Russia’s leading media holding company, controlled by state energy giant Gazprom, will launch an app similar to the TikTok social network for video sharing, the group’s CEO said on Wednesday.
The Kommersant Business Daily quoted Alexander Zharov, CEO of Gazprom-Media, as saying that the holding company had bought a service called “Ya Molodets” (“I am great”).
According to Zharov, the app was developed with support from the Innopraktika Foundation, an organization run by Katerina Tikhonova – one of the alleged daughters of President Vladimir Putin.
Gazprom-Media will “use the project’s software to accelerate the creation of a new video service for Russian bloggers,” said Zharov, adding that it will be launched within two years.
The app supports sharing of short vertical videos, similar to the Chinese social network TikTok.
Zharov took over the helm of Gazprom-Media earlier this year after resigning from his post as head of the Russian media watchdog, Roskomnadzor, who was behind the failed blockade of the Telegram intelligence service.
Gazprom-Media is one of the largest media organizations in Russia and owns some of the most watched television channels and a number of radio stations.
Earlier this month, Zharov announced that Gazprom-Media would launch two YouTube-like websites over the next two years. One of them is an improved version of the Rutube streaming service – a platform for Russian speakers that Gazprom-Media acquired in 2008.
On Wednesday, Zharov said the holding had “worked for about a year to modernize it and make it no worse than YouTube in terms of tools”.
In recent years, YouTube has become an increasingly popular platform for young Russians. Some of the most watched channels are viewed tens of millions of times.
It has also become a source of independent news and an alternative to major television channels, most of which are under state control.
The authorities have steadily increased their efforts to tighten control over the Russian Internet segment under the pretext of combating online extremism.
Earlier Wednesday the House of Commons passed laws that would allow Internet platforms, including YouTube, to be blocked if found guilty of “censorship” and “discrimination”.
(This story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)