22nd Mar 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).

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

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.


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.


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.


Four years on – but we will not forget illegally-occupied Crimea

Together with many other partners, including the United States, Canada and Norway, the European Union has implemented a policy of non-recognition and sanctions regimes, targeting people and entities that have promoted Russia's illegal annexation.

News in Brief

  1. EU to have 'immediate' trade talks with Trump
  2. Separatist activist renounces Catalonia leadership candidacy
  3. EU puts conditions on Bayer-Monsanto merger
  4. Hard Brexit would hit poorer Irish households hardest
  5. Finland hosts secretive North Korean talks
  6. EU to unveil 3% tax on digital giants
  7. German elected S&D leader in European Parliament
  8. Germany: nearly €350m child benefit goes abroad

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EUobserverStart a Career in EU Media. Apply Now to Become Our Next Sales Associate
  2. EUobserverHiring - Finance Officer With Accounting Degree or Experience - Apply Now!
  3. ECR GroupAn Opportunity to Help Shape a Better Future for Europe
  4. Counter BalanceControversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan
  5. World VisionSyria’s Children ‘At Risk of Never Fully Recovering', New Study Finds
  6. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMeets with US Congress Member to Denounce Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  7. Martens CentreEuropean Defence Union: Time to Aim High?
  8. UNESDAWatch UNESDA’s President Toast Its 60th Anniversary Year
  9. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Condemns MEP Ana Gomes’s Anti-Semitic Remark, Calls for Disciplinary Action
  10. EPSUEU Commissioners Deny 9.8 Million Workers Legal Minimum Standards on Information Rights
  11. ACCAAppropriate Risk Management is Crucial for Effective Strategic Leadership
  12. EPSUWill the Circular Economy be an Economy With no Workers?

Latest News

  1. EU leaders set for 'stormy debate' on digital tax at summit
  2. EU praises Turkey on migrant deal despite Greek misery
  3. Judicial reforms 'restore balance', Poland tells EU
  4. Whistleblower fears for life as US arrests Malta bank chair
  5. Behind the scenes at Monday's EU talks on Russia
  6. US yet to push on Nord Stream 2 sanctions
  7. EU mulls coercion to get refugee kids' fingerprints
  8. Five east European states prevent new CAP consensus

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressThe 2018 European Medal of Tolerance Goes to Prince Albert II of Monaco
  2. FiscalNoteGlobal Policy Trends: What to Watch in 2018
  3. Human Rights and Democracy NetworkPromoting Human Rights and Democracy in the Next Eu Multiannual Financial Framework
  4. Mission of China to the EUDigital Cooperation a Priority for China-EU Relations
  5. ECTACompetition must prevail in the quest for telecoms investment
  6. European Friends of ArmeniaTaking Stock of 30 Years of EU Policy on the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict: How Can the EU Contribute to Peace?
  7. ILGA EuropeCongratulations Finland!
  8. UNICEFCyclone Season Looms Over 720,000 Rohingya Children in Myanmar & Bangladesh
  9. European Gaming & Betting AssociationEU Court: EU Commission Correct to Issue Guidelines for Online Gambling Services
  10. Mission of China to the EUChina Hopes for More Exchanges With Nordic, Baltic Countries
  11. Macedonian Human Rights MovementCondemns Facebook for Actively Promoting Anti-Macedonian Racism
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersGlobal Seed Vault: Gene Banks Gather to Celebrate 1 Million Seed Collections