13 June

Russian newspapers. Policy, rumors and sport.

There are only three subjects, people in every country more likely to read about. The first one is policy (and economy). Some nations choose the other order (economy and policy) but we in Russia prefer faces, not numbers.

Now we can see a clear division between “pro-government media forces” (such as an official newspaper of Russian government “RG”) and oppositional sources (such as “sobesednik.ru” or “gazeta.ru”). It is well understood that oppositional media live in the Internet because they don’t have any financial support (or they have but they don’t want to reveal the sources) and “paper” media are far from being profitable nowadays. For example the approximate revenue of the “paper” media in Russia have been decreasing 5-9% per year for nearly a decade.

It is strongly believed that Russian people are zombied by the invincible Kremlin propaganda but it is a little bit far from the truth. The population of Russia is about 145 mln people. About 20% of the population don’t use Internet at all (babies and “babushkas”). About 15% of the population are not interested in policy at all (teenagers and children). So we have about 95 mln “politically active” people. And top-20 of the most popular news-sites of the Russian Internet. If we exclude sites like mail, yandex and rambler (hugest email services), news-aggregators (like lenta.ru, smi2.ru, ria.ru) and specialized sites (rbc.ru) we see that top-4 oppositional media take the 4th (gazeta.ru), 6th (echo.ru), 9th (mk.ru) and 10th (kommersant.ru) places in Russian media hierarchy. And these sites have more than a million unique hosts per day in sum. Add social networks, blogs, live journal, twitter… And you will see that it’s not so bad).

Above you could see the list of the most viewed news sites in Russian Internet. In our honest opinion, most needed are: rbc.ru (latest economic news); ria.ru (fastest news), rg.ru (official newspaper, Russian laws are published there), kommersant.ru (wonderful styles of journalists).

The second big topic is… rumors. Of course rumors. What did this star do at this place, why this celebrity put that dress on, how many husbands this lady will have or how many hearts did this guy break. All the things like that you can find in some Russian media. We also call it “yellow journalism” and it is also very popular in Russia. It’s no sense to tell anything about this phenomenon, it's more or less the same in every country.

            And the third big topic is sport. Actually Scanwords and crosswords are selling out better, but we can’t call it “newspapers”. So, sport. We have two most popular editions - “Sport-express” and “Sovetskiy sport”. They are relatives, because SE was founded by 12 former journalists of SS. Now they control about 60% of written sport media market in Russia. Sport-express is famous for its football reviews (50% of the newspaper is dedicated to this) and Sov.sport is appreciated for its hockey reports. If you want to study Russian or to retrieve/maintain your level we recommend you to read from time to time texts from the sites below. Please don’t be afraid that you “understand nothing” - it’s not true) A1 level students basicly understand 5-20% (depends on the complexity of the text), A2 students rate of comprehension is about 25-30% (20-35), B1 students may understand more than a half. B2 students understand more than 80%.