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Russian media in 2014 - Overhauls, mergers, expansion

0 22 April 2014

So far 2014 has been a turbulent year for Russian media. Here’s a quick overview of the main developments.

Galina Timchenko replaced by Alexey Goreslavsky at lenta.ru 

The wave of overhauls, mergers and closures started with the removal of Galina Timchenko from her position as editor of lenta.ru, which she had held since 2004. The decision was apparently taken by oligarch Alexander Mamut, whose Rambler-Afisha-SUP group acquired lenta.ru in 2013. It is widely believed that her dismissal (and replacement by former editor of pro-Kremlin publication vzglyad.ru Alexey Goreslavsky) was connected to her decision to publish an interview with Dmitry Yarosh, leader of Ukraine’s far-right movement. 

Rambler-Afisha-SUP becomes Rambler&Co, Alexander Mamut takes over as CEO

Mamut then announced last week that his group would be merged into a single brand - Rambler&Co, and that he would take personal control of the company as CEO. He explained that he wanted to take a more active role in Rambler&Co because the internet seems the most interesting and promising of all his business interests. 

Rambler&Co owns the Russian branch of popular blogging platform LiveJournal, lenta.ru, gazeta.ru, search engine rambler.ru and publisher and events calendar afisha.ru.  

Dozhd taken off air, but could be back soon

Timchenko was not the only one to suffer as a result of a controversial publication. Opposition TV channel Dozhd (Rain) was taken off air by all Russia’s main cable TV providers after it posted a survey on its website and social network groups asking whether Leningrad (now St Petersburg) should have been given up in order to save lives during World War II. 

The Association of Russian Cable TV Providers has said that its members are willing to resume transmission of Dozhd, but only if the company can produce a clear business model to offer to all providers. 

Major tech news sites to merge

In the tech world, two major news sites have announced that they are to merge. TJournal and Zuckerberg Calling (TsukerbergPozvonit) will be combined into a new brand - Komitet. Zuckerberg Calling will focus on news about internet businesses, startups and marketing, while TJournal will narrow its focus and develop new formats for spreading news via social networks, blogs, gadgets, etc. 

RBC Media opens a media-news department

With the Russian mass media sector becoming increasingly hard to keep track of, media holding RBC Group has decided to open a department devoted exclusively to media-related news. The department will be headed by former Kommersant journalist Sergey Solovev. If the first 4 months of 2014 are anything to go by, they’ll have plenty to write about. 

Top image via Shutterstock

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