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This is what losing your newsroom looks like in Russia The reporters at ‘RBC’ meet their new bosses (Full transcript)

Source: Meduza
Photo: Stoyan Vasev / TASS

In early July, the news agency RBC hired Elizaveta Golikova and Igor Trosnikov to head its joint editorial staff. Before coming to RBC, these two journalists worked at the state-owned newswire service TASS. They are replacing Elizaveta Osetinskaya and Roman Badanin, who were forced out in mid-May, formally by mutual agreement, though multiple sources say it was the result of the Kremlin's dissatisfaction with RBC's independent reporting. Several of the news agency's reporters resigned with Osetinskaya and Badanin, and others decided to wait for the new management, to see if it would be possible to work with them. On the evening of July 7, the staff attended a meeting with its new chief editors. Meduza has received an audio recording of this meeting, and published a transcript (with minor abridgements) on July 8. The next day, RBC General Director Nikolai Molibog invited whoever leaked the audio recording to resign, writing on Facebook, “those of our colleagues at RBC who did this, or who consider this act to have been acceptable, can fuck off to hell.” Meduza is now making the transcript available in English.

Igor Trosnikov: Colleagues, I'll make this quick, and then you can ask questions. Just introduce yourself, please [before asking]. [I'll begin] answering, even anticipating your [first] question. RBC and everything that I've done in my life is professionalism. Nothing more, nothing less. Everything that you've done in the past two-to-three years—and I said this with all sincerity long before I ever thought I'd come here, and I'll repeat it now—is excellent, professional work, and we would like to keep everything possible and everything that's great. We're absolutely not planning to break anything.

You probably want to hear about our editorial policy. We're not going to change the editorial policy in any fundamental ways, and generally speaking we're not taking any big actions at all. Because we believe that much of what you've done for the past three years—practically all of it—is very high quality work. It's professional and it's excellent.

I think the main achievement in these three years isn't any individual report, but that you've taken a brand that until then wasn't hardly recognized, and made it something that's highly respected on the market, and in high demand.

About our personal background. You know that I worked for 16 years at [the newspaper] Kommersant. I've spent my whole professional life as a journalist. I led a business news desk, when I left [Kommersant]. For the past three years, I worked at TASS. For the first half of this time, we created an economic news service almost from nothing, and then we built a news service. It's a story of absolute professionalism. Working for a newswire service is interesting stuff. Anybody who's tried it knows. In many ways, it's the quintessence of news journalism. And that's why we're coming to you not as your new bosses, but as your colleagues. Respecting you professionally, we're counting on your mutual respect.

So I have, in fact, two requests—or I guess they're suggestions, or let's call them wishes or questions: first, I would like that everything we discuss here (and I understand that I'm not answering part of the questions—especially the specific questions—because you haven't asked yet) doesn't go beyond this room and doesn't end up on social media. And my second wish-question is this: if you value what you've done over the past three years, then stay and let's [continue] doing it together. That's all I wanted to say.

RBC journalist: My name is ***, and I represent the financial news desk at the moment. My question is that our chief editors were fired, as you know, and they were fired, we've been hearing, because something didn't come together correctly with [RBC's] editorial policy. So obviously our editorial policy won't remain exactly as it was, as you've just told us, because clearly something about it before didn't work out.

Igor Trosnikov: Quite right.

RBC journalist: If you fire people for something that wasn't working out, then you probably don't want anymore of those things, when you hire new people. 

Elizaveta Golikova: Look, do you drive a car? Do you?

RBC journalist: Yes.

Elizaveta Golikova: Have you got a license?

RBC journalist: I've got a license.

Elizaveta Golikova: Do you ever break the traffic laws? Ever gotten a ticket? Do you pay up?

RBC journalist: Yes, of course.

Elizaveta Golikova: Well, if you drive over the solid double line, they take away your license. Does this [risk] mean you'll stop driving your car, or that you'll start traveling by plane, or maybe in something else?

