From RIA to Russia Today* (not RT)

RIA Novosti, Russia’s main state-run news agency, is going to be dissolved. So is Voice of Russia, a publication that I’ve written for, and Rossiyskaya Gazeta and its Russia Beyond the Headlines project*. They are to be merged into a new organization confusingly called Rossiya Segodnya (“Russia Today”), which is NOT the same as the (in)famous […]

Russia Needs To Develop Its “Hard” Soft Power

My latest for VoR/US-Russia Experts panel: I think we have to make a distinction here between “soft” soft power and “hard” soft power. The US’ “soft” soft power is, of course, overwhelming. By “soft” soft power, I mean its accumulated cultural capital: The popularity of the English language, Hollywood, the Ivy League, Apple and American […]

Translation: Deputy Minister of Communications Volin explains Media-Business Relations

On 9 February, 2013 the Deputy Minister for Communications schooled Moscow State journalism students in the “propaganda model.” They were none too thrilled about the lesson, as Natalia Romashkova writes. Deputy Minister of Communications Volin explains Media-Business Relations The Deputy Minister for Communications and Mass Media Alexey Volin explained the heated reactions to his speech […]

Is Konstantin von Eggert Taking A Leaf From Johann Hari?

In one of his regular columns for mafia state news agency RIA Novosti he wrote (h/t Mercouris): Valentina, an acquaintance of mine, is a third year Moscow University student. She told me recently: ‘Whenever I or my friends and college mates hear ‘Georgia’, the reaction is nearly universally positive – food, people, culture and now […]

Translation: Russia Today Hired You To Talk About The Cynicism And Wickedness Of The West (Konstantin von Eggert)

This post is a continuation of the last, and can otherwise be called “Konstantin von Eggert: A Case Study In Democratic Journalism (part 2).” Alternatively, one might view it as a refutation of claims that the Kremlin controls or censors the Russian media (Eggert’s own protestations, hilarious and Orwellian in the context of what follows, to […]

Konstantin von Eggert: A Case Study In Democratic Journalism (part 1)

There is a term on Runet, popularized by the satirical “dissident” Lev Sharansky, called “democratic journalist.” Of course, this term is every bit as satirical as its main propagator.  In the Russian context, it denotes a journalist who is obsessed with free speech, human rights, democracy, the whole turkey. But they are “obsessed” with them in […]

US-Russia.org, New Site For Russia Watchers

It’s been a few months in the building, since the decision to launch it at the WRF 2012, and I feel it is now developed enough to make it more widely known. I hope it will become as prominent as the current best specialized English-language Russian politics resource on the Internet, Russia: Other Points of […]

Chinese Netizens Praise Russian Democracy, Accountability

Typically when Westerners write about Chinese and Russians they stress the negative aspects of the relationship. Russians are invariably racist towards the Chinese and fear them in xenophobic reaction to their (non-existent) swamping of Siberia. The Chinese for their part laugh at the alcoholic, non-productive Russkies. And quite likely they will soon invade and take […]

Assange @RT: Russia Provides A Platform To Western Dissidents

As I noted before, the symmetry is amusing to say the least. Anti-regime characters such as Nemtsov and Navalny, who are marginal in Russia (both in popularity and media presence – as is logical, nothing undemocratic about that), are treated as Genuine Voices of the Russian People by the Western media. In its turn, Russia […]

Kremlin Oligarch Brutally Censors Long-Suffering Russian Media (From Printing Gratuitous Profanities)

Imagine a respected American financial newspaper such as the WSJ writes an article investigating elections fraud in favor of the Democrats. To illustrate the rightness of their point, they include a photo of a ballot for the Republicans that – they allege – wasn’t tallied by the dodgy Solyndra machines rolled out for use in […]

Given Free Publicity On NTV, Khodorkovsky Only Incriminates Himself Further

Following the failure of Khodorkovsky’s appeal against his prison sentence for theft and money laundering, state-owned NTV aired a positive segment on his case on national prime time. Most sides of the story were mentioned: Amnesty International’s designation of him as a “prisoner of conscience”, the Kremlin’s view that it was only the criminal justice […]

Three Hypotheses About Demographic Reporting In Nezavisimaya Gazeta

Russia’s demographic revival stalled in 2010, after several years of fast improvements. In January-September, though the birth rate increased by 16,700 souls on the same period last year, it was counterbalanced by an increase in deaths by 37,200 – all of them and more courtesy of the 44,000 excess deaths caused by the Great Russian Heatwave of […]