The Russian government has earmarked $3.5 million for a news service for children, as the Kremlin struggles to formulate a youth strategy ahead of the 2018 presidential election.
Young Russians were the face of mass anti-corruption rallies organized by opposition leader Alexei Navalny earlier this year. The Kremlin is seen as having failed to mobilize Russia’s youth ahead of the vote next March.
Russians between 8 and 16 will soon be able to get their news from a joint project between the state-run TASS news agency and the Education and Science Ministry, the agency said Tuesday.
Education Minister Olga Vasilyeva first disclosed plans to launch “TASS for kids” over the summer.
TASS spokesman Dmitry Pertsev said the new platform will present news in an “accessible and understandable language.”
“Its task is to collect the most interesting and important Russian and world news for schoolchildren,” Pertsev said on Tuesday.
TASS will receive subsidies totaling 210 million rubles ($3.5 million) between 2018 and 2020 to serve “socially and politically oriented” news to children.
The state plans to allocate 1.96 billion rubles ($33 million) to the agency next year, according to the Bell news outlet.
A recent survey by the VK social network found that nearly two-thirds of young Russians get their news from VK itself, followed by other online outlets and social media.
Fewer than a quarter of those polled over the summer said they trusted the information they see on television.
The independent radio station Ekho Moskvy dubbed the project “TASSik,” a diminutive term highlighting both its child-friendliness and the low share of financing it will receive.