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NEWS  / HOW THE NEWS IS REPORTED IN RUSSIA, FEBRUARY 2015
02.03.2015


 
Study Abroad
in Russia!

Journalism-2014

How the News
is Reported in Russia
February, 2015
by Andrei Nesterov

editorial support by Margaret Godwin-Jones

The two largest state-run television stations in Russia are First Channel and Russia Channel. Most Russians get their news from one of these two stations. SRAS's Andrei Nesterov compiled the following synopsis of how major events were covered by news reports on these two stations. This news review is part of SRAS's monthly "obzor" publications. For more reviews, see the newsletter for this corresponding month. If you would like to request that a story be covered here, inform our editor.

According to the Public Opinion Foundation, one of Russia's major polsters, 88% of Russians get their news from television broadcasts. 43% believe that the news is objective, 37% believe it is not. 43% believe that journalists distort facts "often." 35% believe that, in certain conditions, this is justified. 60% believe that news blackouts are justified in certain conditions.

To receive the free monthly newsletter and obzori by email, simply sign up.

Week 1

- Russian Government Announces Measures to Fight Economic Crisis

First Channel states that Greece broke the EU plan to introduce new sanctions against Russia – Greece thanked Russia for not allowing violence in Crimea and thus saving the lives of Crimean Greeks. Greece has also proposed that the EU cancel their anti-Russia sanctions. As a result, no new sanctions were introduced, but the current sanctions were extended until the fall.

First Channel quoted deputy prime minister Igor Shuvalov as saying that Russia will "manage on its own." First, a national card payment system will be introduced by the end of the year and cards will be initially issued to government employees. The national card payment system is meant to ensure that the Russian economy would not collapse if Visa and Mastercard were suddenly banned by sanctions from operating in Russia.

President Putin said at a meeting with Russian regional administration heads that “we must overcome the pressure of external factors by means of strengthening economic and financial sovereignty.” The President said that finance and economy are used as a very powerful tool of political pressure, and therefore “it is necessary to prevent the crisis phenomena, not just wait for the changes of the market situation or for help from the central government, but also to look for ways out of the difficult situations which can emerge.”

First Channel reports that the anti-crisis program will cost more than two trillion rubles ($16 billion). 54 billion rubles will be allocated to agriculture, Russian banks will be given one trillion rubles to support loans to industry. About 200 billion will be spent on raising pensions to match inflation levels.

Meanwhile, some less important items of the state budget are to be cut by 10 percent.

- Russian Central Bank Reduces Interest Rates to Fight Inflation

First Channel reports that the exchange rate of Russian ruble fell by 20 percent in the first three weeks of January and that that could have been in response to the decision of the Central Bank to reduce the interest rate from 17 to 15 percent.

According to First Channel, economists say that the ruble devaluation is caused by a lack of state support to strengthen the exchange rate.

First Channel quoted Central Bank head Elvira Nabiullina as saying that she expects inflation to peak in the second quarter of 2015.

- New State Budget to be Approved by February 1

Russia Channel reports that the government's anti-crisis "Plan of Development and Stability" allocates 300 billion rubles for social programs such as raising pension allowances, allowances for the poor and unemployed, and for purchasing medications abroad.

160 billion rubles are to be allocated for loans to Russian regions, 230 billion – for increasing state collateral on loans, 24 billion – for substituting imports, 10 billion – for supporting small and medium-sized businesses.

Meanwhile, the biggest amounts are to be given to banks. 250 billion of the National Welfare Fund is to be allocated for additional bank capitalization.

One trillion rubles will be given to five banks labeled as “systemically-important financial institutions:” VTB, Gazprombank, Rosselkhozbank, VTB-242 and Alpha Bank.

First Channel quotes Russia's State Commissioner for Entrepreneurs' Rights Boris Titov as saying that "the government is focused on developing and supporting the biggest banks, as well as supporting the major companies. Today, we would like to see more measures aimed at supporting the second-tier banks which really give loans to the real sector of the economy.”

Deputy prime minister Igor Shuvalov said to the media that, while the state focused on supporting employers during the economic crisis of 2008, support in the current crisis will be provided to employees, such as giving training and organizing public works.

- Bryansk Region to Provide all Russia with Meat

Russia Channel reports that “under the conditions of sanctions and changes in food import structure, Bryansk region provides not only its residents, but also neighboring regions with high quality food.”

For example, Bryansk farmers are to increase supplies of beef up to 130 thousand tons a year which is more than Australia used to supply before the sanctions were introduced.

Recently, Bryansk farmers started producing Maasdam, a Dutch cheese, with more varieties coming soon.

