Privately owned TV Rain is one of Russia's few remaining broadcasters willing to regularly air views critical of Kremlin policy.
“We're not a politically motivated network.We don't really see it as our goal to challenge the political establishment or anything like that.You know, we just try to be as objective as we can and that's really what we're about.”
TV Rain's independence is what brought many of its staff to the station, including some who left state media as the Kremlin tightened its grip.
“I actually quit RT about a month before the Crimea events.I just had a feeling that things there were tightening in a very uncomfortable way.And, as somebody who was there from the beginning, I found that disturbing."
But refusing to join state media in pandering to authorities has come at a price for TV Rain.Political pressure over a program that questioned Soviet strategy during World War II led cable companies to drop the channel in 2014.Most believe it was an excuse.
“I sincerely believe that if it wasn't that story, about the siege of Leningrad, they would find something else.It was just a matter of days or weeks.”
To survive, TV Rain was forced to change to an online subscription-based model.Subscribers have grown to more than 70,000, and its web site gets millions views per month.But, along with all Russian media, TV Rain is caught up in a growing downpour of restrictions.
“We cover everything that doesn’t violate Russian criminal laws,” says Klishin. “But, at some point, Russian criminal laws now are contradicting the issues of freedom of speech.”
Mean while, TV Rain is looking to entertainment programming to reach a larger and younger audience in Russia beyond its urban, liberal, and well educated base.