Konstantin Ernst

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Konstantin Ernst
Konstantin Ernst 2016.jpg
Konstantin Ernst, 2016
Born (1961-02-06) February 6, 1961 (age 57)
Moscow, Russia
Occupation CEO of Channel One Russia; producer; TV host
Spouse(s) Anna Silyunas[1]
Larisa Sinelshchikova (1998-2010)
Sofia Zaika (since 2014)
Children Alexandra (1994)
Awards Orden for Service II.png Orden for Service III.png Orden for Service IV.png

Konstantin Lvovich Ernst[2] (Russian: Константин Львович Эрнст) (born February 6, 1961 in Moscow) is a Soviet and Russian media manager, producer and TV host. CEO of Channel One Russia.[3][4]


Early years and education[edit]

His father Lev Konstantinovich Ernst, of German descent, was a Soviet biologist and Vice-President of the Russian Academy of Agricultural Sciences. He carried out research on genetics, biotechnology, selection of agricultural animals and cloning.[5]

Konstantin Ernst’s mother is Svetlana Nilovna Golevinova,[6] a financial officer.

Ernst spent his childhood and youth in Leningrad, where his father had been appointed Head of a new research center. Konstantin graduated from High School No. 35 located on the Vassilyevsky Island and in 1983 got a degree from the Biology and Soil Department of the Leningrad State University.

As a child, Konstantin was fascinated by painting, in particular, the work of the Soviet avant-garde painter Alexander Labas.[7]

Vzglyad (1988-1989)[edit]

In an interview with Afisha, as part of the project entitled ‘History of the Russian Media between 1989 and 2011’, Ernst said that he had met Alexander Lyubimov at an informal meeting and that the latter suggested him to try his hand in Vremya, a TV program run by the chief editorial office for children and adolescents of the Central Television of the USSR. Ernst worked in Vzglyad (English: "Outlook") for two years as an interviewer, scriptwriter and director.

His colleague Evgeny Dodolev says in his book, Vzglyad, The Beatles of the Perestroika, that Ernst was able to try himself as a director after he had arranged that Videofilm would provide him with equipment rooms and state-of-the-art (for their time) Betacam SP video cameras for his business trips (at the time, only Vremya personnel had access to this equipment at the Ostankino Technical Center). This persuaded the Vzglyad management to give a chance to the young employee and he did not let them down.[8]

Matador (1990-1998)[edit]

In 1989 Anatoly Lysenko, Deputy Editor-in-Chief of the youth editorial office at the Central Television and head of Vzglyad, suggested that Ernst start working on his own show. Matador, a TV show on culture, significant events and creative people, premiered in January 1990.

Ernst served as a scriptwriter, presenter, director and producer, experimented with ways of presenting information and would sometimes reincarnate into the protagonists of his show.[9]

Executive producer of ORT (1995-2001)[edit]

On January 25, 1995 Vladislav Listyev was appointed CEO of ORT. A little over a month later, on the evening of March 1, Listyev was assassinated at the entrance of his apartment building.

The candidacy of a new CEO generated a lot of controversy among shareholders, because, under the Charter, all minority shareholders had to reach a consensus (private individuals and the State owned 49% and 51% of the television channel respectively).

Boris Berezovsky, one of the main minority shareholders, offered this post to Ernst, whom Valentin Yumashev had introduced to him, but Ernst refused. Several months later, however, he changed his mind and accepted the post of executive producer.

On September 3, 1999, following the resignation of Igor Shabdurasulov, who had been at the helm of ORT since October 1998, Ernst became the TV channel’s interim CEO, while maintaining his post of executive producer.

As recommended by Shabdurasulov and with the support of the President of the Russian Federation Boris Yeltsin and Boris Berezovsky, the meeting of the ORT shareholders appointed Ernst new CEO of ORT on October 6, 1999. He continued to combine the roles of CEO and executive producer until July 2001, when Alexander Faifman became the new executive producer of ORT.[10]

CEO of ORT and Channel One Russia (1999)[edit]

At the time of Ernst’s appointment as CEO in Fall 1999, Berezovsky had de facto control of the channel’s information policy through the Directorate of Information Programs, headed by his friend Tatyana Koshkaryova since Summer 1999.

