Russian Media - Case Study

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Harvey Mudd College
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The mass media in Russia has been developing over many years, and statistics show that mass media doubled from the year 1997 to the year 2006. This includes television stations, newspapers, radio stations and in the modern world, there is the media that is associated with internet use. The emergence of mass media especially from the private sector in Russia led to a society that was more open where the people were well informed about the ills that existed in the society as well as the progress that the country was making. This also led to the formation of associations that would control the media to ensure that there were policies that were observed, and also ensure that the media had greater freedom. However, there has been many drastic changes in the media in Russia since 2000, where the aim has been to influence the foreign policies that the country engages in.

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The year 2000, marked a great change in the Russian media and political power. As a new president was entering into force, there was a need to ensure that Russia was portrayed in the right way to ensure that the world and Russian people supported the new president, Vladimir Putin. The new president came up with an ideology of ensuring that Russia is secure, and created reasons to ensure that the state would control the media in the country. The greatest percentage of Russian media, both electronic and print media was under the control of the government and was used to report more on issues that the president was doing together with his party. This resulted in greater approval by the citizens, considering that the control over the media ensured that only the good things about the government was reported and the rest of activities in the society was avoided.

The president ensured that the many media outlets were controlled by people who were loyal to him, and they were receiving a lot of money from advertisements and printing government related adverts. This is why the media industry was generating a lot of revenues in the period, as the government was making a lot of adverts that ensured that the people were not informed about the negative issues that were facing the country. The media where people pay subscription was banned in Russia, which as another move that was aimed at ensuring that the people in Russia did not watch any foreign media or even watch any foreign content in their television and other media (Santo, 2015).

During the time, Putin was consolidating power and was gaining control over the executive, judiciary and legislative arm of the government. This form of media made many people in Russia see the president as a man who was after their interests. The president was thus making more foreign policies and would inform the people of the benefit of such policies, and this led to no objections because people were less informed about whatever was happening in the rest of the world.

As time went by, many business people in Russia were silenced as long as they tried to complain about any foreign policies that the president was making and was not in the interests of the society. The president and the government, in general, started fighting media in a great way, by ensuring that the media was greatly intimidated. This was through arresting some journalists, sending them to prison, denying them access to important events in the nation as well as law suits that led to fines and denial of licenses to operate. The president and the government would also refuse to answer questions that were asked by the media, and only the loyal media outlets were given the privilege to report in important issues that affected the government.

As Putin was ascending to power gaining more control over Russia, there were only few, state-owned media outlets that were allowed to report issues that related to Russia as a whole. However, some few private media outlets were allowed to operate, so that the government would get protests from the citizens and then respond to such protests through the other media outlets that covered a greater part of Russia. The trend, in this case, was a move away from democratic values where media is an important asset, and towards socialism ideologies and this meant that the people would not shape the foreign policies and relations in any way because they were shut away from the reality. The Russian media was thus fast transforming from an important tool that was meant to keep the people informed, to a tool that was used to spread propaganda and mislead the people for the sake of personal gains of the politicians and the people (Trenin, 2016).

With time, the media in Russia was more open to the international world, but were keen to ensure that they receive funding from the government. This is why the media in Russia started reporting international issues, but used the information to generate propaganda that would mislead the people to show them that their leadership is good as compared to the rest of the world. They engaged in corruption activities where they reported only what would benefit the government. Regardless of this, the political content of the Russian media was becoming more dull and was filled with a lot of entertainment as well as advertisements. The people were thus not very much aware of what was happening in their countries because whatever they listened to or were viewing was well designed to ensure that they view the government as a good regime that served the interests of the people.

From the year 2000, many journalists have been killed because of their activities. Many of them have been after exposing the bad deeds by their leader, and the results of this has been that they have been killed. Investigative journalists have specifically been handled in a manner that scares the rest of the aspiring journalists in the country. This level of intimidation has made many media to support President Putin and the foreign policies that he makes. As these media talk more of the good deeds of the president, the people in the society start supporting such policies, and this influences the kind of leaders that are elected in the country. Such leaders are more likely to support the decisions that the president make because they are gauged by the citizens on the basis of whether they support the president who seems to be doing a good job.