RBC journalist: Where's the solid double line?

Igor Trosnikov: Unfortunately, nobody knows where the solid double line is.

Elizaveta Golikova: And this is the road. The information space, as you all know too well, is a very sensitive place. And we all find ourselves at a catastrophically difficult moment—not just for RBC, but for the entire mass media. This difficult moment, I don't know—the traffic is at a standstill, the drivers are growing anxious, and there's a catastrophic stress overtaking the people outside and inside the cars. Our job is to show our professionalism in such a way that the traffic is safe for the people inside and for the pedestrians [inaudible].

Igor Trosnikov: We all grew up in the same paradigm. I think many of you learned from [the newspaper] Kommersant when I had arrived there and was working. We're all from the same school [of journalism]—believe me. We share the same relationship with our audience, and respect the same responsibilities before our readers—really, the same. 

RBC journalist: But the question was actually about something else.

Igor Trosnikov: And I answered you: no one knows where the double line is.

RBC journalist: No, it's always moving...

Igor Trosnikov: Yes, and in the current environment it moves, unfortunately [inaudible]. And what about standards? The basic standards of journalism [at RBC] absolutely won't change. [inaudible] 

RBC journalist: And, in your opinion, what was the previous management's mistake?

Igor Trosnikov: Let's just agree that we won't comment on the previous management. I strongly respect Liza Osetinskaya, and I respected her even before she got to RBC. For the whole time when I worked at Kommersant. [The newspaper] Vedomosti was for us our least favorite, but also the fiercest competitor, against which we measured ourselves. [Osetinskaya worked at Vedomosti from 1999 until 2011.] And about the management's mistakes... Listen, do you want to find out about the future, or the past?

RBC journalist: But in order to understand the future, we've got to know what mistakes exactly you're not going to make, right? My name is ***, and I'm a senior news editor. What we're saying is that you're here and probably going to make certain changes? It's unlikely that you came here without any plan whatsoever for the editorial desk. 

Can you share with us some clear plans, rather than tell us that the “road divider” is always moving? In the end, you as chief editors are going to institute your own boundaries. 

We get it that it's a complicated socio-political situation in Russia, and clearly this situation isn't up to you, but as our chief editors you will be, in a sense, steering us through all this. We'd like to know how you plan to do this, and what direction you plan to take us, if you're able tell us any details about the direction. Because it's nice, of course, that everything is great. But if everything were so great, then Liza, Maxim [Solyus, the former chief editor of the RBC newspaper], and Roma would probably never have left and they'd still be here.

Igor Trosnikov: Look, I'm not the one who fired Liza and Maxim, yes? In any event, you're not going to hear any specifics today because, for starters, there simply aren't any. We came to an agreement—you read the press release yourselves. We're coming here, hoping that—not hoping, but understanding that we'll get to work here, and then let's see what the structure can be, and how they can continue to develop the project. I've already laid out the basics. The project here is good, and there won't be any fundamental changes. It's going to develop further. Any project should evolve. [But] now I'm speaking banalities, you'll excuse me. But it's pointless to ask about specifics right now.

RBC journalist: But you've got to have some idea here...

Igor Trosnikov: Ask us a direct question.

Elizaveta Golikova: And we'll answer it...


Nikolai Molibog: We've talked a few times, back with Osetinskaya, about how RBC reports on all kinds of news, but please let's avoid the stories about pubic hair, like they run over at [likely a reference to this article]. And when we're reporting deeper content (not just news content), the work should be considered through the prism of money: government money, the corruption element, corporate money, private money—meaning that the most basic checklist for RBC isn't the news content, but the money.

RBC journalist: I'll ask a specific question. ***—I'm a deputy editor at the political news desk. I'm not too sure how familiar you are with our work methods, but currently we've got only one reason not to run a story: the absence of proof [inaudible] of a story. What I understand from what you've said about the double line is that some other factor might emerge that influences how we select our texts. 

