Russia Deems Its Propaganda Outlets Vital for Country’s Defense

Russia’s state-run media outlets have been placed on par with the country’s security services in a new list of entities deemed to be of “essential significance” to national security and defense. The list, approved by the Russian government on Dec. 31, was published on the country’s legal information portal on Wednesday. Of special interest on the list is Rossiya Segodnya, widely considered the Kremlin’s official mouthpiece. Rossiya Segodnya is the state-run news agency that brings the Kremlin’s special version of truth to countries all over the world, in dozens of languages, thanks to its Sputnik news agency. The head of Rossiya Segodnya, Dmitry Kiselyov, is perhaps most well-known for boasting that Russia is capable of “turning the United States into radioactive ash.” The list also includes the All-Russia State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company (VGTRK) and the TASS news agency. VGTRK, which operates several popular state channels, has been accused of running a highly sophisticated propaganda operation by former employees. The news agencies, placed among the ranks of the Federal Security Service and the Federal Guard Service, are said to be vital “for the protection of the rights and lawful interests of Russian citizens, as well as the defense potential and security of the state.”