Wednesday, February 26, 2014

WTF, Putin? Now you are destroying Russian infographics, too?

I'm OK with Vladimir Putin honoring the jokes about him being a James Bond villain. He has the looks, and he certainly seems to have the skills and stamina for it. But I'm not OK with him trampling on human rights and press freedom. This guy and his sycophants are evil, and not in a fun, cartoonish way. They are dead serious about transforming Russia into an authoritarian regime,

Last December, Putin's administration announced the dissolution of RIA Novosti, the award-winning public news agency. This is bad news for the infographics and visualization community. RIA had a very good graphics desk (1, 2, 3, 4), led by Ilya Ruderman. According to a message I've received from him, the dissolution has just become effective. He, his team, and probably many other journalists at RIA, are losing their jobs.

This is part of the story that RIA itself published in December 2013:
News agency RIA Novosti and the state-owned Voice of Russia radio will be scrapped and absorbed into a new media conglomerate called Rossiya Segodnya, according to a decree signed by President Vladimir Putin. 
The move is the latest in a series of shifts in Russia’s news landscape that appear to point toward a tightening of state control in the already heavily regulated media sector. In a separate decree published Monday, the Kremlin appointed Dmitry Kiselyov, a prominent Russian television presenter and media manager recently embroiled in a scandal over anti-gay remarks, to head Rossiya Segodnya. 
Head of the presidential administration Sergei Ivanov said the changes were about saving money and making state media more effective. “Russia has its own independent politics and strongly defends its national interests: it’s difficult to explain this to the world but we can do this, and we must do this,” Ivanov told reporters.
"More effective," right. But I am sure that the new conglomerate won't be "more effective" at telling the truth.

UPDATE: Right after writing this post, I visited to read the news. Man, I got shocked. Fortunately, this is just a smart ad for The Americans TV show: