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    Website Lauched by Expats in Russia to Defend Country's Image Gaining Popularity

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    A website launched by a group of expats in Russia, aiming to balance the Western media's negative portrayal of the country, is steadily gaining popularity.

    MOSCOW, October 1 (RIA Novosti) – A website launched by a group of expats in Russia, aiming to balance the Western media's negative portrayal of the country, is steadily gaining popularity.

    "This site got started this past summer when a group of expats living in Russia for many years began thinking about what we might do to address a worsening and dangerous problem. The problem is that the western media present an inaccurate, incomplete, and unrealistically negative picture of Russia … It seems to us that this has led to profound policy mistakes by the US and Europe, confusion and misperception," Charles Bausman, the founder of Russia Insider wrote.

    The website's popularity surged last week, when it published a Russian viral video with English subtitles, showing a Russian grandmother addressing US President Barack Obama. In a heartfelt appeal, the elderly lady urges the US leader to avoid befriending Nazis and reconcile with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    Russia Insider's Facebook page now has over 5,000 likes and its most-read article on Wednesday has been viewed some 14,000 times in just 15 hours.

    The website publishes stories on Russia that, according to Bausman, reflect his personal views, but also strives to be reasonable and factual.

    "We believe objectivity is a worthy ideal, yet opinion makes for more interesting journalism, and seek to strike a balance between the two," he wrote.

    Some 20 names are listed as Russia Insider contributors, including prominent Danish journalist and theologian Iben Thranholm, Serbian international affairs analyst Damir Marinovic and a popular blogger who writes under the pseudonym "The Saker."

    Bausman denies receiving funding from any government or institutions, and stated that Russia Insider is a "private publication, funded by its founders." In order to maintain its independence, Bausman seeks to crowdfund the website or attract investors.

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