Olga Rudenko

Ukrainian journalist

lga Rudenko is a Ukrainian journalist who started thanks to crowdfunding an independent journal, the Kyiv Independent in 2021 to report more accurately on Ukrainian news, especially regarding corruption matters. After the beginning of the war, the Independent quickly became a global phenomenon, a symbol of fierce national resistance. Its Twitter account grew from 30,000 to 1 million in two days, then to 2 million in a month. In May 2022, Time Magazine named Olga Rudenko as one of its Next Generation Leaders and featured her on the cover of its May double issue. Speaking to the magazine about the changing style of news reporting as the Russian invasion of Ukraine unfolded, Rudenko said: "It felt like we were defending the essence of journalism."

Her key achievement is to have been able to kick start the Kyiv Independent as editor-in-chief and managed to keep it running during the war. Much of Ukraine’s media is owned or controlled by deep-pocketed oligarchs or politicians, who are not shy about dictating editorial content. Investigative sites and independent online newsrooms offer strong, fact-based alternatives but often struggle for financial equilibrium. Yet the Kyiv Independent was created within weeks, using an emergency grant from the European Endowment for Democracy. There are now 15 journalists in Kyiv, most of whom are in the office uploading reports.