Ukraine’s Future Discussed at the Russia Today’s Foresight Forum

On June 1 Students of the Faculty of Journalism of Lomonosov Moscow State University visited the foresight forum “What kind of Ukraine do we need?” on the Russia Today’s press centre base. 

The panel discussion “Crisis of the World Order and Ukraine” was attended by the editor-in-chief of the multimedia “” Iskander Khisamov, philosopher, Doctor of Political Sciences Alexander Dugin, Acting Head of the Donetsk People’s Republic Denis Pushilin, Doctor of Historical Sciences, Professor, Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine (2002-2007), Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine (2010-2014) Dmitry Tabachnik , political scientist, publicist, writer Semyon Uralov.

The foresight forum was organized to discuss the development of modern relations between Russia and Ukraine, the modern world order and issues of language policy.

Dmitry Kiselyov, General Director of the Russia Today agency, outlined the topic of the discussion in the opening speech:

“Of course, we are talking about both Ukraine and Russia. Recently, we have been carried away by the geopolitical confrontation between Russia and the West. And it all started with Ukraine. We are probably the only ones to whom Ukraine is really important. Important with its embroidered shirts and with its language. This is our common culture”.

Continuing the topic of the two countries’ future, the speaker of the discussion Alexander Dugin spoke about his vision of the multipolarity of the world and the West’s part in it:

“We are very slightly proactive, we predict little. We need to imagine the future of Ukraine, Russia, the world order and the victory of Russia. I cannot imagine the defeat of the West. I can imagine how it can achieve its goals. It created almost irreducible paths of split. If we allowed this, then the West has already won”.

Speaking of the West’s strategy, Dugin added:

“They, of course, are leading the way to our complete annihilation, extermination. We fight to be, they fight to have. If we win, they won’t lose. This, as our Chinese colleagues say, is a win-win situation”.

Dmitry Kiselev, specifying the future of Ukraine, emphasized:

“Ukraine must always be, I must say, so that we cannot be caught by the tongue.  Ukraine forever. The only question is in what form”.

The foresight forum, organized by the multimedia, have been hosting journalists from CIS countries, China, Japan, Iran, Slovakia and a number of Arab countries. It was dedicated to the ninth anniversary of the muiltimedia’s creation.

Photo source: Aglaya Kovaleva

Russian language ranked fifth in the world

At the end of 2022, the Russian language ranked fifth in terms of competitiveness in the world. Andrey Shcherbakov, Candidate of Philology, Associate Professor, Dean of the Faculty of Philology of the Pushkin State Institute of the Russian Language, announced this at a Kostomarovsky forum’s press conference on the Russia Today media group basis:

“There is an index of the global competitiveness of the Russian language in the world. And here, in fact, there are no major changes – despite all the external circumstances of a geopolitical nature, the Russian language has retained the fifth position in the world. Of course, in terms of the number of speakers, the Russian language, for example, is still inferior to English, Chinese, Arabic, Spanish and some more. This year, by the way, in our index we recorded that there are slightly more Portuguese speakers in the world. And the Russian language in this sense has lost one position, ” said Shcherbakov.

Moreover, the number of Russian-language sites on the Internet is growing, while the number of media published in Russian in different countries of the world and the number of scientific publications remain unchanged:

“The number of, for example, Russian-language content sites in the world is growing. The number of media published in Russian in different countries of the world remains somewhat stable.  <…> The number of scientific publications, which is also very important, is fixed. It has not undergone significant changes. There is even a slight increase, ” said Shcherbakov.

It is important to note that the Russian language occupies a fairly strong position in the CIS countries. And this is due, first of all, to the fact that it is represented in education systems:

“About 90 percent of candidate and doctoral dissertations in Kyrgyzstan are defended and written in Russian. This is a really serious indicator,” Shcherbakov emphasised.

As a part of the study, we found out in which countries the Russian language occupies a leading position in the field of culture. Belarus, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan are the countries in which the Russian language is most represented in museums, libraries and theaters. Also, the Russian language is developed in the sphere of culture of Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Abkhazia and Turkmenistan.

Earlier, Chairman of the State Duma Vyacheslav Volodin said that the English language has become dead, instead it is necessary to learn other languages ​​of interethnic communication.

Photo source: Aglaya Kovaleva

Bloggers in Kazakhstan to be taxed

The lower house of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan (Majilis) has adopted the bill “On Online Platforms and Online Advertising”. Members of the Majilis are discussing the introduction of the concept of “influencer” into the law. Importantly, influencers will be forced to pay taxes and label their content to warn users of the sponsored post:

“The bill will not concern users, but first of all the very concept of online advertising. Because, as we know, huge flows of financial resources, including advertisers’ money, flow into the Internet today. We know that legal relations and relationships in this area are mostly in the shadows or in the gray area. It is known that many active users receive money in envelopes and so on. They use the Internet to create financial pyramids, engage in illegal charity, etc.,” Mazhilis deputy Aidos Sarym commented on the bill.

In addition, the law also introduces concepts related directly to advertising:

“We are introducing the concepts of “native advertising”, “targeted advertising” and other things. That is, the money that flows there must be understandable and visible to our tax authorities. We are now introducing this into the legislation, and when the Tax Code comes, all these norms will sit in it,” said Sarym.

The draft law also introduces the concepts of “inaccurate information” and “illegal information”. The penalty for the dissemination of such information will be 2 MCI (Monthly Calculated Index) – 6900 tenge.

It is important to note that the Majilismen also touched upon the topic of automatic translation of content on online platforms into the Kazakh language:

“We want to continue our work. In what area – the first, the state language. We want to have systems for automatic translation of content into Kazakh. And so that the online platforms themselves can moderate content in the Kazakh language,” Sarym emphasized.

