Russia Beyond the Headlines (RD's parent organization) comments on the dissolution of RIA Novosti and the creation of Rossiya Segodnya (Russia Today).

RIA Novosti to be replaced with Russia Today news agency. Source: RIA Novosti

On Dec. 9, Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a decree creating a new state-owned media holding, Rossiya Segodnya, to promote Russia’s image abroad. The text of the decree, entitled “On certain measures to raise the effectiveness of the operations of state-owned mass media,” is available on the Kremlin’s official website.

The decree stated that Russian state news agency RIA Novosti and Russian broadcaster Voice of Russia will be dissolved and folded into the new structure, whose name is directly translated in English as Russia Today. Some news reports have included Russia Beyond the Headlines, the international multimedia project of Rossiyskaya Gazeta, in this restructuring. However, this is not the case.

Speaking about the changes in the Russian media landscape, Eugene Abov, Deputy General Director of Rossiyskaya Gazeta and publisher of RBTH said: “In some languages and in some countries the names of our supplements and websites are very similar to that of the new structure Rossiya Segodnya. Perhaps this has caused the confusion.”

In August, RBTH began rebranding its products under the Russia Beyond the Headlines name, and this process will continue in 2014. This rebranding, which has already been implemented in supplements to the Daily Telegraph in the UK and the Washington Post in the United States, will affect supplements and websites in German, Italian, French and Spanish. Once the rebranding is complete, parts of the RBTH project should be easily distinguishable from other Russian media outlets.

About the project:

Russia Beyond the Headlines, the international project of Rossiyskaya Gazeta, maintains 18 websites in 16 languages and publishes monthly supplements about Russia in 28 newspapers in 22 countries. RBTH’s total audience is 35.5 million.

RBTH’s online resources also include special sections on the websites of key newspaper partners, a mobile version of the website, an iPad app available in English and German and a number of special projects – Read Russia, Russian Start-ups, 30under30, the Russian Hockey Players Guide and theanalytical media outlet Russia Direct.

Over the last year, the digital audience of the project has grown by 135 percent, and the number of visits to sites continues to increase on average 10-14 percent per month. Research conducted on eight of the project’s websites in Nov. 2013 showed high interest of the audience in the topics covered by RBTH. More than half of the audience surveyed said that the project increased their knowledge about Russia, and about 40 percent said they have improved their opinion of the country as a result of reading RBTH. The international department of Rossiyskaya Gazeta employs approximately 120 people.

This article first appeared in Russia Beyond the Headlines