The most popular ones are the nationwide tabloid-like daily Komsomolskaya Pravda (www.kp.ru), Moskovsky Komsomolets (www.mk.ru), and Argumenty i Fakty (www.aif.ru). Most of the articles in these newspapers are entertainment, there's much advertising and PR articles as well.
Among the quality newspapers are Vedomosti (www.vedomosti.ru), Kommersant (www.kommersant.ru), and Izvestia (www.izvestia.ru) newspapers. Kommersant has a version in English on the internet: www.kommersant.com.
Vedomosti newspaper is published by Independent Media publishing house (which publishes the Russian Cosmopolitan and the only English-language daily The Moscow Times) together with Financial Times and The Wall Street Journal. Quality reviews and reprints from western newspapers make it popular among Russian executives, managers and middle class. The Independent Media was founded by a Dutch journalist Derk Sauer, who has recently sold his media empire to a Finnish publishing house. Still, Vedomosti is considered to be the newspaper that is least influenced by various internal political and business interests.
Kommersant is the oldest Russian business newspaper (started in the 80s) and is more entertaining than Vedomosti. It is more like The Guardian in UK: features sections on economics, politics, arts, sports, and the articles often have more personal touch than Vedomosti. However, the newspaper belongs to the self-exiled tycoon Boris Berezovsky, so many people reckon he uses Kommersant to promote his political ideas. On the other side, the journalists in Kommersant were always famous for advocating journalists' freedom, so it is quite probable that Berezovsky's influence on the newspaper is limited.
Izvestia seems to be closer to popular newspapers, while Kommersant has more circulation among business community. However, the both newspapers have somewhat similar style.
There are a few English language newspapers printed in Russia, most of them in Moscow. The most popular is The Moscow Times (www.themoscowtimes.com), the first daily English-language newspaper in Russia, published by Independent Media. Most of its audience are expats, business-minded people, and English-speaking Russians. Another English-language newspaper is The Russian Journal (www.russianjournal.com) - a weekly newspaper - the journalist staff is mostly Russians.
You can learn more about regional newspapers in relevant city guide sections on WayToRussia.Net.
Television is the most influental media in Russia. The two main channels - ORT and RTR (mostly government owned) cover almost all Russia. These channels are quite loyal to their owner, but allow themselves some critics and sarcasm, so it doesn't look like the old Soviet TV at all. Another channel - NTV - used to be owned by the Russian company MOST Group (owned by a Russian oligarch (a rich guy) Mr. Gusinsky), but they were not not nice to the Russian government, so there was tax police coming to their office once and finding some horrible things that made them bankrupt. The new owner (a big company loyal to the government) produces programs that are not less interesting than before, but without too much criticism on the current political and economic situation. Another channel - TV6 - was also closed a while ago, because it was owned by a Russian oligarch - Mr. Berezovsky (who fled in UK and got himself Kommersant newspaper). Now this channel is called Sports Channel and instead of soap operas and talk shows you see healthy and strong sportsmen. There's also an official channel of Moscow government (and Moscow mayor Mr. Luzhkov) and a very nice government channel called "Kultura" - "Culture" that is intended to promore education and culture into masses. Kultura is the only channel, which I can personally watch sometimes, if it's not too boring.
Among entertainment channels are STS, TNT, Ren TV (movies, shows etc.), Muz TV (mostly crappy Russian pop music) and MTV (worldwide chain - the way it is made is ok, but the music is crap). Ren TV is the most interesting among them all, because it shows cool Russian films and popular quality western stuff, like Simpsons, South Park or X-Files.
The only way to get English-speaking TV in Russia is to connect to a satellite or to satellite channels provider (like Kosmos TV or Divo TV in Moscow). If you install a satellite dish yourself, you should make sure it point towards the South-West (HotBird satellite) or towards Astra satellite. The dish and all setup will cost about $500 US. Another way is to connect to a satellite channels provider and pay a one-time $100 US setup fee and then about $20 US a month. The most accessible channels are CNN, BBC World, Euronews, Bloomberg, Discovery.
Used to be very popular in the Soviet Union and still is. Every house in Russia has a radio socket, so you will be sure to have three AM stations. However, because our country is very huge, the same radio may have different frequencies at different locations. Also, another peculiarity is that FM frequency in Russia starts from 60s and finishes at 108 FM. The majority of radio stations broadcast online as well.
During the 90s, the focus of attention has shifted slightly from government backed Mayak radio to various music entertaining radios. Among the most popular are Mayak (in Moscow: 67.22 FM and 549 AM), Ekho Moskvy (Echo of Moscow - news and analysis - 91.2 FM in Moscow only), Russkoe Radio (Russian pop songs - horrible & cheesy stuff mostly - 105.7 FM), Maximum (quality foreign and Russian hits, pop, alternative, rock - 103,7 FM), Europa-Plus (the most popular radio in Russia features pop music mostly - website in English - 106,2 FM in Moscow), Nashe Radio (quality Russian pop and alternative music - 101,7 FM in Moscow), Dinamit FM (a radio for young people, which features nice dance-music programs on late evenings and nights - 101,2 FM in Moscow), Radio Jazz (smooth jazz & lounge music - 89,1 FM).
If you would like to know the frequency of a radio station in another city or town in Russia, you can find it on the websites of the radio stations listed above. There's also a website in Russian (TV & Radio Atlas) that lists frequencies and contact details of all radio stations and TV broadcasters in Russia.
You can find all sorts of magazines in Russia: from Cosmopolitan and Playboy to Harward Business Review and Newsweek. There are also some local brands, such as Profil and Dengi (business & economic review weekly). The lifestyle niche is taken by popular western brands, however the local Afisha (published in Moscow & St. Petersburg), which is a bit like Time Out (also published in Moscow), is the champion among them.
If you're looking for some "alternative" reading, try Bolshoy Gorod ("Big City" published by Afisha in Moscow), which is a bit like The Village Voice. It provides intelligent and entertaining reading, but quite focused on Moscow.
If you're looking for English-language magazines published in Russia you will only find the publications, which look more like mail-order catalogues. Foreign magazines are available at some supermarkets and kiosks around Moscow and St. Petersburg and are nearly impossible to find in other cities.
Blogs and WebsitesThe most popular Russian blog is run by Artemy Lebedev – the founder and director of Art Lebedev Industial and Web Design studio. His blog is a weird mix of tits (posted weekly by his readers), swearwords, great occasional advice, design ideas, and personal opinion on every aspect of life in Russia. Lebedev's travel reports are worth reading as he has a lot of good information about smaller Russian towns. He also has a monthly online event where the readers are invited to share their advice on something they're experts in. Prostitutes, nuclear scientists, mafiosi, programmers all come together and share their experience and advice – quite interesting.
Another website worth mentioning is LookAtMe. Started as a fashion blog it became the main portal for the new, young, and hip generation at the forefront of the local arts, culture, and design. The articles are posted by readers, some very interesting stuff about local and international fashion, artitecture, design, and music. They also have great advice about club and fashion scene in many Russian cities, although it's all in Russian.
Also, OpenSpace is an interesting resource as it has quality material on arts and culture and lots of interviews, videos, and photographs. The more sophisticated crowd moved on to OpenSpace from LookAtMe, once the latter became too popular.