Ramp up of USIM programs to Russia and environs
Since the fall of the Yanukovych government and ensuing Russian aggression in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, VOA and RFE/RL have added or expanded more than 25 new radio, television and digital programs in Russian, Ukrainian, and other languages engaging audiences in the former Soviet space. Several highlights include:
In October 2014 the BBG launched Current Time — a daily, 30-minute Russian-language television news program jointly produced by RFE/RL and VOA, oriented at audiences in countries along Russia’s borders. Current Time offers comprehensive and objective coverage of daily news to counter distortions by Russian media.
The program is carried on 13 outlets in six countries. It reaches nationwide audiences on domestic television stations in Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, and Lithuania, as well as the predominantly Russian-speaking southeastern region of Latvia. In Russia, where placement on domestic stations is not possible, Current Time is available on NewsTube.ru, Russia’s largest news video site.
VOA’s Ukrainian Service launched a daily five-minute Russian-language television broadcast, Studiya Vashington, which provides news and information about U.S. and international responses to the ongoing tensions in Ukraine. Three national TV networks in Ukraine — ICTV, Channel 24 News, and First Ukrainian Channel — are airing the broadcast. The program is also carried by regional TV stations in Donbas and Odessa. In the Donetsk region, Studiya Vashington is available on the VOA Ukrainian and Russian services’ websites.
RFE/RL ‘s Ukrainian Service launched a website for Crimea called Crimea.Realities in Russian (http://ru.krymr.com/), Ukrainian (http://ua.krymr.com/) and Crimean Tatar (http://ktat.krymr.com/) to ensure that Crimeans have continuing access to professional news and information during the Russian occupation of the area. On average there were over 2.56 million visits monthly to RFE/RL’s Crimea websites in the past year, with a high amount of traffic via social media referrals.
VOA and RFE/RL have numerous news bureaus in the region, including Moscow and Kyiv, and dozens of correspondents across Russia and the surrounding area. U.S. international media broadcasts in Russian and Ukrainian on radio, TV, and online and social media.
In 2015, the BBG is making a $9 million investment in RFE/RL for Ukraine and periphery programming to fund a new Russian-language Digital Response Team. This will include a dedicated social media team to confront misinformation in the Russian media sphere.