By Sunnivie Brydum
Originally published on Advocate.com December 09 2013 3:02 PM ET
Russian president Vladimir Putin has just dissolved one of the nation's best-known state-run news agencies and radio broadcasts in a "reorganization," reports the soon-to-be-defunct RIA Novosti.
Putin issued two decrees over the weekend which will disassemble RIA Novosti and the state-owned Voice of Russia radio into a new Kremlin-backed joint multimedia venture called Rossiya Segodnya, according to RIA Novosti.
Leading that new media conglomerate will be popular Russian television anchor Dmitry Kiselyov, who garnered international headlines earlier this year when he appeared on a different state-run network to say that Russia's ban on so-called gay propaganda "is not enough," and that if a gay person dies in an auto accident, their heart should be "buried in the ground or burned." Kiselyov currently hosts Russia's most popular news program, Vesti.
The reorganization is part of what RIA describes as several shifts in Russia's media landscape, "which appear to point toward a tightening of state control in the already heavily regulated media sector."
The new media conglomerate's name translates to "Russia Today," reports RIA Novosti, though the new venture will be separate from the Kremlin-backed English network with the same name, now commonly known as RT.
RIA Novosti's report notes that it was founded as the Soviet Information Bureau in 1941, just days after the Nazis invaded the former Soviet Union, and now boasts reporters in more than 45 countries, producing stories in 14 different languages.