Elizaveta Golikova: So you think there shouldn't be rules of the road? Look, once again: the attributes of good reporting that you've just summarized will always be the basic features of good reporting. And if all these attributes are present in a report, it means the story should be published. We should understand and accept this, all calm down, and keep going.

The double line here—it's this remark that twists your approach [to this issue]. I'll say it again: there are rules of the road. We're all adults here, and we understand perfectly well that they were invented by someone not because someone wanted it get a bunch of bribes—isn't that true? They were invented so traffic would be safe, and so people speeding at 180 kilometers [111 miles] per hour understood that they risked their own lives doing this.

RBC journalist: I don't understand what you mean.

Elizaveta Golikova: Guys, let's stick to specific questions, and you'll get specific answers. That way we won't start talking about the double line again, and we can list the specific qualities of good stories.


RBC journalist: Alright, I'll be the idiot here. We've read in the media that the reports that caused us all these problems were, for example, the reports about [Kirill] Shamalov [allegedly the husband of Vladimir Putin's daughter, Katerina] and about Putin's daughter. Do you think these reports crossed the double line? Because for us, as far as I understand it, they didn't cross the double line. These were good, professional reports. According to your understanding, did they cross it or didn't they? 

Igor Trosnikov: I'll be honest with you: I'm not going to answer a question like that. You want too much.

RBC journalist: But this is a specific example. You asked for specific questions, and that's what I've asked. 

RBC journalist: Can we submit [news story ideas] for review?

Elizaveta Golikova: Come to us next Thursday, and we'll take care of everything. Regarding your specific question about the specific report, let's discuss future stories.

RBC journalist: Well, we've got future reports in the works on the same thing: Putin's daughter.

Igor Trosnikov: Send them to us, and we'll read them.

RBC journalist: Yeah, but is this a story we can report?


Nikolai Molibog: Can I ask a question about Putin's daughter: what's the story about exactly?

RBC journalist: Well, if somebody's involved in what I'd call some of the biggest construction work, then there's probably money there, no? [A previous RBC report showed that Katerina Tikhonova heads a project to develop a technology center at Moscow State University.] There wasn't a single word about Putin in that story, which was actually all about money.

Nikolai Molibog: What was the money factor in a report yesterday about Putin's absence? [Likely a reference to Putin canceling a week of planned trips across Russia on July 6.] Give me an answer. [Addressing the last journalist to speak.]

RBC journalist: That wasn't an investigative report—it was just news. 

Nikolai Molibog: That's news?

RBC journalist: If somebody can't be online [able to work] because their health, then of course we're concerned about them.

Nikolai Molibog: To be honest, the last paragraph about the online prayer [in the article in question, the final paragraph describes an Internet campaign to coordinate prayers for President Putin and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill] had nothing to do with the story. This was somehow connected to Putin's absence for the week? Well, whatever.

Igor Trosnikov
Photo: TASS

Igor Trosnikov: Believe us that we've been in your place many times. The shareholders at Kommersant changed, we got [the late oligarch Boris] Berezovsky, and [oligarch Alisher] Usmanov fired [Kommersant's former political magazine chief editor Maxim] Kovalsky. To even things out, you might as well be asking us [petty questions like] how many of the computers aren't working.

Let's move on. We all know the whole scenario. We're definitely not going to answer questions [about it], and so you don't even need to torture us with it. Let's be serious. I'm telling you this absolutely seriously. We're absolutely not going to change anything so fundamental that it would make you ashamed to work here. We're all going to work within the same paradigm. I'll repeat once again: we have enough authority [to lead RBC]. We've built sustainable projects, including a startup, and we'll develop this project with or without you.

