|Federal State Unitary Enterprise|
|Successor||Rossiya Segodnya, Sputnik, ria.ru|
|Defunct||1 April 2014|
|Headquarters||Zubovsky Boulevard 4, Moscow, Russia|
|Owner||Rossiya Segodnya (previously wholly owned by federal government (as unitary enterprise))|
|Website||http://ria.ru/ (Russian version) http://sputniknews.com (English version)|
RIA Novosti (Russian: РИА Новости), sometimes shortly RIA (Russian: РИА) was Russia's international news agency until 2013 and continues to be the name of a state-operated domestic Russian-language news agency. Operating under the purview of the Russian Ministry of Communications and Mass Media, RIA Novosti is headquartered in Moscow and operated about 80 bureaus internationally. On 9 December 2013 President of Russia Vladimir Putin ordered RIA Novosti's liquidation and the creation of a Russian international news agency Rossiya Segodnya. Dmitry Kiselev, an anchorman of the Russia-1 channel was appointed to be the first president of the new information agency. RIA Novosti was scheduled to be closed down in 2014; starting in March 2014, staff were informed that they had the option of transferring their contracts to Rossiya Segodnya or accepting voluntary redundancy. On 10 November 2014, Rossiya Segodnya launched the Sputnik multimedia platform as the international replacement of RIA Novosti and Voice of Russia. Within Russia itself, however, Rossiya Segodnya continues to operate its Russian language news service under the name RIA Novosti with its ria.ru website.
The agency published news and analysis of social-political, economic, scientific and financial subjects on the Internet and via e-mail in the main European languages, as well as in Persian, Japanese and Arabic. It had a correspondent network in the Russian Federation, CIS and over 40 non-CIS countries. Its clients include the presidential administration, Russian government, Federation Council, State Duma, leading ministries and government departments, administrations of Russian regions, representatives of Russian and foreign business communities, diplomatic missions, and public organizations.
RIA Novosti was an award-winning news agency. The last editor-in-chief of RIA Novosti was Svetlana Mironyuk, the first woman appointed to the role in the agency's history. According to the organisation's Charter, enterprise's property was federally owned (because federal unitary enterprise) and was indivisible. According to the agency, it was partially government-subsidized (2.7–2.9 billion roubles in 2013), but maintained full editorial independence.
Its Russian name was Federal State Unitary Enterprise Russian Agency of International Information «RIA Novosti» (Russian: Федеральное государственное унитарное предприятие Российское агентство международной информации «РИА Новости», Federal'noye Gosudarstvennoye Unitarnoye Predpyatye Rossiyskoye Agentsvo Mezhdunarodnoy Informatsii), shortly FGUP RAMI «RIA Novosti» (Russian: ФГУП РАМИ «РИА Новости»). Its formal English name was Russian News & Information Agency "RIA Novosti". Early in 1990s it had the name state enterprise RIA «Novosti» (named after Soviet Press Agency «Novosti» and Information Agency «Novosti»). RIA means Russian Information Agency and Novosti means News in Russian. The common abbreviation in Russian is RIA.
RIA Novosti's history dates back to June 24, 1941, when by a resolution of the USSR Council of People’s Commissars and the Communist Party Central Committee, "On the Establishment and Tasks of the Soviet Information Bureau", the Soviet Information Bureau (Sovinformburo) was set up under the USSR Council of People's Commissars and the Central Committee. Its main task was to oversee work to cover international, military events and the events of the country's domestic life in periodicals and on the radio (from October 14, 1941, to March 3, 1942, was based in Kuibyshev – modern-day Samara).
The bureau's main task was to compile reports on the situation on the frontline of the war, work on the home front, and the partisan movement for the radio, newspapers and magazines. Sovinformburo directed the activity of the All-Slavonic Committee, Anti-Nazi Committee of Soviet Women, Anti-Nazi Committee of the Soviet Youth, Anti-Nazi Committee of Soviet Scientists, and the Jewish Anti-Nazi Committee. In 1944, a special bureau on propaganda for foreign countries was set up as part of Sovinformburo.
