YouTube has permanently blocked the account of the right-wing, Christian Orthodox news network Tsargrad TV. According to Interfax, Google’s press service cited the “violation of legislation on sanctions and trade rules” as the reason behind the decision. The United States sanctioned the network’s founder, Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeyev, in 2014.
Tsargrad TV posted screenshots of the network’s blocked Google account on social media on Tuesday, July 28, after receiving an error message saying, “Your Google account has been disabled and cannot be restored because it violates export laws.”
The network is now planning to challenge the decision to block their Google account in court. “We didn’t receive any warnings, notices, or strikes from YouTube. Moreover, the service’s administration isn’t explaining the reasons for the block. They simply won’t get in contact with us, so we are planning to resolve the conflict in court,” stated Tsargrad TV editor-in-chief Darya Tokaryeva
Tsargrad TV began broadcasting in 2015. Its founder, Russian businessman Konstantin Maolofeyev, is said to have been involved in financing separatists in eastern Ukraine. According to Malofeyev, Tsargrad TV was thought up as a “tribune and voice of the Russian Orthodox majority.” The channel is known for compiling a “list of Russophobes of the year” and offering to buy tickets abroad for “sodomites and perverts.”
In December 2017, Tsargrad stopped broadcasting on cable and satellite networks, and began broadcasting all of its programs online. The Tsargrad TV YouTube channel had more than one million subscribers.
YouTube has blocked accounts belonging to pro-government Russian media in the past. In 2018, it blocked the pro-government outlet RIA FAN(the “Federal News Agency” affiliated with Kremlin-linked businessman Evgeny Prigozhin). Then in May 2020, YouTube deleted the accounts of the TV channel Krym 24, as well as the publications Anna News and News-Front.