Saturday

26th May 2018

Putin to spend €643mn on media this year

  • 'All in all, it's a solid amount', Putin said (Photo: Kelly)

Russia is to spend €643 million this year on subsidising media, amid EU efforts to strike back at “disinformation” on the Ukraine war.

President Vladimir Putin revealed the sum at a meeting of the All-Russia People’s Front, a loyalist think tank, in Moscow on Tuesday (28 April).

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"The funds that were envisaged for supporting media last year, I think, for the whole country, amounted to about 36 billion rubles [€643mn], which is a big sum of money," he said, according to Tass, a state-owned news agency.

"As far as I know, this year the amount which is allocated to support media should be on the level of last year. So, all in all, it’s a solid amount”.

"It should be clear how the money is spent. This information should be as transparent as possible”, he added.

The revelation comes amid EU and US concern at what EU leaders, in March, called “Russia's ongoing disinformation campaign” on the Ukraine conflict and on anti-Western propaganda more broadly.

Its flagship broadcaster, RT, alone employs 2,000 people in 16 countries, and airs shows in English, French, German, and Spanish.

EU leaders also asked the EU foreign service to create a new communications cell and to file an action plan in time for the June summit.

It published, on Monday, a US State Department-type fact sheet on Russian fallacies about Ukraine to coincide with a top-level EU meeting in Kiev.

There is more going on behind the scenes.

At a seminar in Brussels on Monday, organised by Estonia, communications directors from three of the main EU institutions said they plan to work more with social media and to use less jargon to promote EU integration in former Soviet satellite states.

"We are the message. What we’ve managed to build as the European Union", one of the officials said.

A second one noted: "This is not counter-propaganda ... It should be about telling the good stories that we have to tell about the good work we do in our neighbouring countries".

A group of 10 EU members, including the Baltic states, Nordic states, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK, also wants to see EU funding for independent Russian-language broadcasters.

But for its part, the commission is to spend just €10 million on promoting the “Eastern Partnership” policy in the current budget cycle.

The EU foreign service has no extra money for its new communications team, which will comprise between two to five people, one of them from the UK, whose salaries are to be paid by their countries of origin.

Meanwhile, Davit Alaverdyan, the editor-in-chief of Mediamax, an online news publisher in Armenia said the EU should be more flexible in the way it awards grants.

“The money doesn’t go to the people with the best ideas on how to make the EU more popular, but the ones who employ the most specialists in project grant applications”, he told EUobserver in Yerevan last week.

Alaverdyan, who is also a scholar of propaganda at Yerevan University, said Armenian TV and the four Russian TV stations which broadcast in Armenia cover Ukraine from Russia’s point of view only.

He noted the Russian message doesn’t have a monopoly on the internet and doesn’t always go down well, however.

Dmitry Kiselev, a prominent Russian anchorman who is on an EU blacklist, was also blacklisted in Armenia last year after a speech denigrating its language.

With Russian TV and NGOs often branding EU states as being exceedingly gay-friendly, Alaverdyan added that Armenians also rely on the diaspora for independent information: “This whole Russian idea of ‘gay Europe’ … anyone who has relatives in France, they know it’s not true”.

Finnish TV station risks EU Council ban

Finland’s national broadcaster, Yle, risks being banned from EU Council “round-tables” after it published ministers’ remarks in Latvia.

Opinion

EU needs a European Media Fund

Instead of gambling away our future as suppliers of journalistic content to Silicon Valley platforms, we should create our own European media initiative.

Opinion

Russian speakers deserve good journalism

The only effective way to address the region’s challenges is to invest in balanced, trustworthy, independent and diverse media, working for Russian-language audiences.

Analysis

EU has no 'magic bullet' against US Iran sanctions

EU leaders in Sofia will discuss how they can protect the bloc's economic interests against US threats to sanction companies doing business in Iran. But their options are limited.

Opinion

Ratifying CETA after 'Achmea scandal' is anti-European

While few people in Europe have heard of the 'Achmea' ruling, the case will have far-reaching consequences. Member states must understand the implications of the case quickly - especially those considering ratifying the EU-Canada trade agreement.

News in Brief

  1. Italy set to pick eurosceptic finance minister
  2. UK foreign minister fooled by Russian pranksters
  3. Rajoy ally gets 33 years in jail for corruption
  4. Close race as polls open in Irish abortion referendum
  5. Gazprom accepts EU conditions on gas supplies
  6. Facebook tells MEPs: non-users are not profiled
  7. Commission proposes ending France deficit procedure
  8. UK households hit with Brexit income loss

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceEuropean Ombudsman requests more lending transparency from European Investment Bank
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersOECD Report: Gender Equality Boosts GDP Growth in Nordic Region
  3. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Peace and reconciliation is a process that takes decades” Dr. Anthony Soares on #Brexit and Northern Ireland
  4. Mission of China to the EUMEPs Positive on China’s New Measures of Opening Up
  5. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOld White Men are Destroying Macedonia by Romanticizing Greece
  6. Counter BalanceControversial EIB-Backed Project Under Fire at European Parliament
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersIncome Inequality Increasing in Nordic Countries
  8. European Jewish CongressEU Leaders to Cease Contact with Mahmoud Abbas Until He Apologizes for Antisemitic Comments
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual Report celebrates organization’s tenth anniversary
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Cooperation Needed on Green Exports and Funding
  11. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li Confirms China Will Continue to Open Up
  12. European Jewish CongressCalls on Brussels University to Revoke Decision to Honour Ken Loach

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Sustainable Energy Week 2018"Lead the Clean Energy Transition"- Register and Join Us in Brussels from 5 to 7 May
  2. EU Green Week 2018Green Cities for a Greener Future. Join the Debate in Brussels from 22 to 24 May
  3. Nordic Council of Ministers12 Recommendations for Nordic Leadership on Climate and Environment
  4. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOxford Professor Calls for an End to the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  5. ACCAPeople Who Speak-Up Should Feel Safe to Do So
  6. Mission of China to the EUProgress on China-EU Cooperation
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersWorld's Energy Ministers to Meet in Oresund in May to Discuss Green Energy
  8. ILGA EuropeParabéns! Portugal Votes to Respect the Rights of Trans and Intersex People
  9. Mission of China to the EUJobs, Energy, Steel: Government Work Report Sets China's Targets
  10. European Jewish CongressKantor Center Annual Report on Antisemitism Worldwide - The Year the Mask Came Off
  11. UNICEFCalls for the Protection of Children in the Gaza Strip
  12. Mission of China to the EUForeign Minister Wang Yi Highlights Importance of China-EU Relations