Russia launches foreign news service to fight West's 'propaganda'

Russia launches a new news service to challenge Western "propaganda" (AFP Photo/Kirill Kudryavtsev) (AFP/File)

Moscow (AFP) - Russia launched a new state-funded foreign news service Monday to challenge the "aggressive propaganda" of the West and provide an "alternative interpretation" of global events.

The new media brand, Sputnik, is the reworked foreign language service of the state-owned RIA Novosti news agency and Voice of Russia radio, which underwent a major rehaul last December under the leadership of notorious anchorman Dmitry Kiselyov.

Launching Sputnik before an audience including diplomats and government officials, Kiselyov said the new outlet will propagate a "multi-coloured" world where "Russia is Russian."

"We are against aggressive propaganda that is now being fed to the world and which forces a unipolar construction of the world," he said.

"We believe that it is unrealistic, that it leads humanity toward suffering and blood, and that there will be nothing good along this path."

Kiselyov is well-known as an anchor of weekend programming on the Rossiya channel, where he at one point boasted that Russia could turn the United States into radioactive ash.

In another infamous talk show appearance, Kiselyov suggested that homosexuals should be banned from donating blood and their hearts burned if they are involved in a car accident.

RIA Novosti was hastily disbanded in December and Kiselyov put at the helm of the newly-created Rossiya Segodnya.

While RIA Novosti continues to use the brand in the Russian language, its foreign language website and social networking pages now redirect to SputnikNews.

In March Kiselyov was blacklisted by the European Union due to his "propaganda supporting the deployment of Russian forces in Ukraine."

He said the new company would focus on radio and online formats, hiring up to 70 people in each of its "hubs" around the world, including all of the former Soviet countries, Washington, Beijing, and several European capitals.

"We will give alternative interpretations for which there is definitely a demand in the world," he said.

"The world is tired that one country is considering itself exceptional and bound to lead," Kiselyov said, clearly referring to the United States.

He stressed that total coverage every day in four languages -- English, Chinese, Arabic and Spanish -- will exceed that of Radio Moscow, the Soviet foreign broadcaster that was the Kremlin's mouthpiece during the Cold War.

Russia has been waging an information war over the crisis in Ukraine at a time when relations with the West are at their lowest point since the Cold War.