December 11 - RIA Novosti will fulfil its role as host news and photographic agency for Sochi 2014, despite being abolished by Russian President Vladimir Putin, the controversial head of the Government-controlled organisation that is being set-up to replace it has promised.
Dmitry Kiselyov, who will be in charge of Rossiya Segodnya - which in English means Russia Today - claimed that the Winter Olympics and Paralympics would be his top priority.
Under the decree published by Putin on the official Kremlin website on Monday (December 9), RIA Novosti's closure will coincide with the start of the Olympics on February 7.
They have been appointed as the national news agency and national photo pool for Sochi 2014 by both the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and International Paralympic Committee (IPC).
"I can assure you that [the Olympic obligations] will be fulfilled, both by today's agency and by tomorrow's agency," said Kiselyov on RIA Novosti's own website.
"Organising this work is an urgent task."
Putin's decision to abolish RIA Novosti and the impact it will have on Sochi 2014 was not discussed during the meeting of the IOC's ruling Executive Board here yesterday even though it could have serious implications on coverage of the Games, a spokesman for the IOC told insidethegames.
The fact Kiselyov will be overseeing coverage is certain to fuel international fears about how balanced the coverage will be.
A close ally of Putin's, he was formerly a news anchor on Rossiya 1 TV channel and caused worldwide controversy last year with a series of remarks about homosexuals.
He claimed that they should not be allowed to donate blood or sperm and that if a homosexual died in a car accident, his or her heart should be buried or burned, but never given to someone as a transplant since the organs would be "unsuitable for extending the life of another".
More recently he has blamed Poland and Sweden for being behind a conspiracy to destabilise Ukraine, leading to protest from people there who are pro-European.
Kiselyov has also compared critics of Putin to Adolf Hitler.
A spokesman for the IPC told insidethegames that coverage of the Paralympics would not be affected by the abolition of RIA Novosti.
"As far as we are aware the agency will not be dissolved for a further three months so therefore the contract we have with them for Sochi 2014 will not be affected," said. Craig Spence.
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December 2013: Sochi 2014 news agency abolished by Russian President Putin
April 2013: RIA Novosti named official host national news agency for Sochi 2014 Winter Paralympics
September 2011: RIA Novosti unveiled as Sochi 2014 host news and photo agency