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RIA Novosti Employees Await Word on Fate of News Agency

Published: February 28, 2014 (Issue # 1799)



  • Employees at RIA Novosti remain unsure about what exactly will happen to their jobs.
    Photo: Vedomosti

Less than two weeks ahead of the deadline set by the Kremlin for the abolishment of major state-funded news agency RIA Novosti, its employees say they still lack details about what will happen to their jobs or when the company will cease its work.

The wire service is set to make way for a new agency to be called Rossia Segodnya by March 9, according to President Vladimir Putin's decree issued in early December. The stated goal of the new agency is to improve Russia's image abroad while spending less state money on the task than RIA Novosti did.

Related: Putin Shuts State News Agency

The dissolution of RIA Novosti and creation of Rossia Segodnya, which translates as "Russia Today," are part of what is largely viewed as a consolidation of the country's media under Kremlin control.

Other actions seen as part of this trend include the appointment earlier this month of a former deputy head of the pro-Kremlin Voice of Russia radio station as chief executive of opposition-leaning radio station Ekho Moskvy; and a wave of pressure on independent television channel Dozhd, which has said it may have to shut down after major cable operators dropped it following criticism by prominent officials of a poll it ran related to World War II.

Several people linked to news reporting at RIA Novosti told The St. Petersburg Times on condition of anonymity that they had not been informed by their bosses about their fate.

"It is amazing that we do not learn anything from our bosses. We are living on rumors and learning news [about the reform] from news feeds," a female employee of the company said by phone. She said she did not know whether any of her colleagues had been invited to work at Rossia Segodnya.

But even if some are worried about their possible dismissal or the expected shift in the editorial policy of the new agency compared with that of RIA Novosti, the concerns are apparently not seriously affecting the work environment.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Oct. 30


Dental-Expo St. Petersburg 2014 concludes today at Lenexpo. Welcoming specialists from throughout the federation, the forum is an opportunity for dentists to share tricks of the trade and peruse the most recent innovations in technology and equipment, with over 100 companies hocking their wares at the event.



Friday, Oct. 31


Put your grammar and logical thinking to the test in a fun and friendly environment during the British Book Center’s Board Game Evening starting at 5 p.m. today. The event is free and all are welcome to attend.



Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at today’s Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nation’s premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the city’s elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolan’s latest film “Mommy” at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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