Framing Russia: three documentaries

by independent journalism platform Mediazona

Safe Haven Fellowship

This program is created by NIAS: Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study

June is Free Russia NL’s Month of Solidarity with Political Prisoners in Russia. Displaced Russian film maker and curator Egor Isaev, working as a Safe Haven Fellow at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study (NIAS), screens his three latest Mediazona-productions reporting from Russia and occupied Ukraine: The Frontier, The Dog Haul, and A farewell to Alexei Navalny. The screening is followed by a Q&A with Egor Isaev, Jegor Skovoroda (executive editor of Mediazona) and Polina Milushkova (journalist at Dozjd/tvRain).

Mediazona is one of the leading independent media from Russia. The award-winning media outlet has been covering political repressions and human rights violations for over ten years: unfair trials, police violence, tortures, prisoners and persecution of political activists. Mediazona was co-founded in 2014 by Maria Alekhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, members of protest group and punk-band Pussy Riot. Mediazona and its journalists are persecuted by the authorities in Russia – in 2021, it was labeled with a discriminatory status of a “foreign agent”. After the Russian invasion in Ukraine in 2024 most of the team was forced to leave the country under the threat of criminal prosecution. Despite this, Mediazona still finds opportunities to report on events in Russia – and produce documentary films about them.

The Frontier –The story of Anastasia, a young woman from Kharkiv, who tried to take her mother-in-law out of the occupied village and was detained by Russian security forces. Russian human rights activists and lawyers are sent to get Anastasia out of the detention center where she was held and tortured.

The Dog Haul –Buryatia became the first region to legalise the killing of stray animals. Putin then signed a law allowing local authorities to decide for themselves how to control the number of stray dogs. The documentary film tells the story of animal rights activists who rescue animals by registering them for themselves and sending them to other regions of Russia.

A farewell to Alexei Navalny: Chronicling the funeral – On 1 March, Alexei Navalny’s funeral was held in Moscow. Thousands of people came to honour the memory of the murdered politician. The queue from the church to Borisovsky cemetery, where he was buried, stretched for several kilometers. Mediazona travelled all this way with people who came to say goodbye to the opposition politician. Their thoughts, dialogues and moods are shown in our film. 


Egor IsaevFilmmaker & Curator
Jegor SkovorodaExecutive editor of Mediazona
Polina MilushkovaJournalist at Sozjd and tvRain