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Fedor Marchenko. Research Fellow in Higher School of Economy. 2012 - PhD in Psychology. Evaluation of television programs for kids (Sesame street in Russia)

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Presentation on theme: "Fedor Marchenko. Research Fellow in Higher School of Economy. 2012 - PhD in Psychology. Evaluation of television programs for kids (Sesame street in Russia)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Fedor Marchenko

2 Research Fellow in Higher School of Economy PhD in Psychology. Evaluation of television programs for kids (Sesame street in Russia) 1,5 years – journalist in Metro news (Moscow) 6 months as a linear editor in Public Television of Russia

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4 Soviet media system ( ) Soviet and Russian media history has not only been about power, control and domination: it has also been much about entertainment, popular culture and everyday activity. Soviet society as corporation (Koltsova, 2006). Party- State as the only owner, employer, disributor and decision-maker. People – subordinate employees. Media is just one of the departments with prescribed functions.

5 Soviet media system ( ) National TV, wire radio and print press together comprised a consistent and smoothly working hierarchical structure It was controlled on the basis of the official doctrine about mass media (main goal is upbringing of “decent Soviet citizens”) and through the institution of centralized censorship (Glavlit, The Chief Board of Literature and Publishing established in 1922). It provided extreme control over media perception with little attention to control media perception (eventually led to large scale of skepticism towards any governmental media)

6 Perestroika ( ) ‘Perestroika’ = rebuilding, reorganization Era of ‘glasnost’ = openness and publicity Ideological bans raised (case of “12 etazh”, 1986; raised questions about Stalin, Lenin’s remains) Power elite ceased to be a monolith and therefore failed to control ‘glasnost’

7 Perestroika ( ) 1990 – First USSR Law on Press and other Mass Media prohibited censorship, and allowed organizations and individuals to set up media outlets outside from the state It cleared the way fro the swift-growth of non-state press and the privatization of the state-owned media Glavlit ransformed into the Committee on Press All media organizations that were not privatized in the early 1990s remained in the hands of the state

8 Modern Russia before Putin ( ) Split in power elite led to attempt to overthrow the President of USSR Mikhail Gorbachev His political rival Boris Yeltsin and his supporter Anatoliy Sobchak mayor of Leningrad used Leningrad TV strongly opposed the coup After Gorbachev was saved from isolation and coup was suppressed Yeltsin receive possibility to use both Channel 1 and Channel 2 for his support

9 Modern Russia before Putin Market reforms promoted by new government required to abandon government’s control over prices Galloping inflation turned most of the media unprofitable Both old state controlled and new private TV channels became very economic dependant Media managers chose to provide propaganda weapons to various external actors (social institute of ‘zakaz’, ordered media product) Very soon many sold themselves “wholesale”

10 Modern Russia before Putin Rise of cross-institutional groups (CIGs): - A group centered around Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, who established a number of media organizations, including TV- center - The alliance of entrepreneur and political adventurer Boris Berezovsky and the businessman Roman Abromovich, one of the owners of a big oil company Sibneft. Control over Channel 1 - Media-MOST media holding and its leader Vladimir Gussinsky - Rem Vyakhirev, director of the Russian “semi-state” gas monopolist Gazprom, played an essential role in ruining Gussinsky’s media empire in (first year of Putin’s presidency)

11 Modern Russia before Putin Information war Cases: First Chechen war (autumn 1994). Gussinsky;s NTV channel managed to create a negative image of Russian forces military actions Presidential elections at 1996 – removing troops from Chechnya - key promise of Yeltsin campaign

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13 Putin’s Russia (2000-?) Consolidation By building the so-called “power vertical” Vladimir Putin eliminated all alternative political forces and established control over the government, the parliament, the judiciary, and the media system to secure stability of the new regime. Boris Berezovsky was forced to sell his share of ORT(former Channel 1) to Roman Abramovich, who claimed his loyalty to Vladimir Putin. The symbolic culmination of the new elite’s war for media control was the government’s takeover of MediaMost holding (its most valuable asset was NTV) in 2002 by Gazprom Media—a subsidiary of Gazprom, the largest state-owned corporation in Russia. By silencing a group of powerful non-conforming businessmen, Vladimir Putin sent a clear message to the business community to distance themselves from politics and thus established control over corporate Russia Yuri Luzhkov (mayor of Moscow) was forced to flee after criminal lawsuit issued against him in 2010)

