Новостные сайты

Independent and Relatively Independent Sources

The following list is not exhaustive, but it provides information the likes of which you should consider when consuming Russian-language news of any kind — facts like the source’s owner, its financing, its managing editor. If you have any questions, feel free to email Alexander Rojavin at arojavin@middlebury.edu

Government-Controlled Sources

The content on the following sites is controlled directly or indirectly by the Russian government. These are outlets whose primary function is not to report the news in as unbiased a fashion as possible, but to do so in a way that affects their audience as the Kremlin deems necessary. This is not an exhaustive list, so when consuming Russian media, be aware of the owner and editors-in-chief of these information sources and consider how they are leveraged to fit into the Kremlin’s broader domestic and foreign policies.

A few European organizations partnered to perform a content analysis of how state-run Russian television has portrayed the west from 2014 through 2017. You can view the comprehensive results of their study via this link: https://eceap.eu/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Image-of-the-EU-and-Eastern-Partnership-countries-on-Russian-TV.pdf.

Лента

Lenta.ru is an information outlet owned by Rambler Media Group, which belongs to one Alexander Mamut (Александр Мамут). Mamut served as an advisor to Yeltsin, but quickly transitioned and became a close advisor to Putin. In 2014, Lenta saw an exodus of its best journalists, who, headed by Galina Timchenko, went off and created Meduza (see above). Since then, Lenta has been faithfully publishing information designed to favor Putin’s domestic and international political goals.

Газета

Like Lenta, Gazeta is owned by Mamut and executes similar functions. Together with the search engine Rambler, these three sites are the leading sources of information for Russians, and their content is dictated in no small part by their owner. Keep this in mind if you ever run across Mamut’s name.

Первый канал

Первый канал, Russia’s federal Channel One is the televisual spine of the Kremlin’s domestic propaganda efforts. Owned in large part by the government and by Roman Abramovich (one of the most prominent oligarchs, personal pal of Putin, owner of Chelsea F.C.), the programming on this channel expressly carries out the government’s will. In recent years, even programs that have nothing to do with news, such as game shows, have become tools for the government’s information efforts. The channel’s director is Konstantin Ernst (Константин Эрнст).

Коммерсант

Kommersant is owned by yet another powerful oligarch and close friend of Putin’s – Alisher Usmanov (Алишер Усманов). While Kommersant is home to more business- and economics-oriented articles than Mamut’s sites, Kommersant is still held by one of the single most powerful men in the country who happens to be a strategic ally to the Kremlin. Be advised that since 2014, Usmanov also owns VKontakte and all information stored on its servers.

НТВ

NTV is one of the top 5 most-watched channels in Russia. Owned by the government and headed by Aleksei Zemsky (Алексей Земский, who was the deputy director of the federal television and media holdings company until 2015), you can expect from NTV news what you can expect from any other news source that’s run by the government.

РТР Планета

Owned by the government, same as NTV. Keep a critical eye when watching their news, shows, and commercials.

RT

A controversial channel accused (with good reason) of being little more than a glorified propaganda outlet. Putin’s government repurposed RT to be one of its prime foreign policy tools; RT’s goal is highlighted by its slogan – “Question More.” Its entire raison d’état is to cast as much doubt as it can on news and narratives coming out of “the West,” even if it means offering fringe conspiracy theories and explicit untruths as “news.” Read or watch anything that has the RT brand on it with a mountain of salt, asking yourself “What is this intended to do? How does this ‘news story’ fit the Kremlin’s foreign policy?”

Sputnik

Sputnik is a news and radio site that replaced the former RIA-Novosti and exists for the same purpose as RT – to subvert narratives originating from western democracies and, more importantly, to cause European and North American audiences to lose faith in their own news sources. Russian information war strategy has evolved beyond merely telling a single surgical untruth; it is now designed to shake people’s faith in all information sources, so that they believe nothing they hear.

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