But on Russia Today, an English-language news channel begun in 2005 and financed by the Russian government, a more generous picture emerges. In this Russia, corruption is not quite a scourge but a symptom of a developing economy. And concerns about street thugs, poverty and Ukraine’s aspirations for European Union membership trump fears over Vladimir V. Putin’s grip on power.
This Moscow-based channel’s view of Russia is available to 120 million television viewers worldwide. That includes 20 million in the United States since last summer, when Russia Today was added to Time Warner Cable’s digital package in the New York City region.
The Russian government has already poured more than $100 million into Russia Today, prompting charges that Kremlin sponsorship affects its coverage. Andrei N. Illarionov, a former adviser to Mr. Putin and now one of his critics, last year called the channel Russia’s “best propaganda machine for the outside world.” The station is part of the state-owned news conglomerate RIA Novosti, and news organizations routinely refer to it as “state-run,” including The New York Times, which has said it was created to promote “pro-Kremlin views.”