As tensions between Russia and the U.S. escalate over the invasion of Ukraine, RT America, a Russian-state-funded media outlet is being permanently closed.
Fox News was informed by an employee of RT America that she and 120 other staff members, who were all described as Americans, were told in a meeting that Thursday that operations would be stopped at the network’s Washington D.C. headquarters. This also applies to the New York, Los Angeles, and Miami bureaus. According to the staffer, employees were offered severance packages.
T&R Productions, RT America’s production company, sent a memo to staff advising them about mass layoffs.
In a memo obtained by CNN, Misha Solodovnikov, general manager of T&R, wrote that T&R Productions, LLC (or ‘T&R’), will cease production due to unforeseen business interruptions. She also stated that she had to lay off the majority of her staff at all its locations. “Unfortunately, this layoff will be temporary, which will lead to the permanent separation of employment for most T&R employees at any location.”
“We are deeply sorry and fully understand the uncertainty that this decision will cause for our valued employees. Solodovnikov said to staff that we deeply appreciate your dedication and contributions to your jobs during this difficult time and would keep you informed of any developments.
RT America was under intense scrutiny for its coverage of the ongoing crisis between Russia, Ukraine. Critics accused the Russia-sponsored news agency of propagandizing Kremlin propaganda.
Rebekah Koffler, a former officer with Defense Intelligence Agency, stated that they wanted to separate the word “Russia ‘…” from their name. She also explained that they routinely hire English-speaking Americans, which is typical Russian tradecraft. They do this not only in the media, but also in intelligence. They are always on the lookout for retired intelligence officers, disgruntled people, or those who want to get another job, or retired military personnel. They have it in many languages.
Koffler stated that Russia’s goal was not to convert an anti-Russian person and make them Russia’s supporter but to create enough doubt and confusion about the facts so people are unable to draw sensible conclusions about who is right or wrong.