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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Public TV Head Named

President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday appointed Anatoly Lysenko to head the first-ever public television channel in Russia, the Kremlin said in a statement.

Lysenko, 75, has chaired the International Academy of Television and Radio since its establishment in 2002. A decorated journalist, Lysenko led state-run VGTRK, a major television and radio company, from 1990 to 1996.

Putin also approved the makeup of a 25-member council for the newly formed channel. The council will include detective stories writer Daria Dontsova, Russian Orthodox Church senior official Vladimir Legoida, actor and theater director Oleg Tabakov and former Tatarstan leader Mintimer Shaimiyev, among others.

The public TV network is set to start broadcasting on Jan. 1 as part of the Kremlin's response to criticism of state-controlled channels, which has intensified in the wake of opposition protests.