After deep divisions emerged between Berezovsky and Vladimir Putin, the new President of the Russian Federation, Berezovsky sold his stock of shares to Roman Abramovich.

In his testimony given by the former head of the President’s Office Alexander Voloshin at Her Majesty’s High Court of Justice in England in the discussion of the lawsuit that Berezovsky had filed against Abramovich in 2011, Voloshin said that the CEO of ORT needed to get rid of Berezovsky’s informal influence, hence pressure exerted on Berezovsky in 2000. According to Voloshin, after this Ernst set things straight.[11]

ORT changes its name[edit]

Spearheaded by Ernst on July 29, 2002, ORT shareholders voted, at their annual meeting, for the restoration of the TV channel’s historical name, Channel One. Ernst explained this name change by a discrepancy between the channel’s legal status and the notion of public television. Channel One Russia retained its right to the ORT trademark. Ernst was considering the possibility of using it as a venue for testing new projects and participating in competitions for broadcasting in decametric waves.

Attempt at shifting to vertical integration[edit]

In 2010, Ernst attempted to implement vertical integration into Russian television, a widespread approach in the United States and some European countries, which means new episodes of serials are aired once a week at a specific time. Vertical integration is, for a number of reasons, cost-effective for TV channels and series producers.

When announcing his experiment with vertical integration, Ernst said in an interview to TimeOut that in doing so the channel was trying to meet the needs of TV viewers and to be of interest to those who do not usually watch TV.

New series had relatively poor ratings for Channel One Russia (approximately 13%), but all the episodes that had been filmed by that time were, however, aired, after which the channel resumed horizontal integration.[12]

Conflict with the Russian singer Zemfira[edit]

Konstantin Ernst with Vladimir Putin

A remix of Khochesh' (Do you Want?), a song of the Russian singer Zemfira, was performed during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics at the Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi, Russia, on February 7, 2014.

Right after the end of the ceremony, all the content disappeared from the singer’s official website, replaced with a black page featuring the following text: “channel one ignored every possible agreement and used my track without my consent. this is in direct violation of my intellectual property rights. it’s outrageous) a great opening ceremony! Kostya, congratulations! but why this lack of respect? you do whatever you want? (the original spelling has been retained).

In response, Konstantin Ernst declared in the broadcast of Echo of Moscow on February 9, 2014 that he “had known Zemfira since the very beginning, when nobody knew her” and that he “had done very much for Zemfira and her career”. He added that “Zemfira had breached her contract with REAL Records, a company that I was heading at that time, but I decided not to sue her”. Under the circumstances, however, he would have to do that if she was going to sue him.

Ernst did not provide any details on the supposed breach of contract between Zemfira and REAL Records, stating only that this had happened some five or seven years before that.

Following this, Zemfira’s official representative Pavlo Shevchyuk said in an interview to Business FM that she would not sue Ernst for using her song Khochesh' (Do you Want?) without her consent. He also added that the message on the singer’s official website, which had disappeared on the morning of February 10, 2014 was a means to express her discontent over the issue.[13]

Ernst’s 55th anniversary[edit]

On February 10, 2016 Slava Taroshchina, columnist for Novaya Gazeta, highlighted in her article on Konstantin Ernst’s 55th anniversary that “this time Vladimir Putin had not gone to Ostankino in person as it had happened five years earlier” and that “Katya Andreeva did not read in a blank voice the president’s congratulations message for the lack thereof”. The article ended with the comment that “at 50, Ernst had a dozen of first-class personal projects, with its top-hit Prozhektorperiskhilton, whereas at 55, all Ernst had to offer is Urgant, balancing on the edge of the limit”.[14]

Assessment of user content development prospects[edit]

On December 22, 2016 Konstantin Ernst said in an exclusive interview to Gazeta.Ru that “user generated content on the Internet refers mainly to gags and news, and only those who are able to aggregate their creative and financial resources to create a product can deal with all the system-based things. It’s almost impossible to achieve that on one’s own. Yes, you can shoot a film with you iPhone, but it’ll still have nothing in common with mass production”.[15]

Changes in the air policy[edit]

On January 13, 2017 Konstantin Ernst announced live in ‘OK na svyazi!’, a Russian online show, that Channel One Russia would not air Andrey Kravchcyuk’s Viking in 2017, adding that this film was meant to be shown in movie theatres and that it would be most inappropriate to show it on a TV screen. At the same time, Viking was the first Russian movie that grossed 1.25 billion rubles, making it the third highest-grossing film in Russian history and the tenth highest-grossing film worldwide.

