Since the media was compared to a weapon by Russian officials and propagandists on multiple occasions, the increased spending on the military goes hand in hand with growing funding for state-owned outlets. In 2022, the Russian Federation contributed approximately 143 billion RUB (1.9 billion USD) from the federal budget for mass media and has already allocated 1.6B USD for this year.
In 2022, the Russian Federation contributed 1.5 billion USD (115 billion RUB) from the federal budget for mass media. The above amount was probably exceeded, as the budget provided for mass media practically ran out in November 2022. According to our estimates, the state-owned or sponsored mass media spent around 1.9 billion USD (143 billion RUB) last year, while the surplus was probably covered by the deficit.
In 2023 Russia officially allocated 1.6 billion USD on propaganda to spread pro-Kremlin narratives inside and outside the country. The majority of funds for media (over 51%) was again dedicated to three main agencies: VGTRK, RT (former Russia Today), and Rossiya Segodnya.
The VGTRK received 25.8 billion RUB, to spread pro-Kremlin content to viewers inside of Russia.
RT has seen a slight decrease in funding compared to last year. Moreover, sanctions imposed on Russia after the invasion of Ukraine caused the agency to discontinue broadcasting in the EU, Canada, the US, and the UK, and close selected offices. On the other hand, the Kremlin is looking for partners in other markets: RT is strengthening its presence in Serbia and has plans to open an office in Africa.
In 2023, Zvezda, a media network run by the Russian Defense Ministry, saw its funding nearly double from the previous year.
Propaganda lies at the heart of hybrid warfare . Alina Kabayeva, Putin’s “secret concubine”  and president of the National Media Group (the largest private media holding company in Russia), recently spoke directly about the important role of information for the Kremlin. She compared it to a form of weaponry: “Information work today, in the conditions in which we live and fight for our country, is like a weapon of war [...]. It is as important as a Kalashnikov rifle.” 
In practice, as proven by numerous accounts of evidence, once a specific area of Ukraine has been occupied, the first thing the Russian soldiers do is cut off the local population from the global internet and restrict access to information, censoring content by routing internet traffic through Moscow . Such action is designed to place the inhabitants of the conquered area in a “digital ghetto” and force them to accept only the Russian distorted version of events about the war .
One example is Tavria TV established in Kherson in late 2022. The propaganda news outlet was created to promote “family, goodness, happiness and love, of course together with big, united Russia.” Journalists from St. Petersburg, Kaliningrad, and occupied Crimea have come to Kherson to help the new channel find the “right messaging”, which means presenting to Ukrainians living in the occupied territories, that Moscow is not an invading force, but a “benevolent liberator, bringing economic plenty and cultural renaissance to Kherson, and saving its citizens from Ukrainian Nazis.” 
In general, in the Kremlin-controlled media, the government goes to great lengths to ensure that the propaganda machine does not run out of financial fuel and uses every method available to feed the “correct view” to the public . There is no place for saboteurs in the media army, so the authorities have purged the country of all independent news channels described by the Kremlin as “undesirable organisations” or “foreign agents”. Those labelled as such were subjected to repression . As a result, independent media have either completely shut down their activities or moved abroad . At the same time, state-funded media are afforded additional protections, such as being exempt from reporting on funding from foreign entities (institutions or countries) . Those outlets that have remained in Russia serve the Kremlin and have no reason to oppose its narratives.
A year ago we presented an article on state-funded Russian mass media. We showed that funding in this area has increased significantly in recent years, reaching 1.5 billion USD . Our research indicated that the most funded media outlets are the foreign-oriented RT (former Russia Today) and two domestically-oriented outlets: All-Russia State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company (Vserossiyskaya Gosudarstvennaya Televizionnaya i Radioveshchatelnaya Kompaniya, VGTRK) and Rossiya Segodnya. Together, the three media agencies receive more than half of the annual funding for Russian mass media.
As stated in the previous analysis, in the first quarter of 2022 - when the full-scale invasion of Ukraine began - state media spendings were increased threefold compared to the same period in 2021 . However, in the official execution of the budget, there is no information regarding detailed expenditure for the whole 2022 . Since the middle of that year, the authorities have ceased to disclose details about the budget expenditure in specific areas and restricted the format for publishing spending data, referring to sanctions pressure . Nevertheless, information on spending in the past year by sector, including mass media, is available on the website of the Economic Expert Group, a think-tank that works closely with the Russian government .
