Channel One Russia

Channel One (Russian: Первый канал, tr. Pervyy kanal, IPA: [ˈpʲervɨj kɐˈnal], lit. 'First Channel') is the first television channel to broadcast in the Russian Federation. Its headquarters are located at Ostankino Technical Center near the Ostankino Tower in Moscow.

Channel One
Первый канал
Broadcast areaRussia
HeadquartersMoscow, Russia
Picture format1080i HDTV
(downscaled to 576i for the SDTV feed)
Owner(in 2020)
Federal Agency for State Property Management (38.9%)
National Media Group (29%)
VTB Capital (20%)[1]
TASS (9.1%)
Ostankino Technical Center (3.0%)[2]
Sister channelsKarusel'
Dom kino
Music One TV
Dom kino Premium
Perviy Kanal Evraziya
Launched27 December 1991; 29 years ago (1991-12-27)
ReplacedProgramme One
Former names1991-1995: Channel 1 Ostankino
1995–2002: Public Russian Television (ORT)
Links (Russian) (Russian) (English)
Digital terrestrial televisionChannel 1
National Cable NetworksVHF Channel R2
naxoo (Switzerland)Channel 302
Rogers Cable (Canada)Channel 886
NTV PlusChannel 118
Sky ItaliaChannel 577
EutelSat Hotbird 13°1TVRUS Europe
DirecTV (USA)Channel 2140
Tivibu (Turkey)Channel 190
Streaming media
Channel One internet

First among Russia's country-wide channels, Channel One has more than 250 million viewers worldwide.[3]

From 1995 to 2002, the channel was known as Public Russian Television (Russian: Общественное Российское Телевидение, tr. Obshchestvennoye Rossiyskoye Televideniye, ORT) or Russian Public Television.[4]


When the Soviet Union was abolished, the Russian Federation took over most of its structures and institutions. One of the first acts of Boris Yeltsin's new government was his signing of a presidential decree on 27 December 1991, providing for Russian jurisdiction over the central television system. The 'All-Union State TV and Radio Company' (Gosteleradio) was transformed into the 'Russian State TV and Radio Company Ostankino'.

A presidential decree of 30 November 1994 transformed Ostankino into a closed joint-stock company, Russian Public TV (Obshchestvennoe Rossiyskoye Televidenie or ORT). The shares were distributed between state agencies (51%) and private shareholders, including numerous banks (49%). The partial privatization was inspired by the intolerable financial situation of Ostankino owing to huge transmission costs and a bloated payroll (total staff of about 10,000 in early 1995).

Following the 1998 financial collapse, the channel obtained a government loan of $100 million from state-controlled bank Vneshekonombank.[5] Also in 1998, the closed joint stock company was transformed into an open stock company. However, controlling votes on the board of directors remained in the hands of structures linked to then-Kremlin-connected businessman Boris Berezovsky. Thanks to this state of affairs, Berezovsky was able to preserve control over the channel's cash flows as well as over its editorial line until 2002.

From 1 April 1995 until late 2002, the channel was called ORT (ОРТ—Общественное Российское Телевидение, Obshchestvennoye Rossiyskoye Televideniye; Public Russian Television). It maintained the traditional programs and shows of the First Channel of the Soviet Television (RTO), such as Vremya, KVN, Chto? Gde? Kogda?, V mire zhivotnykh and Travelers' Club; the last two are no longer on the air of this channel.


The main broadcasting center is in Ostankino tower, Moscow. In September 2008 the channel installed new digital audio mixing systems in their new state-of-the-art broadcast complex located in the Ostankino Television Technical Centre in Moscow. The new Channel One news facility opened in March 2008 and features advanced server technology with equipment from the world's leading television equipment manufacturers such as Thomson, EVS, and HP. Spearheading the transition of the renovated news facilities was Okno TV.[6] Channel One began broadcasting a 1080i high-definition signal on 24 December 2012.[7]

Channel One can be streamed on the internet for free. However, due to copyright restrictions, it is only viewable by internet users in Russia. Users outside Russia will receive this message: "По требованию правообладателя запрещено к просмотру онлайн в вашем регионе.” (English: At the request of the copyright holder, it is prohibited to view online in your region.)