On September 4, 2017 Ernst said that Channel One Russia had no plans to put matches of the Russian Football Championship on its broadcast schedule, because “television is designed differently” and “it makes no sense to air some individual matches”.[16]

Private life[edit]

Konstantin Ernst was never officially married.

His first common-law partner was Anna Silunas, a theatre critic and daughter of Vidas Silunas, a professor and Chair of the Foreign Theatre Department of the Moscow Art Theater School.[17]

On October 4, 1997 at a concert given by the Polish composer and conductor Krzysztof Penderecki and dedicated to the premiere of his new musical composition. It was written at the personal request of the President and CEO of the Moscow Independent Broadcasting Company, Alexander Ponomarev, as part of celebrations commemorating Moscow’s 850th anniversary.

After the concert Ernst met Larisa Sinelshchikova,[18] Vice President of TV-6, one of the first commercial television stations in Russia.

In 1998, this acquaintance grew into a love relationship but was never to become an official marriage. It lasted until spring 2010, when Sinelshchikova put an end to it and moved from her upscale apartment on Povarskaya Street,[19] where the couple had resided until then, to her own mansion in prestigious area of Moscow Oblast (a federal subject of Russia). Contrary to allegations in some American and British media, Konstantin Ernst and Larisa Sinelshchikova were never had common household and common business, assets or property.

On July 21, 2014 the Russian version of Tatler announced that “Konstantin Ernst had definitely put his young girlfriend on the list of his social events”, adding that “Sofya Zaika, former employee of the Ulyana Sergeenko fashion house, readily changed funny parties at Simach and audacious photo sessions for cultural receptions and timid remarks that are hardly audible from behind the TV titan’s shoulder”.[20]

Russian television circles learned about a relationship between 25-year-old Zaika and 52-year-old Ernst as early as the middle of 2013.[21]

In the past, Sofya Zaika had also dated Fyodor Boomer, better known as Kto DJ, and the photographer Timofey Kolesnikov. Sofya is also a close friend and protégé of Russian director and screenwriter Renata Litvinova who calls Sofya her ‘favorite actress’.[22][23][24]

A number of Russian media sources announced on July 22, 2017 that Konstantin Ernst married Sofya Zaika, but there is no official confirmation of this marriage.[25][26][27]


Konstantin Ernst has three daughters. The elder daughter Alexandra, born in 1994 from his relationship with Anna Silunas (now lives in NYC, USA). His two younger daughters with Sofya Zaika (born in 2016 and 2017), whose names are kept in secret.[28]

Some Russian media erroneously say Ernst the father of Larisa Sinelshchikova’s children, Anastasia (born in 1983) and Igor (born in 1985).[29]


Konstantin Ernst with Nikita Mikhalkov and Yuri Bashmet
  • A number of Russian media sources state that Konstantin Ernst “treats the channel as if it were his patrimony” and that, at the same time, “Ernst never talks about money straightforwardly, but when someone comes to see him about a project, it gets clear that he will have to share the ‘cake’”, and that “when considering the launch of this or that TV project, his first question is how it will profit him”.[30]
  • In September 2017, Vladimir Solovyov, a TV host on Rossiya 1, said in an interview that Ivan Urgant’s bold joke about ‘nightingale brood’ being a good name for a show on Rossiya, which he had made in his show on Channel One Russia, was not a spontaneous but planned act approved by Konstantin Ernst. “This dig on me took place on television! However, I didn’t retaliate against Moscow, but Vania ran wild in his earnest. Someone must be having hard time getting over the transfer of some presenters from Channel One Russia to Rossiya. Urgant is just a tool”, Solovyov explained his point of view, adding that “things are not usually done this way on TV” and that “this is a declaration of war”.[31]
  • In September 2017, Mikhail Goryachev, content manager of Russia’s leading digital television operator Tricolor TV, said that content distribution still refers to the situation when Konstantin Ernst “stuffs subscribers with what he deems necessary” via TV channels and suggested that such content content distribution will not be done through intermediaries but directly.[32]