Comparing the monthly analyses produced by the organisation, it is possible to get a picture of the distribution of mass media spending last year. As observed, virtually the entire amount budgeted for mass media in the federal budget for 2022 (115 billion RUB) was already spent in November, leaving a relatively very small amount for December (1 billion RUB). It seems likely, therefore, that in terms of mass media spending the budget has been greatly exceeded.
The increase in mass media spending is a part of the general trend for the 2022 budget. As the authors of the report wrote: “According to operational data, the level of implementation of the federal budget in January-November 2022 was 102%.”  Although the Economic Expert Group did not provide detailed data for December 2022, the January 2023 report includes information on the implementation of the entire budget in 2022 - expenditures amounted to 31.1 billion RUB, which is 25.7% higher than in the previous year in nominal terms .
As can be seen in the chart above, the biggest differences between monthly spending in 2021 and 2022 occurred in February-March (up 328%) and October-November (up almost a quarter of the total). In the latter period, the mass media in Russia spent 38 billion RUB more than the year before. Overall, mass media spending in 2022 in the months of January through November increased by nearly 24% compared to the same period last year. It is also worth noting that since the end of 2022, the Economic Expert Group has stopped providing details about the breakdown of spending by the state-funded sectors. However, in previous years, the month of December was the period in which the media spent the largest amounts of money per month on their activities - the average spending for December in 2020-2021 was almost 25%. Assuming that this trend continues, it can be estimated that in 2022 28.8 billion RUB (25% of the 115 billion RUB assumed budget) was spent on media in the last month. Virtually the entire amount would have to be financed from the deficit, since nominally only 1 billion RUB remained to be spent from the budget at that time. The assumptions are indicative, but are in line with the trend of increased spending at the end of the year. Taking into account the estimated expenditures for December, the approximate amount for mass media in 2022 would be 143 billion RUB (1.9 billion USD).
The aforementioned restrictions on publishing details of the Russian Federation’s budget may be partly explained due to a desire to hide the deficit, which amounted to 3.3 trillion RUB in 2022, from citizens. At the same time, it is worth noting the unprecedented increase in the amount of expenditure classified as secret in the budget this year - as of 24 March 2023, they accounted for about one-third of all expenditure (2.4 trillion RUB in total). The authorities considered these to be spendings that the public should not know about - the high cost of a protracted war, consuming both enormous resources and casualties .
The next parts of the analysis look at Russian mass media spending in 2023. As the current report is a continuation of the previous study, we have focused on the financing of the largest, state-owned media agencies: VGTRK, RT, Rossiya Segodnya, TASS and Zvezda. In the analysis, we relied on data from the law “On the federal budget for 2023 and for the planning period 2024 and 2025,” adopted by the State Duma on November 24, 2022 .
General funding for mass media in 2023
According to the Russian Ministry of Finance, in 2023 the general funding for mass media increased by more than 4 billion RUB, reaching 119.2 billion RUB in total  (1.6 billion USD) . According to the budget forecast for the next two years, media funding is anticipated to drop significantly, reaching 108.1 billion RUB in 2024 and 108.5 billion RUB in 2025.
However, observed trends show that Russian federal budget forecasts for the next two years are each time significantly underestimated. For example, the budget projection for the mass media financing in 2023 was 108 billion RUB, which in fact is 11 billion RUB less than the mass media actually received. It is therefore possible that the amount of financing for the main news agencies in Russia in 2024-2025 will be much higher than written in the project .
Although the propaganda machine is now running at full speed and certainly needs resources, several issues need to be taken into account. First, as written earlier, the final sum of the government spending on mass media is not known. Second, it should be noted that the budget for this sector has consistently increased over the years, while Kremlin narratives have been spread in parallel to prepare the ground for the invasion. The next issue to be highlighted is the aforementioned monopolisation of the media market by pro-Kremlin agencies, compounded by restrictions on access to international media and selected social media channels , harsh censorship and the very strict penalisation of any attempt to “spread false information about Russian armed forces or officials.” Article 207.3 of the Criminal Code provides for up to 15 years in prison for such actions. It is worth recalling that on the first day of the invasion the Russian media supervisory agency Roskomnadzor indicated that the only acceptable sources of information are to be those provided by state bodies .