Bryansk region, the Channel emphasized, did not experience such exorbitant food price growth as Russia’s other regions due to loans the regional government gave to local businesses.

Other news

First Channel

Clashes in South-East of Ukraine
Civilians Killed in South-East Ukraine
Russian Volunteers Help Donbass
Bridge to Crimea to be Built
On Political Distortions of WWII History
First Channel: Daily Reports on WWII Heroes
US Policy Causes Middle East Turmoil
58 Russians Join ISIS Tighters
Obama Habitually Chews Gum in Public
Number of Obese Children Growing

Vesti Nedeli

Rebels Now Stronger than Ukraine Army
Ukraine Continues Shelling
Poroshenko: Too Moderate for Ukraine?
Ukrainian Soldiers Protest Poroshenko
Missile Strikes in Debaltsevo
Economic Problems in Ukraine
Ukraine Draft: Thousands Flee to Russia
Sacrifices Made for Donetsk Airport
Luhansk Rebels Make Stand
Rebels Continue Advance
Auschwitz Survivors Remember Red Army
ISIS Terrorists Execute Japanese Reporter
Patriarch Kirill Coronation Anniversary
Planed Bridge to Crimea
2015: Year of Literature in Russia
No Ebola in Primorie Region

Week 2

- 312 Local Trains Reestablished after Putin Criticism

First Channel reports that three years ago, the Russian Railways company reformed the system of local electric trains by establishing suburban transportation companies and laying the burden for funding them on the regional government. The regions were unable to fund them, and eventually dozens of train routes were cancelled. This affected "many millions of passengers," and President Putin had to step in, requesting the routes be reestablished immediately with a renewed system of funding. Deputy prime minister Arkady Dvorkovich assured the President that, within 24 hours, he would come up with a funding solution which would allow the routes to be reestablished.

Russia Channel reported that electric trains were cancelled in more than 20 out of 80 Russian regions.

President Putin emotionally criticized the decision to cancel the trains by saying that, "Listen, this is not a serious approach to work. It affects thousands of people, enterprises… They should be reestablished immediately!”

A day later, on February 5, 40 routes were re-established, on February 6 – over 200.

- Price Increase Craze in Russia

Russia Channel reports stores have set an exorbitant profit margin on tomatoes. At a wholesale warehourse in the Moscow suburb of Domodedovo, the minimum price of tomatoes is 70 rubles per kilo, while in nearby stores, it is 200 rubles, and in stores in downtown Moscow, the price of tomatoes has reached 300 rubles per kilo.

Some stores started making price tags for half a kilo “in order not to scare people too much,” First Channel reports.

The prices for peppers in all stores have risen by 20 percent - 220 rubles in stores while the warehouse sells it at 140 rubles. Avocado prices have increased in the store twofold – from 40 to 80 rubles per avocado.

Apples grown in Russia are sold at 80 rubles per kilo while previously they were sold at 30 rubles.

Some people stopped buying fruit, such as apples and tangerines, being scared of sharp price increase.

The prices for medicine in drug stores have increased by one-third.

Other news

First Channel

Russia, Germany, France Discuss Ukraine
Clashes Continue in South-East Ukraine
Ukraine Requests NATO Weapons
Saakashvili Wants Ukraine Post
Experts: Ukraine Bankrupt
Starting Business Amidst Crisis
Ruble Devaluation Purchases Sold
No Clue on Downed Boeing
Sochi Olympics Anniversary Celebration

Vesti Nedeli

EU Frightened of US Arms to Ukraine
New Ukraine Peace Plan
People Flee Ukraine Town
Ukraine Denies Army Surrounded
Ukraine Singer Protests Poroshenko, Dies
Ukraine Soldiers Protest Against Kiev
Ukraine May Farm US GM Food
Editor of Economist Creates Scandal
USA and UK Preparing for Cyber War
Almost Unarmed Rebels Attack Tanks
Ukraine: Atrocities in Uglegorsk
Poroshenko Denounces Russia in EU
Russia to Produce "Wet Gas" at Sabetta Field
Sochi Olympics Anniversary
1945 Yalta Conference: Unknown Details
TV Personality Sergey Muratov Dies
Fire at Scientific Institute

Week 3

- Vostochny Spaceport Construction Embezzlement

Russia's Audit Chamber is investigating the activities of the Federal Center for Pricing in Construction, discovering that the Center overpriced the budgets for all construction facilities funded from the federal budget by 20 to 45 percent.

The head of the Federal Center for Pricing in Construction, Evgeny Ermolaev established bogus companies which elaborated budgets for state-funded construction projects. His wife headed some of these companies.

