Prigozhin’s media holding Patriot and ‘troll factory’ cease operations

Seven media connected to the holding are no longer being updated

Russian businessman and founder of PMC Wagner Yevgeny Prigozhin has halted the operations of media holding Patriot and closed the “troll factory” (officially known as the Internet Research Agency), St. Petersburg media outlet Rotonda reports.

Russian newspaper Kommersant writes that Russia’s media watchdog Roskomnadzor has blocked the websites of media outlets connected to Prigozhin — RIA FAN, Politics Today, Economics Today, Nevskiye Novosti, and Narodniye Novosti; the reasoning wasn’t provided.

The editorial office of Nevskiye Novosti has confirmed that it was ceasing operations. Their statement did not include the reason for the media being closed down.

Russian state-owned news agency TASS has also confirmed, citing several employees of the closed media, that the Patriot media holding was ceasing operations. According to the people TASS talked to, “they were messaged by their bosses and promised they’d be paid their salary for the last month next week”.

According to the information shared by Telegram channel Rybar, which is affiliated with Prigozhin’s media, “today, the employees of the media outlets were told that they no longer had jobs.” The post notes that most of the workers were not formally employed.

“Prigozhin’s social network ЯRus has also been closed down. Concord [Catering] is also done — according to unverified reports, the food services will be shared among the businesses connected to the current leadership of Russia’s Defence Ministry. The shares are being shopped around,” the Telegram channel reports.

Media outlet Agentstvo notes that websites of seven outlets connected to the Patriot media holding have stopped being updated. Among them are Economics Today, Politics Today, Nevskiye Novosti, and Narodniye Novosti. The last time they were updated was on Thursday, 29 June.

Today, 30 June, only RIA FAN and PolitPuzzle posted new articles, as well as the Telegram channel of the Narodniye Novosti outlet (not the website). Agentstvo also notes that RIA FAN is now publishing news much less frequently.

Media outlet The Bell reported on Thursday, 29 June, that the most likely new owner for the “troll factory” and the Patriot media holding would be the National Media Group owned by Russian billionaire Yury Kovalchuk. This was the opinion shared by the employees of Prigozhin questioned by The Bell. They also seemed to be certain that the new owner of the media empire founded by Prigozhin would be controlled “directly by the presidential administration”.

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