Thus, Russia’s remaining media have a completely clear field to operate in the country, although on the other hand they face some difficulties in spreading disinformation outside its borders. In this regard, it is interesting to look at the details of the 2023 budget for the mass media, the allocation of funds to the various agencies, as well as the general situation of the latter. Below we outline the distribution of the mass media budget between the main media channels. In the following sections we discuss a selection of them in detail.
We started our analysis with the All-Russia State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company (VGTRK), Russia’s largest state-media holding and the main pillar of internal propaganda. It has considerable influence in shaping public opinion by broadcasting online programmes from morning to evening and injecting Kremlin-ordered narratives into the minds of citizens .
It should be noted, however, that in Russia the popularity of TV as the main source of information has slightly declined. According to the study on media consumption by a sociological service Romir, from February to July 2022 Russian residents have begun to watch far fewer state television channels, while the audience of the largest federal TV channels - Channel One, Russia One, and NTV - decreased by a quarter. Before the start of the invasion, 33.7% of the population watched Pervyy Kanal, while in July it dropped to 25.5%. Coverage of Russia-1 decreased from 30.9% to 23%, and NTV from 21.1% to 16.6% . These findings are supported by the Levada center, which revealed that after the spring surge the audience of TV in Russia decreased – in April 2022 67% of the population watched it, while in May it was 63%. The popularity of other news sources remains unchanged . According to The Moscow Times, the shift may have occurred due to the fact that after Russia began its military invasion of Ukraine on February 24, the federal TV channels sharply reduced the share of entertainment content in their broadcasts and increased the share of news and propaganda programs . Despite its slightly declining popularity, the funding for VGTRK increased by 0.6 billion RUB in 2023 to 25.8 billion RUB (349.7 million USD) .
It is also worth mentioning that with the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the media holding company lost a number of important foreign sponsors. More than a dozen foreign companies among the largest advertisers in Russia have left the market (including Reckitt Benckiser, PepsiCo, and Nestle, which ranked third, fourth and eighth respectively in terms of TV advertising). Russian television has also been affected by sanctions, e.g. in May, the US Treasury Department banned the funding of Channel One, Russia-1, and NTV, and provision of telecommunications services to them .
On the other hand, 25.8 billion RUB received from the budget still remains an enormous amount, which is probably sufficient to maintain the desired effects on the local audience, as well as to spread propaganda in Russian-occupied territories - it was announced that the VGTRK opens branches in the provinces of the Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson, and Zaporizhia .
RT (former Russia Today)
The leading agency in terms of funding is RT (former Russia Today), owned by the Autonomous Non-Profit Organisation ‘TV-Novosti’ (ANO ‘TV-Novosti’). RT serves as the Kremlin's most important propaganda tube aimed at foreign audiences. The agency is known for spreading disinformation, promoting Russia's world view, and conspiracy theories. With its network, RT covers the entire world, while operating in 7 languages (English, Spanish, French, German, Arabic, Russian and, more recently, Serbian). RT also manages the Ruptly news agency, and has offices in many countries around the world, although some of them were closed after Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine began . In 2023 RT has been allocated 26.3 billion RUB, from the federal budget which is a considerably smaller amount than in the previous year (28.7 billion RUB).
Several factors may have contributed to the lack of growth in RT funding. Due to sanctions imposed after the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, RT has stopped broadcasting in the European Union, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States, among others . In regards to the European Union, RT was banned on March 2, 2022. The decision was summarised by Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission: “We will not let Kremlin apologists pour their toxic lies justifying Putin's war or sow the seeds of division in our Union” . Following the ban in the EU, RT has been taken off the air in United Kingdom , while in late March, the United Kingdom additionally fined both ANO ‘TV-Novosti’ and Rossiya Segodnya for spreading “fake news and narratives” of President Vladimir Putin . In Canada the package of sanctions hit directly RT as well as Rossiya Segodnya, Channel One Russia, VGTRK and TASS . In January 2023, RT France was ultimately closed after a funding freeze due to another sanctions package, as director Xenia Fedorova reported that it was lo longer possible “to continue our activities” . Shortly afterwards, it was RT Germany’s turn to be taken down .