This cost the federal budget 13.2 billion rubles.

- Technopark in Kaliningrad to Make iPhones

Russia Channel reports that a techno park recently built in the town Gusev, near Kaliningrad, is able to manufacture the most complex equipment. For instance, in several hours, the production facilities can be adjusted to manufacturing components of mobile phones, or even manufacturing iPhones.

Other news

First Channel

Russia, Ukraine Agree on Peace
Clashes in Ukraine Before Truce
Russia: Minsk Agreement not Observed
US to Train Ukraine Military
British Reporters Investigate Maidan
EU Concerned: US Weapons to Ukraine
French Politician Interview
Russia, Egypt Cooperate on Security
Putin Meets with Veterans
Everywhere: Beauty Shop Expenses High
Irony of Fate Remake Filmed in India

Vesti Nedeli

Fragile Ukraine Truce
Donbass Longs for Peace
Ukrainian Troops Surounded
Ukraine Rada Bans Russian Reporters
USA: Russia Violates Minsk Agreement
Luhansk: No Trust for Kiev
Details of Minsk Agreement
More on Truce Agreement
US Pushing EU to War
Negotiation Process in Minsk
Russian Reporters Roughed Up
West Unsure of Who Putin is
France, Germany Establish EU Order
Terrorist Attack in Denmark
Russia, Egypt Get Closer
Radar Station in Komi Republic
Actor V. Zeldin is 100 Years Old
Reporter V. Zorin Turns 90

Week 4

- Pancake Week and Sunday of Forgiveness Celebrated in Russia

Russian Orthodox Christians are celebrating Sunday of Forgiveness, when people forget past insults and ask their relatives for forgiveness in order to approach Lent and Easter with clean heart.

Pancake Week is celebrated with fairs all over the country, riding troikas and arranging festivities such as the pancake festival held in Nizhny Novgoord. As some places in Moscow, such as VDNKH or Kolomenskoe park, festivities’ organizers dressed up in the outfits of 15th or 17th centuries.

In the end, a straw effigy symbolizing winter, was burned.

- USA Prepares for Cyber Wars

Russia Channel quotes chief scientific advisor of the Institute of USA and Canada Vladimr Vasiliev as saying that the USA started preparation for a large-scale cyber war as “the one who will dominate cyber space and really dominate the Earth.” http://vesti7.ru/archive/news?id=45963

As an example of cyber-attacks, the First Channel reports about 50-percent social network user activity growth over the events in Ukraine during work hours. Director of information security company Group-IB, Ilya Sachkov considers it “manipulating the minds of our people, so that they become more aggressive, work less and concentrate on politics more.” Sachkov considers distracting people from their work as even more efficient tool of cyber wars that viruses and cyber attacks.

According to First Channel, Russia started creating its own system of repulsing cyber attacks.

- S-400 Anti-aircraft Missiles are Protection from Americans

Russia Channel reports that for the first time in the post-Soviet era, two new plants for manufacturing surface-to-air missile systems are being built in Russia: in Kirov and Nizhny Novgorod. The new systems are to destroy enemy drones, satellites, and orbital aircraft in near-space.

The channel quotes the words of famous commander of WWII period Georgy Zhukov that “the country which is unable to repulse enemy’s air strike, is to suffer.”


Other news

First Channel

Terror Attack at Maidan Anniversary
New Exchange of Prisoners in Donbas
Truce "Mostly Observed" by Both Sides
Humanitarian Aid to Debaltsevo
Ukraine Closes Parts of Russian Border
Russian Singer Honored in Luhansk
Partisans in Bryansk during WWII
Voting for Oscars

Vesti Nedeli

Poroshenko: Ukraine Army not Surrounded
Ukraine Troops Surrounded for Third Time
Donetsk and Luhansk get Russian Gas
Hero of Ukraine?
Russian Singer: EU Upset at Own Impotency
Ukraine Wants World against Russia
Old EU Elite against Defaming Russia
Russian Youths at Maidan
Exchange of Prisoners in Luhansk
Changes to Ukrainian Flag Proposed
Jen Psaki as Symbol of US Diplomacy
German TV Steals, Alters Russian Report
Anniversary of Maidan
Ukraine: Russian Singer is “Terrorist”
Jews Advised to Hide in Europe
ISIS Openly Threatens Europe
Hungary-Russian Economic Cooperation
Italian Prime Minister to Visit Russia
Yandex Sues Google for Monopoly
Mary El to Provide Weapons, Meat
Putin: Russia Respond to Pressure
Moldova: Region Wants to Export to Russia


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