We'd like to do this with you, because what's been done is your achievement. I don't understand why there need to be 20 resignations and everyone leaves all at once. I think this is the wrong attitude. It's wrong considering what you've accomplished; it's wrong for the company; and it's wrong for the shareholders. But if it's bad, then it's bad. After Kommersant-Ukraine [which closed down in March 2014, following a scandal involving Russia's annexation of Crimea], I'm not afraid of anything, frankly. Not a thing. It's hard to put together a news team [in Ukraine], but in Moscow, it's just, well you know...

So, for Christ's sake, don't give us us this crap about Putin's daughters. Let's talk seriously, like adults. 

RBC journalist: Actually, these are the most serious questions there are. 

Igor Trosnikov: Listen, this has all happened a hundred times. Berezovsky, Usmanov—it's all happened. I'm not going to discuss Putin's daughters. Let's move on.

RBC journalist: My question is about unity and rebranding. A lot people have left many of our news desks because of this situation. There are tons of vacancies. Do you have any idea about where we'll be drawing on new staff, and should we expect more people from TASS?

Igor Trosnikov: Any idea about about where we'll get new staff... Do the news desks have desk editors? If there are no desk editors, then it's my problem to find new desk editors.

RBC journalist: Will it be people from TASS?

Igor Trosnikov: No, there definitely won't be people from TASS. Because, for starters... Well, not for starters, but just because I gave my word that I won't take anyone from TASS.

RBC journalist: Can I ask a question? For our desk right now, the State Duma elections are the main news topic. Recently, there was an incident at another publication where they they had an advertising contract with [the ruling political party] United Russia. They started planting texts by United Russia, particularly about its primaries, bypassing the editor, meaning they placed the texts without consulting the editor. This is an absolutely unprofessional, illegal practice. But should we expect something like that here?

Nikolai Molibog: United Russia campaigning in banner ads is easy. According to the law on elections, they're allowed to buy ad space. Beyond that, when it comes to politics, we're not selling any special projects or anything else tied to what we print, and we're not going to participate in that. When businesspeople first asked me, “Kolya, are going to be plugging any special projects?” I told them, that there wouldn't be any special projects. As for banners, who cares if it's Baltika beer or United Russia.

Elizaveta Golikova: Don't you worry about United Russia. They should be just fine, I reckon.

RBC journalist: But we're not worried about United Russia—we're worried about RBC.

RBC journalist: Can you tell us how you'll divide your responsibilities? Will it be the same arrangement that Liza and Roma had?

Elizaveta Golikova: Regarding the division of responsibilities...

Igor Trosnikov: You'll find out in a couple of months. At first, we'll be doing everything together. 

Elizaveta Golikova: And then we'll work it out however works best. This is our priority...

Nikolai Molibog: I persuaded these guys to take this strange title, “coheads,” because otherwise we'd have had to call one the chief editor of one thing, and the other the chief editor of something [else]. I asked that the division of responsibilities take place after you've worked [together] for a couple of months, and then it will be more organic, so it wouldn't be such a restructuring shock on arrival. 

RBC journalist: Do you have an idea of how the print edition and the website will function together?

Elizaveta Golikova: This is a very interesting business challenge that most news organizations around the world are facing right now. I hope that all of us can come together, and we can solve the issue together.

RBC journalist: My name is ***, and I work in the newsroom production office. Do I understand you correctly that we're keeping the format of the unified newsroom? That we're keeping things the way they are now?

Nikolai Molibog: [We're keeping] the current form, with the exception of the special case by the name of, let's call it, Molibog and the magazine department. [A reference to RBC Magazine's granted request to circumvent Golikova and Trosnikov, and work directly under Molibog's supervision.] I agreed to this because of arguments about content and arguments about the product, but publicly this whole thing has turned—or rather is turning—into total nonsense. But what is called the unified newsroom, as an entity where one piece of content is created simultaneously in several departments, is here to stay, yes.

Igor Trosnikov: We had the same thing at Kommersant. It didn't work very well, but that was a long time ago. It's entirely possible that I just don't know all the details of how everything here works. At Kommersant it didn't work well because the magazines we had were basically remnants [from past projects]. But it's a bit of a different story here, [and] I hope it's a unified newsroom of a different, higher quality. We would like for there to be a more correct approach—a more modern one.