Logo historyEdit


Channel One has produced many films, including four of the highest-grossing Russian movies after the Soviet collapse, Night Watch (2004), The Turkish Gambit (2005), Day Watch (2006), and The Irony of Fate 2 (2007). It airs the Russian adaptations of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, Survivor, and Star Factory, as well as many homegrown productions.

Original programmingEdit

International series that were broadcasting on Channel OneEdit

Former International and Russian animated seriesEdit


Walt Disney PresentsEdit

Political coverageEdit

In autumn of 1999 the channel actively participated in State Duma electoral campaign by criticizing Moscow mayor Yuriy Luzhkov, Yevgeny Primakov and their party Fatherland-All Russia, major opponents of the pro-Putin party Unity. Sergey Dorenko, popularly dubbed as TV-killer, was a close ally of business oligarch and media magnate Boris Berezovsky. From September 1999 to September 2000 he hosted the influential weekly program simply called Sergey Dorenko's Program on Saturdays at 9 pm. This was especially heavy on criticism and mercilessly attacked Putin's opponents.[9][10][11]

In August 2000, however, his program criticized how the Putin government handled the explosion of the Russian submarine Kursk. When Dorenko's show was in turn suspended on 9 September 2000, ORT director-general Konstantin Ernst insisted that — contrary to Dorenko's allegations — the government had not been involved in the change. Ernst stated that he yanked the show because Dorenko had defied his orders to stop discussing the government's plan to nationalize Boris Berezovsky's 49-percent stake in the network.[12][13][14]

Berezovsky claims that in 2001 he was forced by the Putin administration to sell his shares. He first tried to sell them to a third party, but failed. A close friend of Berezovsky, Nikolai Glushkov, was arrested while seriously ill, and Berezovsky gave up the shares and transferred them to Roman Abramovich's Sibneft with the understanding that Glushkov would then be released. This promise was not fulfilled.[15][16] Soon after Berezovsky's withdrawal, the new ownership changed the channel's name to Pervy Kanal (Channel One). Konstantin Ernst remains as general director. As of 2008, Channel One's minority shares are held by three little-known companies, ORT-KB, Eberlink2002, and Rastrkom-2002. Their parent companies are domiciled in Panama and Seychelles and are managed by Evrofinans Group. The ultimate owner is still believed to be Roman Abramovich, who also controls the Video International advertising agency, the exclusive media seller of Channel One.

Russian television media in the Putin era have been criticised for the pro-government bias.[17] The critics charge that Channel One's news and information programs are frequently used for propaganda purposes. These critics contend that Channel One airs a disproportionate number of stories focusing on positive aspects of official government policy, while largely neglecting certain controversial topics such as war in Chechnya or social problems. In addition, some have argued that the station's news reports often blur the line between factual reporting and editorial commentary, especially when broadcasting stories concerning Russian government policies or goals. For example, during the 2004 Ukrainian presidential elections, many political observers believe the Russian government actively supported the candidacy of then Ukrainian Prime-minister Viktor Yanukovych over that of Viktor Yushchenko. In a 13 October 2004 news story, Channel One reporter Natalya Kondratyuk declared that "the Premier [Yanukovich], as a candidate, is adding to his ratings by working on the economy and by solving current social problems; he does not use slogans; he is not criticizing his opponent; and he is not creating scandals. Yushchenko’s style of campaigning is diametrically opposite."

Vladimir Posner interviews U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on the "Posner Show" in Moscow, 19 March 2010

In another controversial example, on a 23 January 2005 broadcast, in the midst of widespread protests against a new reform of Russia's social benefits system (L'goty), a Channel One anchor opined, "you can understand, and should understand, those who went out on the streets, but you also have to understand that the old system has completely outlived its use." Later, in the same story, a reporter characterized those protesting against the reforms as political opportunists, adding, "criticizing the reform is good PR." A few days later, on 27 January 2005, as the protests continued across Russia, a Channel One reporter noted, "You can understand the elderly [protestors, but] repealing free [bus] fares was the last hope for public transport."

