Enjoying ad-free content?
Since July 1, 2024, we have disabled all ads to improve your reading experience.
This commitment costs us $10,000 a month. Your support can help us fill the gap.
Support us
Our journalism is banned in Russia. We need your help to keep providing you with the truth.

Russian State Media Merger Rumor Prompts Industry Mudslinging

RIA Novosti published a story about a possible merger of Ekho Moskvy and Snob.

Russian state-run news agency RIA Novosti and Ekho Moskvy, the opposition-leaning radio station, got into a public mudslinging match last week as they exchanged unsubstantiated rumors about each other merging with other media outlets.

The saga began on Thursday, when Alexei Venediktov, the prominent editor-in-chief of Ekho Moskvy, announced on Twitter that Margarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of the state-run Rossiya Segodnya holding that owns RIA Novosti, was set to leave Rossiya Segodnya and head the NTV sensationalist TV channel.

Her resignation, he wrote, "opens an opportunity for Rossiya Segodnya … to merge with TASS [another state-run news agency] under [TASS head] Sergei Mikhailov."

Simonyan immediately denied the claim, also on Twitter. "You tweeted nonsense about me," she wrote, addressing Venediktov. "I'm not going to NTV," she added.

The next day Snob, an opposition-leaning magazine, cited an unidentified source at Rossiya Segodnya as saying the agencies were indeed merging.

It will take one or two months to complete the merger, the source told Snob, and employees at the media holding are already aware of it. The Snob report also cited both Simonyan and an unidentified employee of TASS as denying there would be a merger or that there was even any discussion of one.

Later that day, RIA Novosti published a story about a possible merger of Ekho Moskvy and Snob. The story was also based on information attributed to an "unidentified source" and claimed the outlets were planning to combine their websites and social media accounts.

In response, both Ekho Moskvy and Snob representatives denied they were merging. In a twist that prompted further speculation that RIA had simply been retaliating to the Snob report, a disclaimer was later added to the RIA report that read: "While writing this story, the Ria.ru editorial board adhered to journalistic standards set by @aavst [Venediktov's Twitter handle] and Snob.ru. We promise never to use them again in our work."

It would not be the first time employees at RIA have found out about dramatic changes at their place of work from other media. In December 2013, the RIA Novosti news agency was liquidated by presidential decree and turned into Rossiya Segodnya, which came as a shock to many employees when the news was announced by other media outlets. RIA Novosti remains the name of the holding's Russian-language news service.

Contact the author at d.litvinova@imedia.ru

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more