Moscow to Dramatically Increase Spending on ‘Russia Today’

October 1, 2014
President Vladimir Putin and head Margarita Simonyan. Photo by AFP

Staunton, September 30 – At a time when Moscow is cutting spending on education and health and in an indication of the importance the Kremlin places on propaganda, the Russian government is going to increase the amount of money it will give to the television channel Russia Today or next year 41 percent over what it had announced earlier.

According to a report September 30 in Novyye Izvestiya, the government is increasing its spending for all media including domestic media but by far smaller amounts. Thus, for example, state subsidies for domestic radio and television will rise only from 21.7 billion rubles ($547.3 million) to 22.2 billion ($554.9) or about three percent.

Andrey Mayboroda, the director of the Moscow Center for Political Research, commented to the paper that “it is obvious that the state is generously increasing its spending only on the propaganda machine directed at the foreign consumer. In Russia, the zombification of the population has been going on for a long time and successfully. Large additional cash infusions aren’t needed.”

But, he said, in Moscow’s judgment, Russian broadcasting abroad “has not had the desired impact.” Unfortunately for those behind this budgetary move, “an attempt to achieve the necessary result by increasing spending for the purchase of new ‘furniture’ without changing ‘the girls’ [who host the station] is condemned to failure in advance.”

What is “sad” about this, Mayborda added, is that those who are having to pay for this doomed project are not those who have ordered it but rather “the ordinary Russian taxpayer.”