Similarly, on a 12 February 2005 broadcast, a Channel One anchor declared, "The key question of the week has been: how are Presidents [Mikheil] Saakashvili [of Georgia]) and Yushchenko [of Ukraine] different? At first, it seemed the difference was only in their appearance, in all other ways, they were like characters from the film Attack of the Clones for us." Critics of Channel One news argue that hundreds of similar examples exist where station news reporters and anchors insert editorial commentary into news reports, almost always to commend perceived allies of Russia or criticize perceived enemies.

As of 2006, Vladimir Posner, Ekaterina Andreeva, Petr Tolstoy and Mikhail Leontiev are among the most prominent political journalists of the channel. On Sunday, 28 January 2006, the Channel One news and analytical program Sunday Time (Voskresnoye Vremya) hosted by Petr Tolstoy distorted the content of a speech by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko related to the Russia-Belarus energy dispute to the contrary by editing it and deleting some crucial words.[18]

According to a BBC News analysis by Stephen Ennis the channel has in its reports about Ukraine's war in Donbas "sought to further demonise and dehumanise the Ukrainian army".[19]

A 16 January 2016 Channel One news reports on a 13-year-old girl with German and Russian citizenship in Berlin who was allegedly raped by immigrants was denounced by the German police as fake.[20] German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has accused the Russian government of using the alleged rape for "political propaganda".[20]

On 26 February 2018 Channel One used footage from multinational military simulation organization Echelon International, attempting to pass it off as authentic Syrian War footage.[21]

Management and shareholdersEdit


According to the inspection[22] conducted by the Audit Chamber of Russia and initiated by MP Alexander Lebedev, in 2005 the channel had the following shareholders structure and board of directors:

  • Rosimushchestvo – 38.9%;
  • ORT Bank Consortium – 24%;
  • RastrKom 2002 – 14%;
  • EberLink – 11%;
  • ITAR TASS – 9.1%;
  • TTTs – 3%.
Alexey Gromov (Chairman of the Board of Directors, Press Secretary of President Vladimir Putin)
Konstantin Ernst (Director General of the Channel One)
Alexander Dzasokhov (then President of North Ossetia–Alania)
Galina Karelova (Chairman of Russia's Social Insurance Fund)
Mikhail Lesin (Adviser to President Vladimir Putin, former Mass Media Minister)
Nikita Mikhalkov (President of Russia's Cinematographers Union)
Mikhail Piotrovsky (Director of the State Hermitage Museum)
Ilya Reznik (poet, composer)
Alexander Chaikovsky (Chairman of the Composition Department of Moscow Conservatory)
Mikhail Shvydkoi (Chief of the Federal Agency of Culture and Cinematography, former Culture Minister of Russia)

ORT Bank Consortium, RastrKom 2002 and EberLink (49%) are controlled by Roman Abramovich, while Rosimushchestvo, ITAR TASS and TTTs vote on behalf of the Russian state (51%).[23]


As of 2006, the Board of Directors of the Channel One consisted of:

Sergei Naryshkin (Chairman of the Board of Directors, Minister, Chief of Staff of the Russian Government);
Konstantin Ernst (Director General of the Channel One);
Lyudmila Pridanova (Deputy Head of Rosimushchestvo);
Alexey Gromov (Press Secretary of President Vladimir Putin);
Mikhail Lesin (Adviser to President Vladimir Putin, former Mass Media Minister);
Nikita Mikhalkov (President of Russia's Cinematographers Union);
Mikhail Piotrovsky (Director of the State Hermitage Museum);
Ilya Reznik (poet, composer);
Alexander Chaikovsky (Chairman of the Composition Department of Moscow Conservatory, Rector of Saint Petersburg Conservatory);
Mikhail Shvydkoi (Chief of the Federal Agency of Culture and Cinematography, former Culture Minister of Russia).

Eurovision Song Contest 2009Edit

Channel One was the host broadcaster of Eurovision Song Contest 2009, announced in December 2008, in a press conference at the GUM shopping centre. [1]

Channel One director Konstantin Ernst was present at the press conference.

