2007 August 05 Sunday
In Russia At Least Half The News Must Be Positive

We don't need no stinking independent press.

At their first meeting with journalists since taking over Russia's largest independent radio news network, the managers had startling news of their own: from now on, they said, at least 50 percent of the reports about Russia must be "positive."

In addition, opposition leaders could not be mentioned on the air and the United States was to be portrayed as an enemy, journalists employed by the network, Russian News Service, say they were told by the new managers, who are allies of the Kremlin.

How would they know what constituted positive news?

"When we talk of death, violence or poverty, for example, this is not positive," said one editor at the station who did not want to be identified for fear of retribution. "If the stock market is up, that is positive. The weather can also be positive."

The requirement that half the news be positive isn't as bad as the restrictions on what goes in the other half. There's very little real news reported in most of the Russian media. Putin has been able to get away with this in part because the Russians lack the sorts of beliefs that are needed to support a free society. Democracy is a failure in Russia. Democracy is not the aspiration of all peoples in the world and not all cultures contain the elements needed to support freedom. Russia should serve as a cautionary tale for neoconservative and liberal democracy imperialists.

The rulers in Russia have been able to get away with their crackdown in part because rising oil revenues have created greater prosperity. But Russia is near an oil production peak and eventually revenues will start declining. When living standards start declining will the media manipulations prove sufficient to allow the puppet democracy to remain in power? Time will tell.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2007 August 05 10:33 AM  Russia

Ned said at August 5, 2007 12:08 PM:

Russia is an amazing country which has made enormous contributions to Western literature, music and science. In the last two centuries, Russia suffered greatly while playing a major role in smashing two dictators who arose from the very heart of Europe (Napoleon and Hitler). Unfortunately, Russia never developed a democratic tradition, and now Putin seems to be reverting to the authoritarian-autocratic traditions of his country's rather dark past. Regrettable, surely, but not really surprising. The oil and gas revenues won't last forever, and when they run out, Russia will continue to regress economically as well as politically. It should be remembered, however, that Putin is playing to the home crowd, as his popularity remains very high among ordinary Russians, at least twice that of Bush, for example. For a nice discussion of this topic, see:

Blowing Up Russia: The Secret Plot to Bring Back KGB Terror (Hardcover)
by Alexander Litvinenko (Author), Yuri Felshtinsky (Author)

dchamil said at August 7, 2007 8:50 AM:

"The weather can also be positive." Does this mean that rainy days will not be reported?

Randall Parker said at August 7, 2007 5:42 PM:


"Good news for farmers, food prices, lawns, and gardens: The crops received lots of needed rain!"

Ewan said at January 8, 2016 7:52 AM:

Russia just needs to keep itís calm and everthing will resolve itself, no sense in angering the jewish overlords of the western vassals. Just wait and the Empire will selfdestruct, all other disputes will be dealt with in due time and under more sensible circumstances.

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