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Article

Commercial or public service actors? Controversies in the nature of Russia's regional mass media

Traditionally, regional mass media has been the least-studied component of the Russian media system; however, beginning from the 2000s, transformations in the nation's political and economic spheres have influenced the position of local media. This paper provides a deeper investigation of the processes and patterns underlying the development of regional mass media in modern Russia. The research is grounded on an analytical review of secondary sources, which is supported by 14 in-depth interviews with media professionals from 5 regions in Russia. The results reveal that Russia's regional media outlets operate both as commercial actors and public service actors. This duality is rooted in several multidirectional and controversial changes in the nation's economic and political systems, as well as in a journalist culture which causes media outlets to have a vague understanding of their places and functions in society.