Russian TV Bosses Line Up for Culture Minister's Job

Oleg Dobrodeyev, Konstantin Ernst and Vladimir Kulistikov are the most likely candidates to take the helm.

MOSCOW – Heads of the country’s three biggest state-run TV companies are reportedly lining up for the job of Russia’s culture minister, who will control mass media in the new government.

Oleg Dobrodeyev, head of VGTRK, which runs Rossiya, Rossiya 2 and a host of other TV and radio stations; Konstantin Ernst, Channel One’s chief; and NTV boss Vladimir Kulistikov are the most likely candidates to head the country’s culture ministry, according to a report run by Nezavisimaya Gazeta, in which it quoted a source close to the government.

In the new government, which is to be sworn in following Vladimir Putin’s inauguration as president in early May, the communications ministry is to be stripped of control over the media, and it is to be transferred to the culture ministry. According to Nezavisimaya’s source, current culture minister Alexander Avdeyev won’t keep his job in the new government, headed by now-president Dmitry Medvedev, and one of the three TV bosses will take the job, with Dobrodeyev having the best chances at this point.

Channel One is Russia’s top TV station in terms of the audience share, followed by Rossiya and NTV. Meanwhile, NTV has lately found itself in the middle of a controversy after airing a documentary that many observers said was rigged in a bid to smear the opposition. Libel suits have been filed against the station.

Neither the TV stations, nor the government would comment on the report.