Online platforms with only a certain number of users are required to comply with the new rules:

“These rules apply to social networks, platforms with over 100,000 users. A number of social networks, Tik-Tok, for example, they are already imported to Kazakhstan. They are already creating representative offices. Our market is interesting for them. I want to remind some of our colleagues: two years ago there were discussions that all these social networks will run away, that Kazakhstan is a country that is not interesting for platforms. All these predictions did not come true,” the deputy summed up.

As representatives of the lower house of the Republic of Kazakhstan noted, all innovations are aimed at protecting the citizens of Kazakhstan in the Internet space.

Photo source: Aglaya Kovaleva

Higher Education’s Structure in Russia to Change

On May 12, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on launching a pilot project to change the levels of higher education.

“In order to promote the improvement of the higher education system, the training of qualified personnel to meet the long-term needs of the sectors of the economy and the social sphere,” the text of the document says.

This project establishes new levels of higher education: basic and specialized. The basic level of higher education replaces the bachelor’s and specialist’s degrees. The term of study is four to six years. The next level is specialized higher education, which will replace the master’s degree, and the term of study, depending on the training program, will last from one to three years. Postgraduate study will complete the three-level system of education.

According to the presidential decree, the pilot project will be implemented in 2023–2024 and 2025–2026 academic years at the following universities: Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University (Kaliningrad); Moscow Aviation Institute (National Research University);  National Research Technological University “MISiS” (Moscow); Moscow Pedagogical State University; St. Petersburg Mining University; National Research Tomsk State University. By June 30, these universities must develop and submit educational standards and requirements for new levels of education, as well as relevant programs. The outcome of the pilot projects will influence the further development of new levels of higher education in Russia.

The number of budget places, benefits, rights and diploma standards will be developed by the Ministry of Education of the Russian Federation within three months.

It is important to note that under the new decree, students who have completed specialist programs will be able to enter the magistracy as the next step. This will not be considered a second higher education. Now graduates who received a specialist diploma after 2012, according to the law, can enter the magistracy only for paid places, because this applies to the second higher education.

Photo source: Aglaya Kovaleva

Mirror Response: Belarus to Tighten the Law on the Media

On April 18, the House of Representatives of the Belarus Republic adopted amendments to the law on mass media in the first reading. We are talking about restricting the activities of the media of other countries, which, with the help of sanctions, prevent the distribution of materials from some Belarusian media. The Ministry of Information will now be able to make decisions on foreign media, whose journalists are accredited in Belarus, without a trial.

Such amendments, as Lilia Ananich, deputy chairman of the Standing Commission on Human Rights, National Relations and the Mass Media, noted, will make it possible to respond to the manifestation of “destructive challenges and threats.”

“The bill is aimed at ensuring the constitutional right of citizens to receive complete and reliable information, protecting state and public interests, national security in the field of mass media,” the press service of the parliament reports.

So, in Belarus, it is now possible to expand the list of grounds for canceling a certificate of media outlet’s state registration and restricting access to an Internet resource, an online publication, and a news aggregator.

At the same time, if other countries lift sanctions against the Belarusian media, Belarus is ready to take similar measures in response. Ananich noted that such norms already exist in Russia:

“According to the notification of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it is proposed that the Ministry of Information will make decisions symmetrical to similar actions of unfriendly countries.  Exactly the same procedure will apply to the cancellation of such prohibitive measures. These are not new norms. They also operate in the Russian information space. We must fully ensure national interests,” Lilia Ananich stressed.

The deputy also noted that the law will fix the rules on Internet aggregators: these resources will not be able to distribute information prohibited in Belarus, they will not be able to broadcast foreign television without the permission of the Ministry of Information. The same will apply to the distribution of videos from TV channels that do not have state registration in Belarus.

The innovations proposed by the deputies are related to ensuring the protection of the information field during the period of electoral campaigns.

Photo source: Aglaya Kovaleva

Telegram Channels Wanted to Be Equated to the Media

The head of the Presidential Council for the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights (HRC), Valery Fadeev, suggested to analyze the work of Telegram channels and, possibly, introduce legislative regulation for them, similar to the media.

Valery Fadeev, commenting on the need to adopt this law, explained that some of the Telegram channels are similar to newsrooms, which “in terms of content and meaning of activity are no different from traditional media. At the same time, traditional media operate within the framework of the law, the law provides for serious liability for lies, slander, and violation of secrecy.”

“The legislation even now allows holding channel owners and their administrators accountable for spreading fakes, slander, disclosure of state secrets and other offenses,” said media lawyer Svetlana Kuzevanova.

“The only difficulty that arises with prosecution is the removal of anonymity and the identification of who directly owns or administers the Telegram channel. What can registration give if, nevertheless, this proposal acquires the format of a legislative initiative? First of all, this is a way out of the anonymous field,” she said in an interview with Vedomosti.

The regulation of Telegram channels is also complicated by the fact that the messenger is divided into two companies on behalf of which activities are carried out: Telegram Group Inc. (place of registration – British Virgin Islands) and Telegram FZ-LLC (Dubai).

It should be noted that Telegram occupies a huge share in the information agenda within the Russian audience. This messenger has become the most popular in the Russian Federation in 2022, according to telecom operators. The growth of the daily Telegram audience since January 2022 was plus 104%. According to the New Media channel, in March 2023, Telegram overtook YouTube for the first time in terms of the number of daily audience (50.9 million people for the messenger, for video hosting – 50.7 million).

Photo source: Aglaya Kovaleva