts are stored”


novinki: One of the goals of the pro­ject is to sup­port alter­na­tive coll­ec­tives and com­mu­ni­ties — pri­ma­rily in Russia, but not only. was con­ceived as an “expe­ri­mental” online plat­form — a new, alter­na­tive media pro­ject that had not been seen before in the Rus­sian-lan­guage media sphere. Please tell us a little about the struc­ture and goals of the platform.

К. K.: It is very important to under­stand that is a self-orga­nized plat­form, the aut­hors and com­mu­ni­ties mostly bring their texts to our plat­form them­selves, using it as their own web­site and archive where their texts are stored. Thus, on today there are coll­ec­tions of inde­pen­dent book publishers, artistic and acti­vist com­mu­ni­ties, cul­tural insti­tu­tions and indi­vi­dual aut­hors. These texts we inten­tio­nally do not edit. The­r­e­fore, most of the time the task and func­tion of the platform’s edi­tors is rather cura­to­rial and con­sists of fin­ding and com­mu­ni­ca­ting with aut­hors and com­mu­ni­ties. And also, of sel­ec­ting the texts published on we choose which articles we sup­port and make more visible on the plat­form (e.g., by put­ting them on the home­page, adding them to the­matic coll­ec­tions and pos­ting them on social net­works) and which ones not. This is why we often refer to our­selves as the “weak edi­to­rial team”.

At the same time, we have spe­cial pro­jects, such as Atlas, where we and our aut­hors think about bor­ders and iden­ti­ties, or Tash­kent-Tbi­lisi about the history and cul­ture of Cen­tral Asia, for which we have bud­gets (most often grants) and in which we act as a full-fledged edi­to­rial office: we come up with topics in advance, pay fees to the aut­hors, pro­ofread and edit the texts. We also orga­nize col­la­bo­ra­tions with other media, for example, we have a spe­cial coll­ec­tion of Rus­sian trans­la­tions of sel­ected mate­rials from e‑flux magazine.

Our initial goal was to basi­cally set a pre­ce­dent for a self-orga­nized plat­form that is self-funded and rela­tively popular, thus ampli­fying the voices of self-orga­nized artistic and cul­tural initia­tives, inde­pen­dent publishers, lef­tist and femi­nist poli­tical move­ments, deco­lo­nial acti­vists, near-aca­demic aut­hors and poetry com­mu­ni­ties by giving them access to each other’s audi­ences. We wanted to increase the visi­bi­lity of all those who could not find a plat­form in the clas­sical media, which in Russia before the war were either pro-state con­ser­va­tive or oppo­si­tional but right-liberal. In this sense – yes, did and does pro­vide an alternative.

It’s also worth rea­li­zing that we have never been and will never be a clas­sical news media, nor a media outlet like, for example, DOXA has now become in many ways. The­r­e­fore, we cannot say that we played on the same field with them and never sought to com­pete with them. We have always had a dif­fe­rent, more expe­ri­mental, dis­cur­sive and ana­ly­tical focus: we have published femi­nist poetry, deco­lo­nial stu­dies, diary essays, aca­demic essays on phi­lo­sophy and psy­cho­ana­lysis, art cri­ti­cism, phi­lo­sophy trans­la­tions, etc.

Illus­tra­tion (also fea­tured image above): © Sonya Umanskaya.

novinki: pro­vides a plat­form not only to indi­vi­dual aut­hors but also to coll­ec­tives. This very much became appa­rent after February 2022, when various anti-war mate­rials and mani­festos appeared on How did you react to Russia’s full-scale inva­sion of Ukraine, what mate­rials have been published since then? Can become a plat­form for cri­tical reflec­tion on the war and anti-war pro­test inside (and out­side) the “aggressor country”?

К. K.: When the war started we halted our edi­to­rial work for a month because we did not see the pos­si­bi­lity of publi­shing con­tent about cul­ture at such a moment [of an offen­sive war — ed.]. Then, when it became clear that the war was not going to end, and other oppo­si­tion media were blo­cked in Russia, we decided that it was cru­cial to resume work to pro­mote an anti-war stance and uncen­sored dis­cus­sion of the situation.

We wrote the fol­lo­wing state­ment. We did not manage to ful­fill all of our plans men­tioned there, but still — our edi­to­rial policy has changed a lot: we have tigh­tened the mode­ra­tion rules and the cri­teria for get­ting texts on the main page (any texts sup­porting Rus­sian aggres­sion in even the smal­lest way are blo­cked and deleted), we have shifted our focus from cul­tural, artistic and aca­demic to acti­vist and vol­un­teer com­mu­ni­ties and texts, from Rus­sian to mul­ti­l­in­gua­lism (alt­hough we started doing it before the war). We have swit­ched the infra­struc­ture of the plat­form to Eng­lish, so now there are a lot of texts in Eng­lish and Ukrai­nian, there are texts in German, and soon we will have a whole coll­ec­tion of texts in Uzbek. You can switch lan­guages right on the main page of the site.

After we took an open anti-war stance, we were quickly blo­cked in Russia — but we con­tinue to be read there via VPN.

As I said, we set our­selves the goal of attrac­ting acti­vist, anti-war and vol­un­teer com­mu­ni­ties to the plat­form. And also to publish important trans­la­tions ana­ly­zing this war. You can find dif­fe­rent texts ana­ly­zing the war in two spe­cial edi­to­rial coll­ec­tions:

and Spea­king of com­mu­ni­ties: some major femi­nist orga­niza­tions use as the main plat­form to publish their texts, there are coll­ec­tions from the media resis­tance group, mate­rials from the Uni­ver­sity Plat­form and many others. We have also had quite a few texts published on the notion and prac­tice of decolonization.

