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RT America Received More Than $100 Million In Russian Government Funding Since 2017, Filings Show (1 Viewer)

Rogue Valley

Lead or get out of the way
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Apr 18, 2013
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(Then pregnant) Margarita Simonyan giving boss Vladimir Putin a tour of a RT television studio.

The U.S. production company that runs RT's American operations has received more than $100 million in Russian government funding since 2016, according to public filings, the largest subsidy of any recipient in the United States of so-called "foreign agent" funding from any country over that period. The Washington-based transparency organization Open Secrets compiled the figures from periodic filings made by the companies themselves under the Foreign Agent Registration Act, a decades-old law known as FARA that is enforced by the U.S. Justice Department. In 2017, Russia Today, now rebranded as RT, was ordered to register under FARA by the Justice Department. The order was made in the wake of the findings by U.S. intelligence agencies that the channel was part of a broader campaign of Russian propaganda and interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The amount reported by Open Secrets is the bulk, but not the entire amount of spending on foreign lobbying and media in the United States from Russian government sources during that period.

Other U.S. entities that have received Russian government money classified as "foreign agent" funding include two radio stations -- one in the Washington D.C. suburbs, one in Kansas City -- that carry programming from Radio Sputnik, which is separate from RT but related. Additionally, RIA Global, which runs Sputnik, and a Washington lobbying firm, have also reported Russian government funding. The company that runs RT's operations in the United States is called T&R Productions, which was first registered in Washington, D.C. in 2014. RT America is one of several divisions the company operates around the world. The main English-language channel, produced in Moscow, is RT International, but it also includes RT UK, which has an office in London, and Spanish- and Arabic-language operations, run from Moscow. RT's overall budget has fluctuated over the years. In 2017, the company was budgeted for around $300 million under the funding plan approved by the State Duma. This past June, the business newspaper Vedomosti reported that ANO TV-Novosti received about 27.4 billion rubles ($371 million) in government funding for 2020

Margarita Simonyan, who is a member of Vladimir Putin's inner circle, is a master propagandist and the Editor-in-Chief of RT and Sputnik, Russian media companies wholly owned by the Kremlin.

The Kremlin provides holding companies Rossiya Segodnya/RIA Novosti with ~$300 million annually to broadcast Kremlin propaganda in Russian, English, Arabic, Spanish, French, and German, in 100+ countries around the globe.

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