RBC journalist: Can I ask a question? This came up with Nikolai. To whom should I address it now? To you? A colleague raised this issue. There are certain situations—headline-making news—where people (who played a role in these stories, or people who are protecting the participants, or representatives of the authorities at different levels) starting making calls to the chief editors and the management, trying to influence a report's content or its headline... Tell us, please, how you'll deal with this sort of thing.

Elizaveta Golikova: Believe us that our experience at the top of major mass-media outlets allows us to deal quite effectively with these “telephone methods.” This doesn't faze top-quality publications.

RBC journalist: For instance, would RBC run a story today about the “Panama Papers”? At ITAR-TASS, they didn't report on this until much later.

Elizaveta Golikova: And you don't sense a difference between RBC and the news agency ITAR-TASS

RBC journalist: No. Well, what I mean is that you're coming from ITAR-TASS

Igor Trosnikov: And so what? Before that, I worked at Kommersant

Elizaveta Golikova: What's the connection?

Igor Trosnikov: And where did you work before you came here?

RBC journalist: Well, I worked lots of places. 

Igor Trosnikov: Well there you have it. And how often did you change your job?

RBC journalist: Well, that's just what happens. 

Another RBC journalist: It also happens that we've got a bit of a dangerous situation here. You say that you've been in our place—that new leaders came to you. You sat where we're sitting, and they told you all about the double line and so on, and [you've told us] how you felt about all of it. Now, it turns out, you've spent the whole day telling us about the rules of the road. What I'm saying is that it's not really very clear what's going on.


RBC journalist: Look, why publish the Panama Papers or anything else that somebody might not like? It always leads to being pressured, whatever the form of your work. They always try to pressure somebody. But I think our history shows...

Igor Trosnikov: It's their job to pressure us. It's our job not to be pressured. 

RBC journalist: But was it different at TASS?

Elizaveta Golikova: And did you work at TASS?

RBC journalist: But why did you go straight to TASS...

Elizaveta Golikova: And did you work at TASS?

RBC journalist: We work with the people who produce TASS.

Another RBC journalist: We don't work at government news agencies, for some reason.

Nikolai Molibog: Well, nobody is going to believe that the rules at TASS, well I don't know what they are... 


Nikolai Molibog: I think this meeting... Again, assuming this conversation doesn't leave this room... I'll tell you: the BBC puts out [a report] on the Panama Papers, and about how the Russian media reported parts of it. [Molibog appears to be referring to this article.] And we see a series of well-respected business newspapers: Vedomosti, Kommersant, and us. It's about how we reported the story, what we published, and what these respected newspapers published. The way Vedomosti [handled this] was an attempt to avoid that controversial double line. That was their approach. As for us... Well, now we've spent several months sitting around, having all these endless conversations. It turns out that we crossed the line. Is that example clear?

RBC journalist: That's clear.

Another RBC journalist: No.

Nikolai Molibog: Well why isn't it clear? There were three newspaper covers the West studied closely. In this piece, the way we formatted the story, the image we featured, and our headline—it was all stronger than anyone else. But we could have handled this like everyone else.

Igor Trosnikov: If people here are thinking that you can always be direct—be so direct with everything—it isn't so. It's not allowed at Kommersant, it's not allowed at Interfax, it's not allowed at Vedomosti, and, as experience now shows, it's not allowed here. Yes? But this is our profession. It's your profession. And I'm still hoping that this will be our newsroom going forward. I think we should all have an interest in preserving this at its best and highest quality. But I can't tell you that there are no restrictions whatsoever. They exist. If people here think there aren't any restrictions, then they're better off writing on Facebook. You can still get away with it there.

RBC journalist: They're locking people up for that now, too.

Igor Trosnikov: If you're working on a specific report...