Through 1,171 newspapers, 523 magazines and 18 radio stations in 23 countries, Soviet embassies abroad, friendship societies, trade unions, women's, youth and scientific organizations, Sovinformburo informed readers and listeners about the struggle of the Soviet people against Nazism and in the post-war years about the main areas of Soviet domestic and foreign policies.
In 1961, the Novosti Press Agency (APN) succeeded Sovinformburo. It became the leading information and press body of Soviet public organizations. The constituent conference was held on February 21, 1961. The conference of representatives of Soviet public organizations adopted a decision to create a press agency of public organizations named Novosti. The agency's guiding body was the Council of the Agency’s Founders.
The APN founders were the USSR Journalists Union, USSR Writers Union, Union of Soviet Societies of Friendship and Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries, and the Znaniye Society. On April 3, 1961, the Agency charter was adopted. Under its charter, APN's aim was "to contribute to mutual understanding, trust and friendship among peoples in every possible way by broadly publishing accurate information about the USSR abroad and familiarizing the Soviet public with the life of the peoples of foreign countries." APN's motto was "Information for Peace, for the Friendship of Nations". APN had bureaus in over 120 countries. The Agency published 60 illustrated newspapers and magazines in 45 languages with a one-time circulation of 4.3 million copies. With the Union of Soviet Friendship Societies, APN published the newspaper, Moscow News, which in September 1990 became an independent publication. APN Publishing House put out over 200 books and booklets with a total annual circulation of 20 million copies. In 1989, a TV center opened in APN. Later, it was transformed into the TV-Novosti TV company.
By a decree of USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev, "On the Establishment of the Information Agency Novosti," the Information Agency Novosti (IAN) succeeded APN on July 27, 1990. "To provide information support for the USSR's state domestic and foreign policies and proceeding from the interests of the democratization of the mass media," the Novosti Press Agency was renamed the Information Agency Novosti (IAN). IAN's tasks remained the same – preparing and publishing printed, TV and radio materials in the USSR and abroad; studying public opinion on Soviet foreign and domestic policies in the USSR and abroad." A computer databank was created in the Agency. Initially, it contained over 250,000 documents. In 1991, the Infonews hotline started operating in the Agency. IAN had bureaus in 120 countries. It published 13 illustrated magazines and newspapers. The chairman of the IAN Board was Albert Ivanovich Vlasov.
The Russian Information Agency Novosti was created in September 1991 on the basis of IAN and the Russian Information Agency. By a Presidential decree of the Russian president dated August 22, 1991, RIA Novosti was placed within the competence of the Press and Information Ministry. RIA Novosti had about 80 bureaus and news offices abroad, over 1,500 subscribers in CIS countries and about a hundred in non-CIS countries. A Presidential decree of the Russian president of September 15, 1993 "On the Russian Information Agency Novosti", transformed RIA Novosti to a state news-analytical agency. RIA Novosti's radio channel – RIA-Radio worked in 1996. In August 1997, the TV channel Kultura was set up on the basis of the RIA TV channel under the sponsorship of the VGTRK TV and radio broadcasting company. By a decree of the Russian president, "On Improving the Work of the State Electronic Media," the VGTRK information holding was created in May 1998, which RIA Novosti joined.
In May 1998, the agency was renamed the Russian Information Agency Vesti. As a mass media body, it retained the name of RIA Novosti. In 2005, RIA Novosti launched RT (originally Russia Today) a global multilingual television news network, which is a government-funded but autonomous, non-profit organization. RIA Novosti asserts that it "merely participated in establishing the channel" which retained "complete legal, editorial and operational independence."
On 9 December 2013 Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the liquidation of RIA Novosti and merging it with the international radio service Voice of Russia to create Rossiya Segodnya. Dmitry Konstantinovich Kiselev, a former anchorman of the Channel One Russia is appointed as the president of the new information agency. According to her interview, the editor-in-chief of the TV network RT, Margarita Simonyan was completely unaware about the reorganization of the information agency and got the information from listening to competitor radio station Kommersant-FM. However, Rossiya Segodnya will not in any way be related to the television channel RT, which was known as Russia Today before its rebranding in 2009.
- Country profile: Russia – Media, BBC News, last updated 6 March 2012.
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