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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

Friday, Oct. 24


SPIBA’s ongoing “Breakfast with the Director” series continues today, featuring Tomas Hajek, Managing Director of the Northwest Division at Danone Russia. Hajek will be discussing collaborations between businesses from different cultures. The meeting is at 9 a.m. at the Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel and all who wish to attend must confirm their participation by Oct. 23.


Get your gong on at “Sounds of the Universe,” a concert at the city planetarium this evening incorporating six different gongs to create relaxing songs that will transport you upwards into the stratosphere. Tickets are 700 rubles ($17).



Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop culture, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the club’s website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit “Neophobia” at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBA’s Marketing and Communications Committee’s round table discussion on “Government Relations Practices in Russia” this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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