RUSSIAN STATE MEDIA MONEY CONTINUES TO FLOW: Months after Russia invaded Ukraine and media companies dropped the country’s state programming, Russian government funding continues to flow into U.S. media.
Between April and the end of September, Russian state media group Rossiya Segodnya funneled $3,284,169 to Ghebi, a company that produces articles, newswires and a number of radio shows. During that same period, Ghebi spent $2,183,640.72 on behalf of its client, according to an October filing with the Department of Justice made under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
POLITICO Influence reported in August that Ghebi and the agency, which controls the media outlet Sputnik, had renewed their contract, with a yearlong budget set for $7 million, the biggest since Ghebi began reporting its contracts to the Department of Justice. Although companies including YouTube and DirecTV have dropped Russian state media, the country’s government appears to continue to see value in media spending, even as it wages war in Ukraine.
That same month, Rebel Media Productions — a company run by controversial former local news anchor Benjamin Swann — registered to represent the Russian government-backed media organization TV Novosti. The production company would oversee video production for TV Novosti and other clients, focusing solely on the Indian, Chinese, and South American TV markets. A filing also noted that Rebel Media Productions had received $609,792 to pay laid off RT America employees.