Igor Trosnikov: Do you think that the [Presidential Administration] literally has a special little book lying around, titled “Handbook on How to Determine If a News Report Is Acceptable”?


RBC journalist: We're asking you about specific stories because it's through specific stories that we can understand what your whole approach is going to be with us.

Elizaveta Golikova: You have experience working with information, right? You work in the mass media, right?

RBC journalist: Yes. I think that's obvious.

Elizaveta Golkova
Photo: Sergei Fadeivchev / TASS

Elizaveta Golikova: And to me it's obvious that you know how to work with information, if you work with information. And when we talk about a system of restrictions on handling information, we're talking only about the quality of your interactions with this information. When you work with any information—with any facts that appear in your reporting—you have to look at these facts and evaluate them.

RBC journalist: My job isn't really the evaluation of facts. I work in the news. [Facts] aren't my problem.

Elizaveta Golikova: We look at facts and we work with facts. And the system of restrictions applies to the quality of your work with facts. That's all. There aren't any other restrictions. You structure the logic. 

RBC journalist: I apologize, but I'm just getting the impression—and maybe I'm the only one here who feels like this—that you seem to be defending yourselves against us. Now, look. I, for example... I'm going to be 22. So far, I've only got just a little... Although I've been working here for almost two years. And I know very little about you two. So far, I don't have any feelings about you. So I'm just trying to understand what comes next. And everyone, I think, is trying to understand this.

It's not like someone here is attacking you or someone... No one expects you to say, “Nope, that's it. The bloody arm of the regime is moving in, and that's the end.” We're just trying to understand your approach here. What direction are you moving? You're reacting to this now somehow very... Well, I don't know. It's as if we were trying to take shots at you or something—like we were trying to offend you. We're just trying to make sense of all this. Because the last two months, as you can imagine, have been a little strange for us. Because the people who hired many of us here—they're gone. And it's for very clear reasons. And so we are really just trying to understand how we're supposed to keep going. That's it. That's really what all the questions are about. I'm not trying catch you somehow on something, or...

Nikolai Molibog: We're first and foremost interested in you continuing to work here and doing what you know how to do. And we're going to try, to the extent that we can, to manage and develop this.

RBC journalist: I've got a question. RBC has lots of special correspondents who don't produce weekly stories, but write [longer] investigative and researched pieces...

Igor Trosnikov: Fantastic. We've dreamt about having people like that in our newsroom.

RBC journalist: Do you see their work continuing as a separate department?

Igor Trosnikov: [inaudible] If you stop asking about every individual department... The newspaper's investigative reports are obviously your trademark. If these people are ready to continue their work and keep producing quality investigations...

RBC journalist: The previous management even had certain business KPI [key performance indicators]. They were supposed to tie together the editorial office, which included different publications. They were supposed to increase our citations and restore our reputation. Now, do you have any global aims like this—not more “keep working like you were working,” but some set of quantitative or qualitative indicators that need to be achieved within a certain period of time?

Igor Trosnikov: I've already addressed this in part. First, for completely obvious reasons, because lots of people, including key people, are leaving, our primary goal right now is just to save this publication, so it somehow still functions. For example, so we still get out the newspaper that, as I understand it, soon there will be nobody left producing. Within a period of two-to-three months—plus this is still summer, and people are on vacations—we should have an idea of ourselves, and know better what kind of structure we'll have, and how we will further evolve.

And after that, [we'll move to] the new concept—not to reengineer, I want you to understand, not to reengineer, because reengineering is a global thing, whereas [we want] to evolve. And [inaudible] is going to be spelled out. For us, it's a lot simpler and easier to work with KPI. We're all about business. It's one of RBC's principles that you work in the interests of business. We're all about business. I'm in favor of KPI, and I'm in favor of “however much you work is how much you get.” For three and a half years, I gave speeches about honesty and responsibility to readers, which is why you can't lie, and you can't allow planted stories, well and everything else that's written into your principles. We operated that way, too, before Vedomosti ever got a formal set of principles—and RBC definitely has principles. 