The aforementioned organisational changes, branch closures and sanctions might have resulted in the company receiving less funding from the budget than the last year. It has to be stated though that the ban in certain Western countries increased the presence of RT in other regions. The Spanish-language version of RT is increasing its presence in the Global South, especially Latin America and Africa. According to RT website, the channel has 200 Spanish-speaking employees, with correspondents in, among others, Caracas (Venezuela), Havanna (Cuba), and Buenos Aires (Argentina) . RT's Spanish-language profile on Facebook has 16 million followers, although its audience is smaller on other social platforms, like Twitter (3.4 million followers) or Telegram (168 thousand) . What is worth highlighting, the agency plans to open its first office in South Africa as well .
What is more, RT develops its activities also in the new regions in Europe. The agency already entered the Serbian market in the national language and the broadcast of RT Balkan is planned no later than in 2024. The news outlet is to be headed by Jelena Milincic, daughter of the editor of the Sputnik news agency. RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan wrote on Telegram: “We launched RT in the Balkans. Because Kosovo is Serbia” .
Russia now tries to present itself as the leader of the global “anti-colonial movement”, focusing its “soft power” on the former colonies, the post-Soviet space, and less wealthy countries in Europe. As the Kremlin’s efforts in influencing audiences in South America, Africa, and Asia grows, it is extremely important to monitor Russian propaganda outlets in those regions .
Zvezda, TASS & Rossiya Segodnya
In our analysis, we also monitored the funding for other three big media agencies in the Russian propaganda market: Zvezda, TASS, and Rossiya Segodnya.
Speaking about Rossiya Segodnya, in 2023 the financing is the same as in the previous year - 9.4 billion RUB. It is worth recalling here that this agency is associated with titles such as Sputnik and Ria Novosti, which, as mentioned, were sanctioned due to Russia’s war in Ukraine. Regarding the TASS, it is one of the most quoted Russian news agencies, which publishes almost three thousand content pieces daily in six languages . In 2023 its budget increased up to 4.7 billion RUB. According to the budget law, the change in funding was mostly due to the allocation of a larger amount for the modernisation of the agency.
The most intriguing, though unsurprising given the war in Ukraine, result among these is the funding allocated to Zvezda, which in 2023 received 3.5 billion RUB (47.4 million USD). Compared with the previous year, there is an increase of 1.6 billion RUB, which means nearly doubling the funds for the media agency run by the Russian Ministry of Defence. The sudden growth reflects a general tendency in the military sector in Russia. Prolonged hostilities have led to a sharp increase in military spending in the state budget - in mid-September, the Finance Ministry announced that by the end of the year it would rise by 1.45 trillion RUB (45%) above the level set in the budget law. All in all, Russia’s total military spending in 2022 could reach 5% of GDP, the highest level in the entire post-Soviet period. However, as economist Sergei Aleksashenko noted, since all defence spending in Russia is classified, the costs of the aggression against Ukraine might have been even higher .
Naturally, the military agency needs more resources for its operations during wartime, but interestingly, the programming of the TV station Zvezda itself (which is only a part of the agency), is not very spectacular and largely consists of old movies and series, shown several episodes in a row.
As the article shows, despite the war waged against Ukraine (or because of it), Russia has not stopped pumping money into the mass media. In 2023, Moscow officially intends to spend 1.6 billion USD on propaganda agencies. However, as the 2022 funding example shows, the final amount to be spent on mass media could be significantly higher.
In 2023, VGTRK received 25.8 billion RUB to spread pro-Kremlin narratives to the Russian people. Among other propaganda outlets, such as TASS and Rossiya Segodnya, the agency run by the Russian Defense Ministry, Zvezda, received relatively high funding - nearly doubling its budget compared to the pre-war period. It seems that similar decisions flow from an understanding that without constantly injecting false messages into the public and replacing the true picture and consequences of the war with platitudes and propaganda, people in Russia might stop supporting a power consuming huge financial resources to send other sons, fathers, and grandchildren to their deaths en masse.
On the other hand, propaganda directed at foreign countries is important for creating support for Russia in the international arena, especially to find new partners. This struggle is especially important, as the West is trying to isolate the Kremlin through sanctions - the main propaganda tube oriented abroad, RT, faced an interruption of broadcasting in many countries. On the other hand, the agency is looking for new partners in other markets and is highly interested in Asian, African and South American spheres of information influence.
This year’s analysis repeats the previous findings - propaganda is vital for the Russian regime, creating one of the main pillars for the Kremlin’s survival, building and maintaining support for the President Vladimir Putin. Although the media is a weapon used in war, one very important fact should be borne in mind - there has never been peace for Russia.