The media has made the people in Russia less interested in political affairs of their political system. They are more interested in cinema and other various forms of entertainment. This leaves the Russian government with a lot of power to make decisions in international politics without any resistance from the citizens. The increased use of internet which was difficult to control in a great level was challenging the ability to control media in Russia. The government has always been interested in portraying an image that shows that there is free media in Russia.

To deal with the problem, bloggers that have great following were required by the government to ensure that they are registered. The effects of this are that many bloggers are scared of talking anything that is against the current regime. This means that even with the increased use of the internet, Russia has been keen to ensure that the local citizens are less informed about international and major political issues, and this ensures that the political system can make decisions on foreign relations with other countries (Olga, 2013).

The Russian media has been carefully manipulated to draw away the attention of the people from whatever the country engages in, especially in the rest of the world. The presence of internet has meant that people interested in politics can get a lot of information about their government. This is why there has been resistance and protests against some of the foreign policies that Russia comes up with (Nisbet, 2016). Whenever this happens, the media that is mainly controlled by the state is very fast to respond by showing that the policies that the government is engaging in is not the reason for the problems back in the society. It demonstrates that the failure of the local leadership is the reason for the failure of the state and the problems that the people are facing. This means that the top leadership is not viewed as a reason behind the problems that the country face.

A good example of effective use of media to achieve control over international politics is when there was the annexation of Ukraine. Many citizens in Russia were against these activities, and protested against the same. They were informed by the fact that the Ukrainian media was giving better information of what was happening in their country considering that the media in this country was not under the control of Russia (Neil, 2016). In return, Russia was fast to respond, by showing that the protests were violent acts that were propagated by people who did not like Russia. This made the leadership of the country deal with the protests, and ensure that the people supported the government actions in Ukraine. In addition, the Russian media demonstrated how they helped the Ukraine president to escape the chaos, but the fact was that they were behind the problems in the country.

In the year 2014, there was the annexation of Crimea, and the citizens of Russia were still not in support of the activities of their government. The Russian media was fast to respond, and spread propaganda that Ukraine was more of pro-European countries as opposed to Pro-Russia. As a result, many people in Russia started supporting the activities of the government in Crimea. The effects were that the government was able to interfere with politics of the part of the world with much support of the local people (Lankina, 2016).

The Russian media has also been key to show that the country promotes the democratic values of democracy. This is why the media is keen to cover some protests because of some problems that the country may be facing, so that they portray to the world that they are a democratic society. This makes the world believe that there are no much problems in the country since less are reported.

However, the media is very careful to ensure that it does not cover chaos that are caused by the government both locally and in the international field. When Russia is engaged in a foreign mission, and people are suffering, there is no coverage for such incidences, and the same case happens when there are problems in the country. This means that Russians continue to support the foreign actions of their leader, regardless of them being harmful to both foreigners and the locals. An example is the fact that many people in Syria have been suffering, many innocent have died, and the government is spending a lot of money on the same (Gordts, 2015). Coverage of the incidences in Syria are very limited, and instead, people are informed that the government is doing a lot in fighting terrorism. Regardless of the economy suffering in Russia as the country spends a lot of money in war in Syria, people support the leadership actions because the media effectively manipulate the thinking of the people.

The use of media to influence international politics has also gone to a great level, where the government is ready to edit pictures as well as present pictures that are created from scratch and present them to the people. The government does not only broadcast such pictures through the television but are also keen to ensure that they publish it in the internet so that as many people as possible can access such information and pictures. The effects are that people support the actions of their country. Russia is never willing to show any kind of defeat, especially when engaging in the international mission because this would result in great resistance from the local. This is why they are very selective on whatever that is sent to...

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