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Friday, June 3, 2016

Out From the Underground: Russia’s New Propagandists

Out From the Underground: Russia’s New Propagandists

The new propagandists who dominated the Russian media were formed by the experience of the trauma of the 1990s and the loss of the certainties of the Soviet past. Their ideology is a fusion of Soviet and imperial Russian ideas. Its chief intellectual weakness is that it must link Russian success to the failure of the West and democracy. For the last two years, propaganda in the Russian media has been much more aggressive and nationalistic. Yet it has failed in its primary objective—changing the outside world. In the West, with its pluralistic social culture, people regard even radical rhetoric as just one of many viewpoints. In Russia, with its state monopoly on the media, the propaganda—largely presented by a group of divided and embittered Soviet-era intellectuals—has made the public neurotic.
Russian media propaganda finally morphed into its current form in March-April 2014, at the height of the Crimea crisis. The new propaganda machine is led by a pack of 40–50 television and radio show hosts and resident experts who drift from one channel to another, constantly raising the degree of tension and promoting their values—or rather anti-values. This propaganda does more to reject “foreign values” than to affirm any of its own.

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