A new RBC Canada Canada grant, designed to help the country’s Russian-language media industry, will be awarded this month.
The $7,000 grant, which the company says will help promote RBC’s Russian business model, is part of a larger $17.5 million RBC Russia-Canada deal that also includes an additional $5.5 mln of funding for RBCs Canadian operations.
It comes as RBC has been under intense scrutiny over its decision to invest heavily in its Russian media holdings, particularly the RBC Russian Business Network, a venture capital-backed venture capital firm that was created in 2014 with the intention of acquiring Russian media companies.
It is unclear whether the Russian government has made any decisions on the future of the fund, which is not subject to any regulations.
In April, the Globe and Mail reported that the RBS-owned RBC Media Network, which has a Russian language network with a total reach of 5 million people, is in negotiations with the RIA-Novosti media group over the acquisition of RBC.
The Globe reported that in August 2016, the RSC’s top executive, Alexey Ozerov, visited Moscow to discuss potential investments with President Vladimir Putin.
In December 2016, Russian media watchdog Roskomnadzor announced it would launch an investigation into RBC after a Russian citizen in Canada claimed he had been forced out of his job at RBC in 2017.
RBC and RBC Communications, Canada’s two largest cable companies, have both received significant funding from the ROC from the Russian Government since 2012, with RBC being the largest recipient of funds from the fund in 2017 at $1.1 billion.
ROC funds also fund the majority of RBS’s foreign investments.
Russia’s government, RBC announced in a statement Tuesday, is seeking to expand RBC into a leading global media company.
“Our company has built a successful and innovative digital media platform and will continue to grow this business with ROC’s support and support of other key media companies, such as Russia Today, RT, Sputnik and Sputnikov,” RBC said.
“Russia Today has become a critical platform for Rbc and is the most widely-read news source in Russia, as well as among our global customers.”
Russia Today has reported on events including the ongoing Ukrainian conflict, the rise of the pro-Russian separatist movement in eastern Ukraine, and the death of an opposition politician, Denis Pushilin.
The broadcaster has also aired critical coverage of Russian President Vladimir Trump and the Kremlin.
The RBC-ROC agreement comes as tensions between Russia and Canada have increased.
Canada has been the first country in the world to recognize the independence of the Russian-speaking Crimean region of Ukraine, a move that prompted Russia to impose economic sanctions on Canada.
Rbc, which operates in more than 100 countries, has been accused of colluding with the Kremlin in order to suppress dissenting voices in Ukraine.
In July, Canada and Rbc announced the creation of a new, non-profit “corporate entity” that will oversee the development of Rbc’s Russian operations, with the aim of promoting RBC as an independent media company in the country.
Rancour’s role as a global media giant has been questioned since the release of Rancor, a documentary film about the Canadian financial institution that was co-directed by the U.S.-based Center for Media Justice and the University of Toronto.
The film, which was directed by filmmaker John Berger and premiered in March at the Toronto International Film Festival, criticized RBC for its dealings with Russian investors and investors in Russia.
RANCOR was widely criticized for its portrayal of RSC and its funding of the Rancheria fund, and has since been banned from Russian television.
Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, speaking to reporters Tuesday, said that the government was reviewing RBC deals with the government of Canada to ensure they adhere to the countrys obligations under international law and international regulations.
She added that Canada was “deeply concerned” by the Rbc funding of a pro-Putin propaganda outlet and would be “looking into the matter.”
“We’re taking all steps necessary to ensure that any RBC Canadian operations that engage in pro-Kremlin propaganda activities are appropriately dealt with, whether they’re Russian or not,” Freeland said.