This analysis was carried out by Debunk.org analysts Aleksandra Michałowska-Kubś and Jakub Kubś.
 See e.g.: Disinformation and Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. Threats and governance responses, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, November 3, 2022, https://bit.ly/3K9hNAS (accessed 31.03.2023).
 The EU has imposed sanctions on Kabayeva, as she “is the Chairwoman of the Board of Directors of the National Media Group (NMG), a holding that owns large stakes in almost all major Russian federal media that reproduce the Russian Government propaganda. She is a former Russian gymnast and a former member of the State Duma. She is closely associated with President Vladimir Putin.” Kabayeva was also sanctioned by the United Kingdom and United States, B. Moens, EU sanctions Putin’s alleged girlfriend Alina Kabaeva, Politico, June 3, 2022, https://politi.co/3Kabo9H (accessed 31.03.2023). A group of investigative journalists operating within the Proekt agency (declared by the Russian authorities to be a ‘undesirable organisation' and its journalists to be 'foreign agents') investigated Putin's secret links and interests, including connections with Kabayeva, see: M. Maglov, R. Badanin, M. Rubin, Iron Masks. Final season, Проект, February 28, 2023, https://bit.ly/3nmZ6Sy/ (accessed 31.03.2023).
 I. Berman, For Russia, Information Is As Valuable As an Army of Tanks, Newsweek, February 14, 2023, https://bit.ly/3JFqnr3 (accessed 31.03.2023). See also e.g.: Disinformation and Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. Threats and governance responses, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, https://bit.ly/3K9hNAS (accessed 31.03.2023).
 A. Satariano, S. Reinhard, How Russia Took Over Ukraine’s Internet in Occupied Territories, The New York Times, August 9, 2022, https://nyti.ms/3Mnwz9Z (accessed 31.03.2023).
 I. Koshiw, Russia accused of trying to use TV to create Ukraine ‘digital ghetto’, The Guardian, February 17, 2023, https://bit.ly/3ZIGNVq (accessed 31.03.2023).
 S. Walker, P. Sauer, ‘Tavriya TV will promote happiness and love’: Russia opens station in occupied Kherson, The Guardian, August 27, 2022, https://bit.ly/3ZJAC3z (accessed 31.03.2023).
 As Russia's Invasion Of Ukraine Nears The One-Year Mark, Kremlin Keeps Pro-War Symbols Prominently In View, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, February 12, 2023, https://bit.ly/3mgPRmL (accessed 31.03.2023).
 Another black day for media and free speech in Russia (version iv, 10.03.23), EUvsDisinfo, https://bit.ly/3GdY2am (accessed 31.03.2023). See also: One year on, Russian media survive mass repression, International Press Institute, (accessed 31.03.2023).
 One of the last remaining was The Bell, which the Russian government blocked access to in February this year, Russia blocks access to The Bell news website, Reuters, February 19, 2023, https://reut.rs/3ZBZnhO (accessed 31.03.2023).
 М. Иванов, М. Истомина, Г. Казакулова, Е. Мухаметшина, Государственные СМИ смогут не отчитываться об иностранном финансировании, Vedomosti, October 20, 2021, https://bit.ly/3zTSZbk (accessed 31.03.2023).
 A. Michałowska-Kubś, J. Kubś, Coining lies. Kremlin spends 1.5 Billion per year to spread disinformation and propaganda, Debunk.org, https://www.debunk.org/coining-lies-state-budget-financing-of-russian-propaganda (accessed 31.03.2023).
 Миллиарды на пропаганду. Расходы бюджета на госСМИ подскочили втрое на фоне войны, The Moscow Times, April 12, 2022, https://bit.ly/3JY7oGe (accessed 31.03.2023). Only EUvsDisinfo itself has made available a database of 15170 cases of pro-Kremlin disinformation (with debunking) that have been spread since 2015 in different countries, see: Disinfo database, EUvsDisinfo, https://euvsdisinfo.eu/disinformation-cases/ (accessed 31.03.2023). See also: K. Chawryło, Weapons of mass deception. Russian television propaganda in wartime, Centre for Eastern Studies, May 6, 2022, https://bit.ly/3m2rg52 (accessed 31.03.2023).
 Website of the Russian Ministry of Finance, https://minfin.gov.ru/ru/statistics/fedbud/execute (accessed 31.03.2023).
