The Russian government is preparing to reduce spending on state-run media, according to the newspaper Vedomosti. Budget cuts in 2016 are expected to amount to 1.1 billion rubles (about 18 million dollars), dropping total spending to 80.2 billion rubles ($1.3 billion).
Some media outlets, such as the television stations RT and Pervyi Kanal and the newswire service TASS, will receive significantly less funding next year, while the media holding VGTRK and news agency Rossiya Segodnya will get even more money.
Based on the draft budget for 2016, RT will receive 19 billion rubles ($311 million), which is 1.84 billion rubles ($30 million) less than in 2015. According to the budget, the cutbacks will force RT to delay several planned projects. The news agency Rossiya Segodnya, meanwhile, is expected to receive 6.73 billion rubles ($110 million) in 2016, which is 660 million rubles ($10 million) more than in 2015. Rossiya Segodnya incorporates the former RIA Novosti news service and the international radio service Voice of Russia, rebranded last year as Sputnik.
In early 2015, due to an economic recession, the Russian government already cut funding for the state media. At the time, Vedomosti reported that state-run media outlets would receive 17.3 percent less in 2015 than the year before. In June, however, the government injected an additional 7 billion rubles ($114 million) into VGTRK and Rossiya Segodnya.
The Russian government finalized the 2016 draft budget on October 8. Sometime before October 25, officials are expected to submit the plan to the Duma for approval.