Putin’s Press: How Russia’s President Controls The News

10/24/2015

How does the Russian president manage to control the media with such great success?

After Putin came into power in 2000, he established control over the three main TV stations. In 2001 and 2002, he took control of the two biggest TV channels, ORT (now First Channel) and NTV. The state broadcaster, RTR (now Rossiya 1), was already under his control.

“The Russian media portrays anything going on from the point of view of Vladimir Putin.”

During his subsequent year in power, Putin moved more and more outlets under his influence until he controlled most of the major mainstream media. He appoints editors and general directors, either officially or unofficially. The director of VGTRK, the biggest [state] media holding, which owns Rossiya 1, Rossiya 2 etc., is appointed by presidential decree, for example. When it comes to so-called independent media, which are smaller and not owned by the state, there’s often an agreement between the Kremlin, the owner and the editor-in-chief. Even Aleksey Venediktov, the editor-in-chief of Echo Moskvy, which is sometimes called the last remaining independent radio station in Russia but in reality isn’t independent, says publicly that Putin is the only person who can fire him.

The editors and directors have so-called weekly meetings with the presidential administration to talk about the upcoming events, what will be significant in the next week, what the administration wants to cover.

Additionally, media outlets are dependent on state funding and the TV advertising market is almost monopolized as well.

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