"Putin’s tycoon to buy media empire in Serbia" - daily
Russia plans to buy a national broadcaster in Serbia;Russian billionaire Konstantin Malofeev, close to Vladimir Putin, is mentioned as the prospective buyer.Source: Blic
This was reported by Belgrade-based daily Blic on Tuesday.
Apart from a national broadcaster, the paper said, quoting a source- Malofeev "intends to buy one cable channel, daily newspapers and an advertising agency, while a minor stake in the whole business will belong to Serbian tycoon Bogoljub Karic."
“Karic is the main point of contact and middle man. Until this business of acquiring a TV is not over, Russia will not sit still. They intend to make some heavy investments into the internet site Sputnik Serbia. It will be followed by a cable TV program, and for a start, the rebroadcasting of Russian television Russia Today that is openly in favor of Vladimir Putin," the source has been quoted.
The paper said that “Russia Today” is "a part of TV Novosti, an 'autonomous non-profit organization', established by Russian state news agency RIA Novosti, financed by Kremlin," and that "in December, 2008, Putin had placed TV Novosti on the list of organizations that are strategically significant to Russia" and one "believed to have used almost USD 1 billion from the Russian budget."
The paper quotes "those familiar with relations between media and politics" as "asking not why Kremlin is doing this but why something has not been done so far - why now, when the Russian economy is in crisis, with the very low price of oil."
The article said that "the answer could be found in the forthcoming general elections in Serbia, while pro-Russian political parties in Serbia nowadays are the most popular they have been in the last 15 years" with "the coalition DSS-Dveri and the SRS list of Vojislav Seselj having a good chance to sit in the parliamentary benches."
"Future MPs of SNS from Tomislav Nikolic’s fraction and especially those from Karic’s PSS should not be forgotten. Therefore, Putin would have a hundred MPs in the next Serbian parliament in his favor. Do we need clearer sign that Russia justifiably believes that investing into media empire in Serbia would pay off very well in the political currency?," asks the newspaper.
In a follow up on Wednesday, Blic writes, under the headline, "In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Putin" that "a team of well-paid lawyers of Konstantin Malofeev, the extremely religious Russian tycoon, has been touring through Serbia for a year, looking for a chance to buy a media company," describing Malofeev as “Putin’s Soros” - due to his close ties with the Kremlin.
“We had expected for him to appear among interested parties in the process of media privatization, but that has not happened”, a Blic source, "familiar with business ventures of the Russian tycoon," stated.
The article further said that Malofeev "wants to achieve a two-folded result": the representation of Russian geopolitical interests and offering support to pro-Russian political parties in Serbia, and, "the spreading of very conservative religious values that Malofeev described to the Western media as 'Orthodox, patriotic and imperial'."
"As an ardent monarchist, Malofeev is eager to restore Russian Empire in its full scope, as well as advocating for the institution of the emperor to be restored. Last year, he launched an Orthodox broadcaster in Russia named Constantinople, that promotes such opinions and standpoints, investing in it dozens of millions of euros, hiring, paradoxically, the biggest U.S. TV experts of conservative orientation," writes Blic.
The paper added he also "bought TV stations in Bulgaria and Greece," while "his St. Basil the Great Charitable Foundation represents the biggest Russian Orthodox charitable foundation."