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News

Why does the presidential candidate, Vladimir Putin, want to make media assets independent form the state corporations?

Putin’s though process makes sense, except it is too little too late. Our state-owned corporations have been managing a lot of industries on behalf of the government. As a result, many of these industries are faced with huge losses.

State-owned corporations’ huge salaries, multi-million dollar bonuses for their top managers, lavish corporate parties as well as multiple sports teams are all to blame.

 

As for the media assets, I doubt that they are actually going to become independent from the state. All federal TV channels, many radio stations and newspapers are controlled by the state corporations. Around 5000 local and regional media outlets are dependent on subsidies from regional authorities. But at the same time there is a small number of media outlets that actually do critique the authorities. On the one hand, it allows activists to let off steam; on the other hand, it allows the government to see who those people are. Having a handful of independent Russian media outlets around is actually useful.

 

I would actually suggest the state to get rid of the dead weight like media assets as well as many other projects while putting more emphasis on supporting and helping independent businesses. Unfortunately, the State Duma approved virtually every budget proposed by the government until recently.

 

I was surprised by the Deputy Prime Minister’s (Mr. Shuvalov) suggestion to raise VAT to cover the costs of infrastructure development in the country. This suggests that the surplus from the sale of raw materials does not cover the country’s expenses. The VAT increase will inevitably affect Russian media industry. Meanwhile the European Parliament got rid of VAT on print and electronic media last year. But we chose a different path back at the beginning of last century. Media assets of state corporations and media resources that are dependent on the government can easily take care of the extra taxes. But for a truly independent media outlet and the media distribution network, the tax burden has become absolutely unsustainable. I posted a letter on the presidential candidate V. Putin’s website but have not received a response yet. In general, it is almost impossible to get answers from the state.

The entire Russian media industry is in a dire need of the state support similar to the one that was provided in the early years of Yeltsin's Russia. But I doubt it will happen anytime soon.