POSTED: December 9th 2013

Putin signs decree to shut down RIA Novosti and the Voice of Russia

RIA Novosti was the main news agency and photo pool for the Sochi 2014 Games / RIA Novosti Mikhail Fomikev
RIA Novosti was the main news agency and photo pool for the Sochi 2014 Games / RIA Novosti Mikhail Fomikev

LAURA WALDEN / Sports Features Communications

(SFC) The Kremlin announced today that Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree dissolving the state run news agency RIA Novosti and state-owned Voice of Russia radio.

RIA Novosti was the appointed national news agency and photo pool for the Sochi 2014 Olympics coming up in less than 60 days. Their appointment goes back to the fall of 2011.

Both agencies will be “scrapped and absorbed” by a new media conglomerate called Rossiya Segodnya, in English “Russia Today” according to the decree which appears to be tightening state control on the media sector. However it will be separate from RT, the Kremlin-funded English-language television channel originally known as Russia Today.

The new organization will also take over the current RIA Novosti building in downtown Moscow, the decree said.

Separately the Kremlin has appointed a prominent Russian television presenter and media manager recently embroiled in a scandal over anti-gay remarks, Dmitry Kiselyov, to head the new media conglomerate.

RIA Novosti reports that the head of the presidential administration Sergei Ivanov explained that the changes were geared towards saving money and making state media more effective. He told reporters, “Russia has its own independent politics and strongly defends its national interests: it’s difficult to explain this to the world but we can do this, and we must do this.”

The agency was established in 1941 as the Soviet Information Bureau just two days after Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union. With its growth over time it now has reports in over 45 countries and works in 14 languages.

Keywords · RIA Novosti · Sochi 2014 · Olympics

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