In Cyrillic, the channel’s name is HTB, whereby TB stands for television, while the letter H may stand for the word novoie, meaning “new,” as well as for the word nezavisimoie, meaning “independent.” The television channel was a pioneer of post-Soviet independent television media; however, it was later taken over by state-owned Gazprom, causing a major controversy in Russia and abroad. The channel was founded in 1993 by Vladimir Gusinsky, a Russian oligarch, who managed to hire Russia’s best news journalists and news anchors, including Leonid Parfenov, Mikhail Osokin, Tatyana Mitkova, and others. The channel set extremely high professional standards, giving live coverage and critical analysis of events as well as displaying innovative studio and program design. The channel was home to many successful programs, including Segodnia (Today), a prime-time news show, Itogi (Summary), a weekly commentary program, and Kukly (Puppets), a satirical program. The channel was also popular for its creative entertainment programs. By the end of the millennium, NTV’s audience was over 100 million, covering about 70 percent of the federation. However, since the Gazprom takeover, the station’s reputation has diminished as has the quality of its programming, which is now entertainment-centric. The fate of the network is seen as a barometer of independent media in Vladimir Putin’s Russia. NTV is also available in the other countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

Historical Dictionary of the Russian Federation. . 2010.

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