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CNN Set to Return to Russia Less Than Three Months After Leaving Country

LONDON — CNN is set to return to Russia less than three months after leaving the country.

The global news network has been awarded a broadcast license in Russia, which it quit at the start of January. CNN’s parent company, Turner International, confirmed to Variety that CNN intended to broadcast in the country again.

“In accordance with the Russian Federation Law on Mass Media, the company is authorized to broadcast CNN International pursuant to the broadcasting license recently issued under this law,” a Turner International spokesperson said. “We have complied with all the procedural requirements and are delighted to now be officially licensed in Russia. We look forward to be resuming distribution for CNN International in Russia as soon as possible.”

Vadim Ampelonsky, a spokesman for media regulator Roskomnadzor, confirmed that “the order to issue a universal broadcasting license to CNN has been signed.”

CNN’s earlier decision was believed to have been prompted by new laws that banned advertising on pay TV channels and limited foreign ownership of media organization to a 20% stake.

The legislation banning advertising on pay TV was amended in January, and now cable channels with 75% Russian content can sell advertising again. CNN’s new license, which is believed to run for 10 years, paves the way for deals with Russian-owned cable and satellite operators.

When CNN announced its exit in November, Michael McFaul, former U.S. ambassador to Russia, wrote on Twitter: “I remember the day when you could first watch CNN in the U.S.S.R. Now the clocks turn backward.”

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