Russia Today

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Russia Today (RT) is "a global, round-the-clock news network of eight TV channels, broadcasting news, current affairs, and documentaries"[1]

Russia Today has a variety of programs including:

Estimated Reach

As of February 2020, the media outlet's Twitter account had over 3 million followers,[3] its Facebook page had over 5.8 million followers,[4] and its YouTube channel had over 3.8 million subscribers as well as 2.9 billion total views.[5]

A November 2015 Ipsos study "found that 70 million individuals watched some RT television weekly (36 million in Europe and eight million in the United States), and about 35 million people watched some RT daily."[6]

News and Controversies

YouTube Funding Disclaimers

In 2018, YouTube began showing U.S. viewers disclaimers under videos and live streams from state-funded sources, including Russia Today.[7]

Accused of Distorting Line Between Genuine Reporting and Propaganda, Lack of Editorial Independence

A 2017 Guardian piece describes its author's experience listening to RT for a week. As the author explained, "RT’s stated mission is to offer an 'alternative perspective on major global events', but the world according to RT is often downright surreal. Fringe opinion takes centre stage. Reporting is routinely bolstered by testimony from experts you have never heard of, representing institutions you have never heard of.[8]

Misha Glenny, author of McMafia: A Journey Through the Global Criminal Underworld, claimed: "The annoying thing about RT is that some of the reporting is very good and genuine. The trick is trying to differentiate that from the propaganda. The Russians have moved on since the days of Pravda, the Soviet Communist party newspaper, or Radio Moscow International during the cold war– at least then you knew it was all guff, coming out of the Ideological Secretariat. RT is designed to confuse and muddy the waters. That mixture of genuine and guff leaves you baffled and disoriented, which, I guess, is the point."[8]

The piece also mentioned RT reporters who resigned over editorial interference. One reporter quit while covering a story about Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, which was shot down by a missile originating in Russian separatist-controlled Ukrainian territory in 2014.[8] The former RT reporter claimed, "There is bias against Russia but you don’t counter wrong by doing even more wrong. They are putting all this money into making it look like the truth and it’s not, it’s just so sad. It’s so close sometimes to be being great. I have always said it’s better to have RT than to not have that perspective, but actually with a story like this and they way they misreport it, it’s quite dangerous, I don’t want to be party to it."[9]

Compares Own Bias to That of Other State-Funded Media

As described by The Guardian, "More than outright lies, RT deals in moral equivalency. Its defenders don’t deny bias; they deny the possibility of objectivity. They say western media is equally biased. They liken RT to state broadcasters such as the BBC, France 24 and Al Jazeera. They say other news channels have been sanctioned by Ofcom. It’s a triumph of cynicism: we’re all just as bad as each other."[8]

A 2011 RT statement about Kremlin funding and influence served as an example of the phenomenon highlighted by The Guardian. The statement was, in part, a responding to an NPR host's claim: "Though [RT has] the look and the feel of maybe BBC or CNN International, just 'cause it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck doesn't make it a duck."[10]

RT's response claimed that the BBC, France 24, Deutsche Welle, and the U.S. Corporation of Public Broadcasting, all government-funded media institutions, each aimed to advantage its respective country and spread that country's values throughout the world.[10]

RT's piece concluded by saying, "So call RT 'state-funded' if you must, but if you want to 'call a duck a duck,' as NPR’s host so eloquently put it, you might want to consider the pond we’re all swimming in."[10]


Russia Today is a nonprofit funded by the Russian government. Its budget was $402 million in 2015[11] and was $323 in 2017.[6]



As of February 2020:[12][13]


  • Margarita Simonyan, Editor-in-Chief
  • Alexey Nikolov, Managing Director

RT News

  • Nikki Aaron
  • Colin Bray
  • Oksana Boyko
  • Charlotte Dubenskij
  • Andrew Farmer
  • Maria Finoshina
  • Murad Gazdiev
  • Neil Harvey
  • Daniel Hawkins
  • Roman Kosarev
  • Peter Lavelle
  • Caleb Maupin
  • Eunan O'Neill
  • Peter Oliver
  • Kevin Owen
  • Ilya Petrenko
  • Sophie Shevardnadze
  • Paula Slier
  • Rory Suchet
  • Sean Thomas
  • Nadira Tudor
  • Alexey Yaroshevsky

RT America

  • Christy Ai
  • Rachel Blevins
  • Lee Camp
  • Manila Chan
  • Trinity Chavez
  • Steve Christakos
  • Holland Cooke
  • Regina Ham
  • Chris Hedges
  • Scottie Nell Hughes
  • Brent Jabbour
  • Naomi Karavani
  • Larry King
  • Natalie McGill
  • Sara Montes de Oca
  • Mike Papantonio
  • Rick Sanchez
  • Brigida Santos
  • Sean Stone
  • Natasha Sweatte
  • Jesse Ventura
  • Tyrel Ventura


  • Eisa M Ali
  • Martyn Andrews
  • Polly Boiko
  • Anastasia Churkina
  • Bill Dod
  • Afshin Rattansi


Bldg.3, Borovaya St.
Moscow, Russia 111020

Phone: +7 499 75-00-100

Phone: +7 499 750-00-75
ext. 1200

US bureau

Facebook: @RTnews
Twitter: @rt_com
YouTube: @RussiaToday

Articles and Resources

Related SourceWatch

External Articles

  • Julia Ioffe, "What Is Russia Today?", Columbia Journalism Review, September/October 2010, accessed February 26, 2020.


  1. Russia Today, About Us, media website, accessed February 25, 2020.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Russia Today, On Contact, media website, accessed February 25, 2020.
  3. RT, RT_com, Twitter account, accessed February 26, 2020.
  4. RT, RT news, Facebook account, accessed February 26, 2020.
  5. Russia Today, About, YouTube channel, accessed February 26, 2020.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Steven Erlanger, "What Is RT?", New York Times, March 8, 2017, accessed February 26, 2020.
  7. Janko Roettgers, "YouTube Adds Funding Disclaimers to Videos From RT, Other News Publishers", Variety, February 2, 2018, accessed February 26, 2020.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Tim Dowling, "24-hour Putin people: my week watching Kremlin ‘propaganda channel’ RT", Guardian, November 29, 2017, accessed February 26, 2020.
  9. John Plunkett, "Russia Today reporter resigns in protest at MH17 coverage", Guardian, July 18, 2014, accessed February 26, 2020.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 RT, "Is RT state-run?", RT, June 16, 2011, accessed February 26, 2020.
  11. Vladimir Kozlov, "Russia Today's Funding to Increase by 30 Percent in 2015", Hollywood Reporter, September 25, 2014, accessed February 26, 2020.
  12. RT, Management, TV program website, accessed February 26, 2020.
  13. RT, On-Air Talent, TV program website, accessed February 26, 2020.