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Putin orders overhaul of top state news agency

Published time: December 09, 2013 20:38
Edited time: December 09, 2013 21:25
RIA Novosti agency building on Zubovsky boulevard (RIA Novosti / Ramil Sitdikov)

RIA Novosti agency building on Zubovsky boulevard (RIA Novosti / Ramil Sitdikov)

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has dissolved the largest state-owned news agency RIA Novosti and ordered an international information agency called Rossiya Segodnya (which translates as ‘Russia Today’) to be set up in its place.

The main purpose of the new body will be to “to provide information on Russian state policy and Russian life and society for audiences abroad,” according to a decree On Measures to Raise Efficiency in the Work of State Mass Media Outlets, that Putin signed on Monday.

The new agency will be headed by Dmitry Kiselyov, a presenter known for his controversial views put forward in a weekly analytical news program broadcast on one of the main Russian TV channels Rossiya 1.

The direct translation of Rossiya Segodnya is Russia Today. However, the newly created agency will not be in any way related to RT television channel, which was known as Russia Today before its rebranding in 2009.

RIA Novosti was established in June 1941, just two days after Nazi Germany attacked the Soviet Union. Initially it was called the Soviet Information Bureau, which was succeeded by the Novosti Press Agency (APN) in 1961. Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev established RIA Novosti in 1990 as a successor of the APN. The agency has reporters in over 45 countries and provides news in 14 languages.