Interesting facts[edit]

  • When Alexander Lyubimov suggested that Ernst appoint Sergey Bodrov as second presenter of Vzglyad, Ernst described Bodrov as “a weird chawbacon”, specifying that he would appoint Bodrov only at Lyubimov’s own responsibility.[33]
  • According to Alexey Venediktov, editor-in-chief of Echo of Moscow, a Russian broadcasting station, Konstantin Ernst is a professional comic book collector and his rival. Ernst takes it hard when he learns that Venediktov gets ahead of him in acquiring latest comic books: “Say, I get some new edition and then call Ernst to tease him. Ernst asks me: “When was it released?” I say: “The release is tomorrow, but I’ve already got it”. He gets mad at me and later does the same to me. In short, we call it quits”.[34]
  • Konstantin Ernst said in one of his interviews that he considers history as one of literary genres.[35]
  • When discussing the TV series Trotsky which he produced, Ernst mentioned that he believes that the 20th-century revolutionary Leon Trotsky is “the international star of the last hundred years”, “a real pop hero” and “basically the producer” of the coup d’etat in Russia in October, 1917.[36]


Feature films[edit]

Year Film Credited as Role
Director Producer Writer Actor
2000 Peculiarities of the National Hunt in Winter Season No Yes No No
2013 Ku! Kin-dza-dza No Yes No No
2011 Vysotsky. Thank You For Being Alive No Yes No No
2008 Admiral No Yes No No
2007 Leningrad No Yes No No
2007 The Irony of Fate 2 No Yes No No
2006 Day Watch No Yes No No
2005 The Turkish Gambit No Yes No No
2004 Night Watch No Yes No No
2004 72 meters No Yes No No
2002 Azazel No Yes No No

Television series[edit]

Year Film Credited as Role
Director Producer Writer Actor
2018 Trotsky No Yes No No
2015 The Method No Yes No No
2007 Trace No Yes No No
2005 Yesenin No Yes No No
2000 Deadly Force No Yes No No
2000 Empire under Attack No Yes No No


Dmitry Medvedev awarded the Order "For merits before Fatherland» III degree to Konstantin Ernst. February 21, 2011.
  • Order "For Merit to the Fatherland"
    • II class
    • III class - for outstanding contribution to the development of national television and many years of fruitful activity.
    • IV class - for outstanding contribution to the development of domestic broadcasting and many years of fruitful activity.
  • Diploma of the President of the Russian Federation - for active participation in the preparation and holding of the Eurovision 2009 song contest in Moscow.
  • Order of Friendship (South Ossetia) - for objective coverage of events in the period of armed aggression in South Ossetia in August 2008
  • Laureate of the "TEFI" award in the nomination "The best production work" ("Old Songs About the Main Thing-3").
  • Laureate of the State Prize of the Russian Federation[37][38]