14 Putin’s Russia (2000-?) Consolidation Boris Berezovsky was forced to sell his share of ORT (former Channel 1) to Roman Abramovich, who claimed his loyalty to Vladimir Putin. The symbolic culmination of the new elite’s war for media control was the government’s takeover of MediaMost holding (its most valuable asset was NTV) in 2002 by Gazprom Media—a subsidiary of Gazprom, the largest state-owned corporation in Russia. By silencing a group of powerful non-conforming businessmen, Vladimir Putin sent a clear message to the business community to distance themselves from politics and thus established control over corporate Russia Yuri Luzhkov (mayor of Moscow) was forced to flee after criminal lawsuit issued against him in 2010)

15 Putin’s Russia (2000-?) Consolidation The state learned to utilize a wide selection of political, economic and legal tools to put pressure on and intimidate the media. Some of them are: - providing personal privileges or access to closed sources of information; preferential treatment for certain media outlets and journalists; - acquiring state ownership in media outlets or establishing indirect control through ownership by private companies whose owners are loyal to the state; - banning access to official events and press conferences, refusal to provide requested information; - bringing legal suits against media outlets and journalists on the grounds of defamation, libel, et al.; - penalizing the media and suspending the license; - using legal sanctions, such as tax or customs legislation, fire safety and sanitary regulation. Application of these techniques transformed Russian media system into a restricted homogenous field, where only state-controlled media outlets were allowed to operate on the national scale.

16 Putin’s Russia (2000-?) Consolidation Driving out private ownership from media business Case – Social network ‘Vkontakte’ (Russian version of Facebook with monthly audience reach thousands of visit) – now possessed by Boris Dobrodeev son of owner of All-Russian State Television and Radio company. Case search engine “Yandex” ( thousands of visit per month) – has small bar with top news.

17 Putin’s Russia. Legislative acts Ban of gay-propaganda (2013) Law that prohibited talking about sexual minorities to citizens under 18 y.o. (i.e. no discussion of gays and their rights in media) Law about bloggers – bloggers whose posts are viewed by more than 3000 unique users have to register as mass-media and be responsible for posting misleading information Law about foreign ownership in Russian mass media - sets the maximum foreign stake in Russian mass media companies at 20 percent

18 Russian media in global context Russia is no longer a closed country, Russian media are exposed to the free flow of information and the developments of the global media market, and Russian journalists are aware of the media’s role in the free world. Therefore, by choosing to serve as propaganda tools to receive benefits from the state, by abandoning their public duty to report the truth, the majority of the media voluntarily chose to engage in corrupt practices. The public debate in the media was either substituted by the imitative forms or squeezed out from the popular media outlets, such as television and dailies with large circulation

19 Russian media in global context Public interest shifted from politics to the entertainment segment, which drives the expansion of the entertainment segment. Another reason for this expansion is commercialization of the global media market driven by advertising industry and aimed at stimulating consumption. Eventually, this process led to tabloidization of the media and the prevail of the popular media formats that appeal primarily to the mass audience.

20 Statistics Today, Russia ranks ninth in the top-10 media markets in the world, and in 2013 its market growth rate is estimated to be at 12 percent—the highest rate across the top ten media markets The ownership structure of the Russian media market shows that the national media outlets with the highest audience reach are controlled by the state, primarily— television.

21 Statistics All three TV channels are controlled by the state: the majority share of Channel One belongs to Rosimuschestvo (the Federal Agency for State Property Management). Other shareholders include National Media Group (controlled by the structures of Yuri Kovalchuk, Chairman of the Board of Rossiya Bank, one of the largest banks in Russia, and Vladimir Putin’s personal friend; and Roman Abramovich, owner of Chelsea football club and Putin’s ally). Rossiya 2 is a part of VGTRK (All-Russia State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company) which is owned by Rosimushchestvo. NTV is also controlled by the state through Gazprom Media. TNT and Pyatiy Kanal that come respectively fourth and fifth in the top TV channels by audience reach, are also controlled by the state. TNT belongs to Gazprom Media, while Channel 5 is controlled by National Media Group.

22 References Olessia Koltsova. “News media and Power in Russia”//Routledge, 2006 Natalia Roudakova. (2008) “Media-Political Clientelism: Lessons from Anthropology,” Media, Culture & Society, Vol. 30, No. 1, pp Eric Shiraev, Vladislav Zubok. International relations. Oxford University Press.


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