Sister channelsEdit


Channel One owns some digital-only television channels (under brand Channel One Digital TV-family, Цифровое телесемейство Первого канала):



Original programming on historical themesEdit

Some of the television period dramas produced by Channel One were series criticized for low level of historical accuracy, for instance – Brezhnev,[24] The Saboteur,[25] Yesenin[26] and Trotsky.[27]

Cruelty to animalsEdit

The morning of 12 January 2008 on the program Health (Russian: «Здоровье») with Yelena Malysheva about Guillain–Barré syndrome, in one of the sections a rat was violently killed. Some of the viewers said, first, that this was intolerable in a program whose audience includes children and, secondly, it was contrary to the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.[28][29][30][31][32] In particular, some claim that viewing such violent and cruel scenes poorly affected the health of some children and people.[33]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Abramovich has sold VTB share in the "Channel One"". Коммерсантъ. 7 March 2019.
  2. ^ "National Media Group acquired 4% of the shares of Channel One from Roman Abramovich's company". Интерфакс. 26 August 2018.
  3. ^ "Partner Network of the Month: Channel One Russia". International Media Distribution. Archived from the original on 21 January 2014. Retrieved 18 September 2013.
  4. ^ "Home Page ORT (English)". 19 April 1997. Archived from the original on 19 April 1997. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
  5. ^ Television in the Russian Federation: Organisational Structure, Program Production and Audience
  6. ^ "Avid – Channel One News". Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  7. ^ "Вещание в HD, онлайн-чат с Алексеем Ефимовым". Archived from the original on 7 May 2015. Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  8. ^ "1tvru". Archived from the original on 5 February 2017. Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  9. ^ Russian Elections (transcript), Jim Lehrer NewsHour, PBS, 17 December 1999. Accessed online 23 April 2008.
  10. ^ Emma Gray, Putin's Media War, CPJ Press Freedom Reports, 27 March 2000. Accessed online 23 April 2008.
  11. ^ A. Petrova, TV journalist Sergey Dorenko Archived 27 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine, The Public Opinion Foundation Database. 21 September 2000. Accessed online 23 April 2008.
  12. ^ Russia 2000 Country Report, CPJ. Accessed online 23 April 2008.
  13. ^ Elena Dikun, The Kremlin Sets About Cleaning Up the Airwaves Archived 17 October 2006 at the Wayback Machine, The Jamestown Foundation Prism, Volume 6, Issue 9, 30 September 2000. Accessed online 23 April 2008.
  14. ^ Andrei Zolotov Jr. and Simon Saradzhyan, Dorenko Program Has Plug Pulled Archived 20 March 2014 at the Wayback Machine, The St. Petersburg Times, Issue #602, 12 September 2000. Accessed online 23 April 2008.
  15. ^ ORT officials accused of contraband and evading customs tariffs Archived 22 November 2006 at the Wayback Machine, The Jamestown Foundation Monitor, Volume 7, Issue 2, 3 January 2001. Accessed online 23 April 2008.
  16. ^ (in Russian) Владимир Прибыловский (Vladimir Pribylovsky), Юрий Фельштинский (Yuri Felshtinsky), Операция "Наследник" (Operatsya "Naslednik", "Operation 'Heirs'"), online excerpt from the book Штрихи к политическому портрету В. В. Путина (Shchtrihi k politicheskomu portretu V. V. Putina, "Sketches toward a political portrait of Vladimir Putin"). Accessed 23 April 2008.
  17. ^ For example, see Index on Censorship Volume 37, Number 1, 2008, issue entitled "How Free is the Russian Media?"
  18. ^ (1) (in Russian) Как делали провокацию по Лукашенке (ОРТ) Archived 10 February 2007 at the Wayback Machine (Kak delali provokatsi po Lukashchenke (ORT), "How they provoked on Lukashenko (ORT)"),
