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Russia, Belarus to create joint state media outlet

by Nate Ostiller and The Kyiv Independent news desk January 30, 2024 10:18 AM 2 min read
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko (L) speaks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin (R) during their meeting at the State Russian Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia, on Dec. 27, 2022. (Alexey Danichev/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images)
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Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko signed a decree on Jan. 29 approving the creation of a joint state-run media outlet.

The announcement was made by Maksut Shadaev, the head of Russia's Digital Development Ministry, and initially reported by the Russian state-run media outlet TASS.

The nominal separation between Russia and Belarus has all but vanished since the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Belarus has not directly participated in the all-out war, but allowed Russia to use its territory as a staging ground for the initial invasion. Russia has continued to attack Ukraine from Belarusian territory.

Russian nuclear weapons have also been deployed in Belarus.

The decree signed on Jan. 29 would entail the creation of a jointly-run media operation incorporating two preexisting newspapers, an online magazine, and a television channel, all of which will follow a "unified, coordinated policy."

The plan has been in the works since at least 2023.

In discussions about creating such a unified outlet, Lukashenko said in April 2023 that it was necessary not to "lose the battle for minds and hearts."

Lukashenko's regime regularly targets those who have voiced opposition to his rule or openly hold pro-democracy views and continues to crack down on those with links to the mass protests that followed the Belarusian presidential election in 2020.

Lukashenko’s regime starts investigation against 20 Belarusian analysts, experts
The Investigative Committee of Belarus launched a “special investigation” against 20 analysts, sociologists, and economists who have given comments for independent Belarusian media, Radio Svaboda reported on Jan. 25.
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