  1. ^ "Александра Эрнст — про отца Константина и жизнь в Нью-Йорке". Tatler. 2015-12-03. Retrieved 2017-10-23. 
  2. ^ Константин Эрнст: человек с серьезной фамилией, Constantine Ernst: Man with serious family, February 6, 2012, 1TV.Ru
  3. ^ Biographical details in Lenta.ru
  4. ^ Walker, Shaun; Gibson, Owen (7 February 2014). "Putin declares Sochi Winter Olympics open at captivating ceremony". theguardian.com. Retrieved 8 February 2014. 
  5. ^ ЭРНСТ Лев Константинович, Who is Constantine Ernst's father, April 2012 cnshb.ru
  6. ^ Медведев выразил соболезнования родным и близким биолога Льва Эрнста - RIA Novosti
  7. ^ "В Москве простились с выдающимся биологом Львом Эрнстом". Вести.ру. Retrieved 2017-10-23. 
  8. ^ Andrei Vasyanin (2009-10-22). "I do not turn anyone into my faith". Russian newspaper. Retrieved 2017-10-25. 
  9. ^ "The last release of the "Matador" program in the collection of the First Channel". Retrieved 2017-10-25. 
  10. ^ "Biography of Konstantin Ernst on the website of the newspaper "Arguments and Facts"". Arguments and Facts. 2013-07-28. Retrieved 2017-10-25. 
  11. ^ Pavel Bandakov (2011-11-14). "On trial, the oligarchs remembered the tragedy of "Kursk"". BBC. Retrieved 2017-10-25. 
  12. ^ "Vertical for television". Lenta.ru. 2010-09-25. Retrieved 2017-10-25. 
  13. ^ "Konstantin Ernst threatened Zemfira with a counterclaim". BBC. 2014-02-10. Retrieved 2017-10-25. 
  14. ^ Slava Taroshchyna (2016-02-10). "С чем пришел Константин Эрнст к своему 55-летию" [With what Konstantin Ernst came to his 55th birthday]. Novaya Gazeta. Retrieved 2017-10-25. 
  15. ^ Yaroslav Zabaluev (2016-12-22). ""For a thousand years, people have not changed, they just started to die less young"". Gazeta.ru. Retrieved 2017-10-25. 
  16. ^ Sports.ru, ed. (2017-09-04). "Константин Эрнст: «Первый канал не планирует бороться за показ чемпионата России" [Konstantin Ernst: "The first channel does not plan to fight for the Russian championship"]. Retrieved 2017-10-25. 
  17. ^ Constantine Ernst in Gloria Mundi.ru
  18. ^ Дни рождения - Kommersant
  19. ^ Дом, который построил "Ингеоком" - compromat.ru
  20. ^ "Выступили дуэтом: новые светские пары". Tatler. 2014-07-21. Retrieved 2017-10-26. 
  21. ^ 54-летний Константин Эрнст станет отцом - Otkryto.lv
  22. ^ "Софья Заика сыграет у Ренаты Литвиновой". Eg.ru. 2017-04-23. Retrieved 2017-10-27. 
  23. ^ "Renata Litvinova will put on a play to the music of Zemfira and with costumes by Gosha Rubchinskiy". Frivolette Magazine. Retrieved 2017-10-27. 
  24. ^ "Рената Литвинова, Авдотья Смирнова и другие гости премьеры фильма "Петербург. Только по любви"". Spletnik. Retrieved 2017-10-27. 
  25. ^ "Константин Эрнст и Софья Заика поженились". InStyle. 2016-07-21. Retrieved 2017-10-26. 
  26. ^ "The General Director of channel one Konstantin Ernst, the married model". News2Night. Retrieved 2017-10-27. 
  27. ^ "Ernst married a Stutterer". world.24-my.info. Retrieved 2017-10-27. 
  28. ^ Константин Эрнст и Софья Заика: свадьба и двое детей - Star Town
  29. ^ ""А на фото он с дочкой?". Константин Эрнст женился на 29-летней модели, родившей ему двух детей. ФОТО". Ura News. 2017-07-22. Retrieved 2017-10-26. 
  30. ^ "Эрнст скомандовал фас?". УтроNews. 2017-09-04. Retrieved 2017-10-26. 
  31. ^ ""Канальные войны": Соловьев наносит ответный удар". Gazeta.ru. 2017-09-13. Retrieved 2017-10-26. 
  32. ^ "Кино Экспо 2017". Бюллютень кинопрокатчика. 2017-09-22. Retrieved 2017-10-26. 
  33. ^ "К годовщине трагедии: родные и друзья о Сергее Бодрове Далее". Рамблер Развлечения. 2017-09-27. Retrieved 2017-10-27. 
  34. ^ "Обогнавший "Время" со скоростью эха". Новые известия. 2004-06-25. Retrieved 2017-10-27. 
  35. ^ ""За тысячу лет люди не изменились. Просто стали реже умирать молодыми"". Gazeta.ru. 2016-12-26. Retrieved 2017-10-27. 
  36. ^ "Продюсер переворота". Российская газета. 2017-10-05. Retrieved 2017-10-27. 
  38. ^ Указ Президента РФ от 27 ноября 2006 г. N 1316 "О награждении государственными наградами Российской Федерации", kremlin.ru

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Igor Shabdurasulov
Director General of Channel One in Russia
Since 1999
Succeeded by