    (2) (in Russian) video (in Russian) Archived 23 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine (FLV file)
    (3) (in Russian) text of original speech in Russian Archived 19 May 2007 at the Wayback Machine (ITAR-TASS)
  19. ^ How Russian TV uses psychology over Ukraine Archived 20 March 2017 at the Wayback Machine, BBC News (4 February 2015)
  20. ^ a b Russia having success in hybrid war against Germany by Lucian Kim (7 February 2016)
  21. ^ Kiseleva, Maria (26 February 2018). "Russian TV Airs Fake Syria War Footage". BBC.
  22. ^ (in Russian) С. А. Агапцов (S.A. Agaptsov), Контроль расходов федерального бюджета на здравоохранение, социальную политику и за бюджетами государственных внебюджетных фондов Archived 28 January 2007 at the Wayback Machine, (Kontrol' raschodov federalinogo budzheta na zdravoohranenie, sotsial'nuyu politiki i za byuzhetami gosudarstvenniih vnebyudzhetnih fondov, "Controlling federal budget spending on health, social policy and budgets for state extra-budgetary funds"), Счетная палата Российской Федерации (Schetnaya palata Rossiiskoi Federalii, "Account Chamber of the Russian Federation"). Accessed 22 April 2008.
  23. ^ (in Russian) Владимир Темный (Vladimir Temniy), Электронным СМИ – положительный заряд (Elektronim SMI — Polozhitel'ni Zaryad; "The electronic media — a positive charge"),, 20 October 2005. Accessed online 22 April 2008.
  24. ^ "Дорогой Леонид Ильич Брежнев снова с нами". Novaya Gazeta.
  25. ^ "Покушение на Победу. Полемическое обозрение" [Assassination Attempt on Victory. Polemic Review]. Sovetskaya Rossiya. 21 October 2004.
  26. ^ "Сергей Есенин на Первом канале: Пальцы в рот – и весёлый свист?" [Sergei Yesenin on Channel One: Fingers in the mouth – and a happy whistle?]. Комсомольская правда. 7 November 2005.
  27. ^ "Ненаучная фантастика": Историки о сериалах "Демон революции" и "Троцкий" ["Unscientific fiction": Historians about the series "Demon of the Revolution" and "Trotsky"] (in Russian). Kinopoisk.
  28. ^ (in Russian) Григорий Цветков (Grigory Tsvetkov), Шоковый рейтинг Archived 20 January 2008 at the Wayback Machine (Shchokvy Reiting, "Shock Rating"), Izvestia, 16 January 2008.
  29. ^ (in Russian) Первый канал – Форум – Первый канал представляет... – В Эфире Первого канала... – Здоровье с Еленой Малышевой Archived 3 April 2015 at the Wayback Machine (Pervy kanal — forum — Pervy Kanal predstavlyaet... – V Efire Pervogo kanala — Zdoroviye s Yelenoy Malyshchevoy, "Channel One — Forum — Channel One is... – Health with Yelena Malysheva). Forum on Channel 1's website. Accessed 22 April 2008.
  30. ^ (in Russian) Ведущая «Здоровья» Елена Малышева: «Мы не убиваем крыс в эфире» (Bedushchaya «Zdovоv'ya» Elena Malysheva: «Mi nye ubivaem kris v efire», "Head of Health Elena Malysheva: «We do not kill rats on the air», Аргументы и факты, (Argumenty i Fakty). Date not given, no longer accessible online 25 April 2008. All or part of the commentary article appears to be reproduced Archived 29 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine at
  31. ^ (in Russian) Человек Среды (Chelovek Sred'), Убить за рейтинг Archived 21 February 2008 at the Wayback Machine (Ubit' za reiting, "Kill for the rating"), Росбалт (Posbalt), 18 January 2008. Accessed 22 April 2008.
  32. ^ (in Russian) Статья 245 УК РФ. Жестокое обращение с животными (Stat'ya 245 UK RF. Zhestokoe obrashchenie s zhivothimy, "Article 245 CCRF. Ill-treatment of animals"). Online at Accessed 22 April 2008.
  33. ^ (in Russian) Первый канал – Форум – Первый канал представляет... – В Эфире Первого канала... – Здоровье с Еленой Малышевой Archived 3 April 2015 at the Wayback Machine (Perviy kanal — forum — Perviy Kanal predstavlyaet... – V Efire Pervogo kanala — Edorovie s Elenoi Malishchevoi, "Channel One — Forum — Channel One is... – Health with Elena Malysheva). Forum on Channel 1's website. Accessed 22 April 2008.

External linksEdit