Gazprom to create Russian YouTube alternative

In 2021-2022, Gazprom-Media Holding will introduce two online content management platforms to the Russian market - similar to the American YouTube platform, said the head of the holding, Aleksandr Jarov, at the roundtable of the National Advertising Forum.

"We now have a Rutube platform in our portfolio. We have been working on it for a long time, about a year, to modernize it, to make it, in terms of the available tools, not worse than YouTube, and in terms of various monetization mechanisms even better. This is not the only content management platform we plan to launch... I believe that in 2022 there will be a second platform," he said.

These two platforms will be different: users will be able to post videos in large and short formats.

"Since the video format can be different, either short or long, and TikTok does not have options for long format, the platform is still very attractive. That's why we are working with it, I think we will make an interesting offer next year," he said.

He added that he hopes that YouTube will not be blocked in Russia.

On November 19, a group of State Duma deputies and Senator Alexey Pushkov introduced a bill giving the Russian media watchdog, Roskomnadzor, the right to block foreign Internet resources, which, according to Russian officials, censor Russian state media.

The restictions can affect YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, which are listed in the bill’s explanatory note as violators of freedom of speech.

The new bill introduces a status of so-called "the owner of an information resource involved in violations of fundamental human rights and freedoms, the rights and freedoms of Russian citizens."

The Russian Attorney General and his deputies, in coordination with the Russian Foreign Ministry, may assign such status to the owner of an information resource that discriminates against Russian media content. Roskomnadzor may also have the right to partially or completely restrict access to the infringing resources, including slowing down their traffic.

Russia has the technical capabilities to block Western Internet resources, including Google, Alexander Khinshtein, chairman of the State Duma Committee on Information Policy, said last week.

This is an "extraordinary measure," he said, adding that "none of the sponsors of the bill wants YouTube, social networks, Google to be blocked."

"Moreover, discussing how it will look, how it will be technically implemented is like discussing the consequences of a nuclear missile strike on Washington," Khinshtein said, adding that Russia has a "technical possibility to carry out such a nuclear missile strike," although the Duma does not believe that it will be necessary.

However, this does not mean that the country needs to abandon deterrence measures, Khinshtein stressed.

  Gazrom, Kremlin, Russia, Runet