RBC journalist: You've come here as the new people. New people usually bring some other people with them. Are you planning to change the heads of any news desks who are working now? 

Igor Trosnikov: We're planning to start working with everyone, and in this process, I hope, we won't have to change anyone. It's much more important that those [editors] who have decided to leave do not do this. Because we've never, never once in any position... it's actually been just the opposite: you come to some new department, and you think, “Damn, what a bunch of freaks. Now I'll fire everyone.” And then it turns out that, on the contrary, these are amazing guys.

I always work with the people I've got, and with those who are ready to work with us. These are important qualities. Those who aren't ready to work with us... Well, guys, sorry. Without mutual respect and loyalty to each other, there can't be any cooperation—it's true. But everyone who's ready to work, to collaborate, and not to dwell on the fact that at one time there was something... I've seen a lot in my time, too. But listen, leaving aside all the garbage, we're only in favor of honest, straightforward work and discussion. There's no list of people we're planning to fire. There hasn't been one and there won't be one.

RBC journalist: And what about a list of people you'd like to bring on?

Igor Trosnikov: In part, we've got a list like that—for the vacant positions.

RBC journalist: I apologize, but you said “for the vacant positions.” But you also said the department editors would be making these appointments.

Igor Trosnikov: No, I mean the management positions. [Names of several RBC staff] are leaving. People whom everyone will remember, but we've got to close these positions. We're thinking about people.

RBC journalist: And none of these people will be from TASS?

Igor Trosnikov: I've already said that there won't be a-ny-body from TASS. I personally promised the [TASS] chief editor that I wouldn't poach anyone from their newsroom.

RBC journalist: I hope you're not going to fire anyone for having worked at TASS?

Igor Trosnikov: Are there people from TASS working here? I don't know how you manage to work with them. You guys are a Kremlin mouthpiece. 


RBC journalist: Tell us: will you choose a new chief editor for the newspaper? 

Igor Trosnikov: Listen, we don't know for sure what kind of structure [we'll have], but formally there has to be something, according to the law on the mass media. I don't know what kind of structure it will be.

Elizaveta Golikova: We both have good experience with this. We're not going to leave anyone feeling insulted. And then we've got to decide how to continue producing a quality newspaper, as well as the other platforms that come out on RBC. Our job is to make sure that these platforms keep performing, that they maintain their respect for their audience, and that their potential is unlocked. This publishing house's potential is colossal, and our job now is to get a sense of this potential, because we're still not familiar with its internal mechanisms, and over the next two months we're going to be working very intensively to get to know it. And after it's become clear to us what this is, we'll understand where to go next. Your general director and your team have great ambitions. We're hoping that you'll share our ambitions, and we'll make sure that this publishing house is a leader.

RBC journalist: A question about the platforms [inaudible]. 

Elizaveta Golikova: There's an obvious story about the fact that your media holding has a number of effective media vehicles that used to be fragmented. The synergistic effect that's achieved in the mediasphere now, also and thanks to the speed of the information with which you interact every day. This synergistic effect, of course, needs to be felt out extremely thoroughly, before you spend a lot of money on merging things or dividing things. That's what it's about.

Very soon, all of us will think together about to how do this efficiently. You have amazing people working on TV development, and it's our job to capitalize on the platforms that are part of the media holding, and to make a single product that audiences across different platforms can recognize. This is happening with all media outlets, which are now facing problems with monetization and contact with users—any kind of user or reader, it doesn't matter. This is a shared challenge, and together we'll overcome it. It's our job to figure out how to do it.

Igor Trosnikov: There's a proposal to get back to work.

RBC journalist: How about a final five minutes, if anyone has important questions?

Another RBC journalist: We've still got to finish today's print edition.

This text was translated from Russian by Kevin Rothrock.

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