Russian media – Tools of power

The 10th annual Aleksanteri Conference welcomed more than 200 participants to this year’s discussions on "Fuelling the Future, assessing Russia’s Role in Eurasia’s Energy Complex".

Russian media - Tools of power

One of the panels took a closer look at Russian media and their relationship with energy producing companies and the Russian state. The panelists: Dr. Katja Koikkailainen and Dr. Jukka Pietiläinen from the Aleksanteri Institute and media professor Dmitry Strovsky from the Ural State University discussed the theme.

- Authoritarian power is blossoming and many repressive measures against Russian media have been taken over the last years. During the Putin era news in all main TV channels became very similar to each other in all regards. Putin tightened the media more than Gorbachev and even Yeltsin did. At the moment there is an ongoing concentration of media capital to please the interests of the state power, Dmitry Strovsky explains.

- There are no longer remnants of political pluralism in Russian media compared to Yeltsin’s decade. The energy sector, such as the oil and gas industry where many Russian media proprietors also have their interests is very close to the political hierarchy. Political leadership in Russia affects even the Internet, which traditionally is seen as an independent source of information.

The media were used as a propaganda tool during the whole Soviet period. The way of using the media did, however, not end with the collapse of communism and privatization of the media. TV channels and major newspapers were the investment targets of the nouveau riche oligarchs who have been quick in using media to protect their own interests. Over the last decade Russia finally missed a chance to accumulate Western values where the media undoubtedly play an active civic role in supporting the frameworks of democracy.

- I am pretty pessimistic that the situation in the media will be changing in the future because the existing power does not seem to be craving for any serious political transformation, Strovsky concludes.

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Teksti: Karin Hannukainen
Kuva: Vokabre / Flickr

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