 И. Ткачёв, Ю. Волкова, Минфин в связи с санкциями засекретил расходы бюджета по направлениям, RBC, June 14, 2022, https://bit.ly/3M6DeFk (accessed 31.03.2023). “The sanctions applied against the Russian Federation differ in the mechanism of their action and the degree of negative consequences. In connection with the pressure exerted by the United States, the EU, Great Britain and other unfriendly states on the Russian Federation and individuals, it became necessary to partially restrict the dissemination of information, including the formation of budget reporting. This will help minimize the risk of additional sanctions,” Минфин частично ограничит распространение данных о формировании бюджетной отчетности, ТАСС, 14 June, 2022, https://bit.ly/40hMTfX (accessed 31.03.2023).
 Экономическая экспертная группа, http://www.eeg.ru/ (accessed 31.03.2023). The Economic Expert Group (EEG ) is an independent think tank on macroeconomics and public finance. According to their website: “Since its inception to the present, the EEG has been constantly working in close contact with the government (primarily the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Economic Development), the Central Bank and the Presidential Administration.” For example, the February 2023 expenditure report can be found at this link: http://www.eeg.ru/downloads/obzor/rus/pdf/2023_03.pdf (accessed 31.03.2023).
 Economic Expert Group, Обзор Экономических Показателей, December 2022, p. 24, https://bit.ly/3MpqgTj (accessed 31.03.2023).
 Economic Expert Group, Обзор Экономических Показателей, January 2023, p. 22, https://bit.ly/3ZWd0J2 (accessed 31.03.2023).
 И. Ткачёв, Треть расходов бюджета пришлась на закрытые статьи, RBC, March 28, 2023, https://bit.ly/3TX1OKP (accessed 31.03.2023).
 Federal Law, 05.12.2022, No. 466-FЗ, “О федеральном бюджете на 2023 год и на плановый период 2024 и 2025 годов”, https://bit.ly/40uCjSW (accessed 31.03.2023).
 “Федеральный закон от 05.12.2022 № 466-ФЗ…”, op.cit., p. 1288. A known problem with Kremlin finances is that the amounts differ depending on the source providing the information. In the Federal Law the general amount for mass media is 119.2, however in the publication ‘Budget for citizens’ of the Russian Ministry of Finance - it is 119.7 billion RUB, Бюджет для граждан. к федеральному закону о федеральном бюджете на 2023 год и на плановый период 2024 и 2025 годов, Moskwa 2022, https://bit.ly/3JjcvCv accessed 31.03.2023). On the other hand, TASS agency announced is as 118.1 billion RUB, Финансирование СМИ составит более 335 млрд рублей в 2023-2025 годах, ТАСС, https://bit.ly/3GnAjVb (accessed 31.03.2023).
 In this analysis, the ruble's exchange rate against the dollar was converted as of January 1 of a given year using the OANDA currency calculator: https://www.oanda.com/bvi-en/ (accessed 31.03.2023).
 Compare: Бюджет для граждан. к федеральному закону о федеральном бюджете на 2022 год и на плановый период 2023 и 2024 годов,publication of the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation, Moscow 2021, https://bit.ly/3JsS3PP (accessed 31.03.2023).
 Due to the invasion of Ukraine, Russia has blocked access to websites of media outlets including the BBC, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Voice of America, Deutsche Welle. Also social media channels like Facebook, Instagram or Twitter were blocked, among others, for “discrimination against Russian media”. The aforementioned channels are making efforts to enable circumvention of censorship, see: R. McMahon, Russia Is Censoring News on the War in Ukraine. Foreign Media Are Trying to Get Around That, Council on Foreign Relations, March 18, 2022, https://on.cfr.org/43gel0c (accessed 31.03.2023).
 Another black day…, op. cit.
 According to the holding site, the total amount of original content of all VGTRK resources is 160,000 hours per year, https://vgtrk.ru/about (accessed 31.03.2023).
 Аудитория гостелеканалов в России сократилась на четверть, Radio Svoboda, August 22, 2022, https://bit.ly/3yTyVFx (accessed 31.03.2023).
 Источники информации: Москва и Россия, Levada Center, July 15, 2022, https://bit.ly/3Z8ymSU (accessed 31.03.2023).
