State Duma, the Russian Parliament have just adopted Russian federal budget for 2017. No cuts for funding propaganda was made, of course.
If you are interested how “Russia Today” television channel envisaged in the budget, here is a short overview based on Addendum #15 to the Federal law “On the federal budget for 2017 and planned period of 2018-2019”:
“Autonomous non-profit organization “TV-Novosti” (the organization that operates RT), total funding — RUR 18,736 billion (just over USD 300 million under the current exchange rate). This line of expenses is summarized as “Russia’s contribution to international information exchange.”
Russia contributes to international information exchange with a critical dose of lies, propaganda, disinformation.
All this is done on our behalf. On behalf of Russian taxpayers. At a free market, such a “TV channel” would not last for even 5 minutes.
Just for your comparison – total state revenues under the notorious “Platon” system that imposed an extra tax on long-distance truckers (leading to widespread protests around the country) have comprised RUR 18,15 billion. Dear hard-working truckers, it is you who feed Rita Simonyan, RT’s CEO and her gang of overfed liars with cosmic salaries. If Rita Simonyan and her gang of overfed liars didn’t exist, there would be no need for extra taxing of yourselves; these money could be transferred directly to the Federal Road fund.
Here’s what else could have been done with these money:
• Offer a sizeable extra pay to pensioners. I’ve already written about extra 440 rubles (RUR 18,7 billion divided by 42,7 million Russian pensioners). Some say: 440 rubles is not much. Really? You gotta tell this to pensioners. This is almost 10% of extra pay designated to them for the whole next year by the Government (RUR 5,000). I’m somehow totally sure that pensioners won’t reject such an addition.
• Or: increase by 23 times financing of the state program “Enhancing medical treatment of cancer patients” (RUR 801 million allocated in 2017 budget). Compare once more: RUR 801 million to enhance treatment of cancer, from which an absolute record number of Russians died in 2015 – over 300,000, more than ever in our history, more than in the USSR, more than in 1990s, against RUR 18,7 billion for spreading the propaganda poison all over the world and for mega-salaries of media liars.
• Or: increase spending for “Protection of objects of flora and fauna and its habitat” by three times (RUR 9,5 billion in 2017 budget).
• Or: increase by a third the spending on fundamental scientific research administered by the Federal Agency for Scientific Organizations (RUR 67,5 billion in 2017 budget for all fundamental science).
Many really useful things can be financed by these 18,7 billion rubles. But it’s easy to see what the priorities are for Russian Government instead: it prefers to throw these huge funds away to finance a gang of slackers who daily lie to millions of people all over the world.