The shift in focus to anti-war initia­tives does not mean that we have stopped publi­shing on other topics. Poetry, film cri­ti­cism, texts on art and phi­lo­sophy, and young aut­hors have pre­miered their video works on


“When it became clear that the war was not going to end,
and other oppo­si­tion media were blo­cked in Russia,
we decided that it was cru­cial to resume work
to pro­mote an anti-war stance and uncen­sored dis­cus­sion of the situation”


novinki: How important is the inter­na­tional focus for you, and how rele­vant is it to con­nect with com­mu­ni­ties inside Russia that are hea­vily cen­sored? What con­nec­tions do you have to Ukraine?

К. K.: The inter­na­tional focus is very important because we want to build net­works of soli­da­rity across national bor­ders. We aim to be a plat­form where texts and people from dif­fe­rent count­ries and con­texts meet, also sha­ring some common values. That is why we are espe­ci­ally happy that during the war period dif­fe­rent aut­hors and com­mu­ni­ties from Ukraine and wri­ting in Ukrai­nian have appeared on Some of them we approa­ched deli­bera­tely, some came on their own. They are mostly acti­vists and rese­ar­chers with left-wing posi­tions, which I think is not sur­pri­sing, because the left has always empha­sized a uni­versal, inter­na­tional com­po­nent. We also main­tain links with aut­hors from Russia, many of whom publish anony­mously or under pseudonyms.

As one example of this, I would like to men­tion the War Dia­ries by Ukrai­nian gender rese­ar­cher and femi­nist Irina Žerebkina.


novinki: Is there any data that tells us who reads you, what is your audi­ence, how many regular/free aut­hors col­la­bo­rate with you?

К. K.: In nine years, has published about 25,000 pieces. In this sense, we can say that we are a full-fledged archive of Russia’s cul­tural and intellec­tual life of the last decade. Bet­ween 150,000 and 250,000 unique users visit the site per month. Con­di­tional break­down by country per month: from Russia 9000, from Ukraine 6000, from Ger­many 4000, from USA 2500, from France 2000, from Kazakh­stan, Belarus, Georgia, Armenia 1500 each, etc.


novinki: What is the importance of dona­tions for the exis­tence of the plat­form and its projects?

К. K.: is lar­gely based on vol­un­teer labor. Most of the time we work for free, in our free time we rea­lize (often with the entire edi­to­rial team) third-party pro­jects for money, some­times we win grants for spe­cial pro­jects from foun­da­tions and insti­tu­tions — then our work is paid.

In the last two years before the full-scale inva­sion, dona­tions allowed the edi­to­rial staff to afford a smm manager who ran our social media. After the [escala­tion] of the war, when trans­fers from Russia were blo­cked, this oppor­tu­nity dis­ap­peared and the number of dona­tions decreased very much. Plus we made decis­ions not to work with Rus­sian insti­tu­tions, which also limited our finan­cial resources. After the full-scale inva­sion started, several Euro­pean foun­da­tions helped us with a couple of exten­sive spe­cial pro­jects, thus sup­porting us and our aut­hors. These have now come to end and at this point there is not­hing that would bring finan­cial sup­port. Indi­vi­duals with an inter­na­tional account can sup­port us through Patreon.


novinki: What aspects of working in the edi­to­rial team do you value the most, what are your doubts and worries? What does the future of the plat­form look like?

К. K.: is a very valuable pro­ject for me, which I feel a deep ethical, theo­re­tical and ideo­lo­gical con­nec­tion with. What I value most is the oppor­tu­nity to com­mu­ni­cate with a huge number of initia­tives that are close to my heart. And also to read inte­res­ting texts every day, because this is lite­rally my job. Spea­king of worries, of course, at some point, for various reasons, I and the rest of the team may no longer have enough time and energy for the neces­sary sup­port and updating of the plat­form — if we don’t figure out a way to find at least minimal finan­cial sta­bi­lity on its basis.

Pro­s­pec­tively, we want to move towards even more plat­for­miza­tion, so that com­mu­ni­ties use our plat­form as their own web­site inde­pendently of edi­to­rial pro­cesses. Doing so they can cus­to­mize their coll­ec­tions them­selves: see for example FAS or Cosmic Bul­letin. We, of course, would wish for even more repre­sen­ta­tion of dif­fe­rent lan­guages and per­spec­tives on the plat­form, we want acti­vist texts to be com­bined with in-depth ana­lysis and rese­arch, brin­ging tog­e­ther theory and practice.

We’ve also recently made a major update to our editor, adding the func­tion to create more visual con­tri­bu­tions. We’ve improved navi­ga­tion and search func­tions on the plat­form. Overall, I think the struc­ture of our pro­ject is already estab­lished and working well. With the expen­diture of rela­tively small human and time resources of the edi­to­rial team, the plat­form con­ti­nues to work, develop and repro­duce itself.


novinki: How did you choose such a name — — in 2014?

It hap­pened quite acci­dently. At that time we were ori­ented towards at the level of func­tion­a­lity. And one of the foun­ders of the pro­ject had the idea that — since one of the mea­nings of ’sigma’ in mathe­ma­tics is either 200 or 400 — it could be used as an expl­ana­tion that the plat­form would have a minimum number of cha­rac­ters in each piece (as opposed to Twitter, where there is a maximum number of cha­rac­ters). Then there was also the thought of ’sigma’ mea­ning ’sum’. But all this was for­gotten pretty quickly when we rea­lized that all the fri­ends we dis­cussed the name with just liked the word.


novinki: Thank you for taking the time ans­we­ring our questions!


The inter­view was con­ducted by Elisabeth Bauer in February 2024.