 Россияне устали от пропаганды: аудитория государственного ТВ рухнула на 25%, The Moscow Times, August 22, 2022, https://bit.ly/3GriEMh (accessed 31.03.2023).
 On the margin, it is worth mentioning that the last financial report posted on the VGTRK website is from 2021, https://vgtrk.ru/info (accessed 31.03.2023).
 U.S. Treasury Takes Sweeping Action Against Russia’s War Efforts, U.S. Department Of The Treasury, May 8, 2022, https://bit.ly/43j3530 (accessed 31.03.2023).
 This was announced by the media of the self-proclaimed republics, including the Lugansk Information Centre, see: ВГТРК открывает свои отделения в ЛНР, ДНР, Херсонской и Запорожской областях, October 24, 2022, Lugansk Information Centre, https://bit.ly/3KfvIa3 (accessed 31.03.2023).
 Between 2015 and July 2022, EUvsDisinfo published 1055 reports connected with disinformation spread by RT in all languages, see: Disinfo database, op. cit.
 In the US, the pro-Kremlin channel ceased broadcasting in March 2022, after its main production company was shut down due to "unforeseen business interruption events", J. Barr, RT America goes off the air amid backlash to Kremlin-funded media, The Washington Post, March 3, 2022, https://wapo.st/40jVFuh (accessed 31.03.2023). See also: A. Sherman, Russia-backed cable news station RT America shuts down operations immediately amid Ukraine invasion, https://cnb.cx/3mUGZ6h (accessed 31.03.2023).
 Ukraine: Sanctions on Kremlin-backed outlets Russia Today and Sputnik, European Commission website, https://bit.ly/3lmrt2B (accessed 31.03.2023). See also: website of the European External Action Service's East StratCom Task Force, https://euvsdisinfo.eu/ (accessed 31.03.2023).
 L. O'Carroll, J. Waterson, Russian-backed RT channel to lose Sky TV slot in UK within 24 hours, March 1, 2022, https://bit.ly/3LE8Z8r (accessed 31.03.2023).
 W. James, Britain sanctions Russian media, targeting disinformation, March 31, 2022, https://reut.rs/3JYUUBv (accessed 31.03.2023).
 Canada imposes new sanctions on Russian TV, media and head of Russian Orthodox Church, Global News, July 8, 2022, https://bit.ly/3ndCmEI (accessed 31.03.2023).
 La chaîne d’information russe RT France annonce sa «fermeture», Le Monde, January 21, 2023, https://bit.ly/3ZUuAxX (accessed 31.03.2023).
 M. Killeen, RT Germany to shut down following latest EU sanctions, Euractiv, February 6, 2023, https://bit.ly/3lpscAg (accessed 31.03.2023). It's worth mentioning here that sanctions can be easily circumvented - not only using VPNs, but also selected video sharing platforms. In Germany, for example, RT can be easily accessed through one of the popular platforms, see, for example, https://bit.ly/3KCwmgL.
 J. Ospina-Valencia, Russia's propaganda war in Latin America, Deutsche Welle, April 13, 2022, https://bit.ly/3JQ60J2 (accessed 31.03.2023).
 “RT en Español is more successful than any of the other services of RT”, see more: G. Kahn, Despite Western bans, Putin’s propaganda flourishes in Spanish on TV and social media, Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, March 30, 2023, https://bit.ly/3zpsCd0 (accessed 31.03.2023).
 A. Sguazzin, Banned in Europe, Kremlin-Backed RT Channel Turns to Africa, Bloomberg, July 22, 2022, https://bloom.bg/3zFucHW (accessed 31.03.2023).
 RT Launches Local Website, Broadcasting in Serbia, The Moscow Times, November 15, 2022, https://bit.ly/3ZWMMXJ (accessed 31.03.2023).
 А. Перцев, В Кремле решили, что Россия должна возглавить мировое «антиколониальное движение», утверждают источники «Медузы». Его идеология: Америке — ***** На это собираются выделить миллиарды рублей, Meduza, November 11, 2022, https://bit.ly/3yVHOOW (accessed 31.03.2023).
 TASS website, https://bit.ly/400L5rd (accessed 31.03.2023). As written on the agency's website, “In 2022, more than 2.9 million content items in various formats were provided across all TASS platforms.”
 S. Aleksashenko, Enough money to keep the war going, Re: Russia, December 7, 2022, https://bit.ly/411xiC0 (accessed 31.03.2023).