Why and how Vladimir Putin is trying to regain control over Russia Media Essay Sample

8 August 2017

“Without genuinely free media Russian democracy will non last and we will non win in constructing a civil society” ( Sakwa. Richard ) these were the words of Vladimir Putin in the summer of 2000 shortly after he replaced Boris Yeltsin as the president of Russia. The media breathed a suspiration of alleviation because all indicants were that Putin would back up free media to raising and turn democracy in Russia.

In a democratic apparatus. freedom of the imperativeness is enshrined in the fundamental law which guarantees “the public address frequently through a province fundamental law for its citizens and associations of single extended to members of intelligence assemblage organisations and their published reporting” ( http: //en-wikipedia. org/wiki/freedom-of-the-press ) . However. in Russia the media claim to be independent but “respect the elected politicians” which can be referred to intend that they can non knock openly the opinion category.

During the reign of Mikhail Gorbarchev in the late 1980’s.

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before the decomposition or the Soviet Union. he favored freedom of address. During Boris Yeltsin’s epoch. the media was privatized and now was run by powerful Oligarchs who “proceeded to utilize media as a arm in their battle against each other and to act upon the policies of the state” ( Sakwa. Richard ) . The greatest challenge so for the Russian media was the fact that the jurisprudence for the on media was based o European Media Torahs and did non needfully reflect the emerging events in Russia. ( Russian Development Portal. ( 24 June 2005 )

To understand or grok the state of affairs that the Russian people were confronting. it is of import to understand the positions in respects to the executive determinations that affected them during the epoch of Boris Yeltsin. They had a enormous disfavor for the freshly formed constructs of market economy’s and democracy. which they regarded as infliction from the West. They felt that Boris Yeltsin had bungled up by giving-in to the foreign and align constructs. Under Boris Yeltsin Russia sunk into the Chechen war. between 1994 and 1996 Russia was humiliated in this war corrupting the full state that was one time a ace power. ( Human Rights Watch. ( February 1995 ) )

Besides. the life criterions had taken a nose honkytonk and the general public had lost all religion in the government of Boris Yeltsin. Therefore in 2000 when Putin took over power. people’s hopes were raised. Putin was “fairly immature. healthy. forceful. magnetic are really intelligent man” with a clear apprehension of both local and foreign personal businesss and experience gained while in the K. G. B. ( Lipman. M. and M. McFaul. ( 2001 ) the people had faith in the immature adult male. despite warnings from the media and some lawgivers. The general public did non mind a powerful executive. because they were used to the regulation of powerful sovereigns with huge power. in fact western Democracy was an align construct here. ( Timothy J. Colton. Michael MacFaul ( 2003 )

Therefore. after Putin ascended to power. in 2000. the media function in the state took a new bend from being “relatively free during Yeltsin” .

( hypertext transfer protocol: //www. carnegieru/en/point/67662: print. htm )

Under Yeltsin the degree of corruptness had escalated “organized offense began to morph through into a semi-legitimate establishment. ”

( World Wide Web. pinr. com/report. php? ac=view_report+report )

The oligarchs. made up of several wealthy and powerful persons in Russia. had an upper manus in the fate of the economic system. The Russian people on the other manus had lost so much religion in the authorities and their assurance in it was at highly low points. ( BBC. September 8. 1999 )


Upon go uping to power in 2000. Putin who is the Russian President undertook a spirited run to increase province ownership of the media and ban the stuffs that were available in the mass. print and electronic media. The major ground why Putin took these otherwise drastic steps was towards guaranting that he consolidates power. He used several methods to stamp down or incorporate the freedom that the media enjoyed. He resorted to utilizing the province machinery and policies to carry through this.

Today Russia Media fraternity is afloat with deficiency of aim coverage which goes towards increasing Putin’s popularity evaluation. ( Timothy J. Colton. Michael MacFaul ( 2003 ) .

The media has continued to play a major function in determining the political landscape of Russia. In certain state of affairss the populace were duped about issues and made to believe falsities that wanted to portray the authorities in good visible radiation. A good illustration is the Chechnya war where the Russian media has continued to demonise and revile the Chechens yet disregarding or understating the agonies that the war is conveying to the general populace within the affected country. The media chose to understate the devastation of small towns and towns taking to refugee crisis and the ferociousness meted out to the Chechens by the Russian military personnel. ( Gordon. Michael R. . . ( 2000 )

Putin realized that to stay in power. any signifier of resistance had to either be contained or neutralized all together. Putin realized the function a powerful media played in the personal businesss of Russia. The media had the capacity to do or interrupt a president. Boris Yeltsin his predecessor knew this excessively good because through the support of the media he was elected president in 1996. The media did non trim him but criticized him during his reign particularly in the botched first Chechnya war. ( Human Rights Watch. ( May 1995 )

During the 1996 Russian run many electors were swayed after watching footages of Boris Yeltsin dancing with a terpsichorean in one of the young person rallies. The footage entirely bolstered Yeltsin’s opportunity of being reelected president. The footage wished to convey the message of “a dynamic. vernal reformer” . The media did non state the truth as Yeltsin was at the brink of another monolithic bosom onslaught. ( McNair. B. ( 2000 )

Putin’s image was besides boosted by the media in March 26 election being depicted as a “Russian heavy weapon blaring Grozny to rubble” . ( McNair. B. ( 2000 )

However. one can non clearly understand under what fortunes this was go oning particularly in the modern twenty-four hours and clip. It is of import first to understand the background before projecting any slurs.

Media background and restructure in Russia

Putin did non put the land work for the censorship of the media ; this was done by his predecessor Boris Yeltsin. Yeltsin’s authorities laid the model within which the media could be silenced. It is deserving observing that Yeltsin himself was non rather lament in seeking to hush the media. However through the statute law that he helped put up. any future President could use it to command the media. Putin did precisely this.

On 8ThursdayMay 1998. Boris Yeltsin issued a edict that saw the all local and authorities installations which included senders brought under the legal power of RTR. This meant that as it deemed fit. RTR could establish steps to command the media. This besides meant that the commercial T. V. was now dependent on the RTR for any technological support. Thus the RTR could be an effectual tool to command and pull strings all the Stationss in Russia. ( Gunther. R. & A ; Mugan. . 2000 )

Moves to Consolidate Power

When Putin took over power. he faced assorted challenges at the place forepart that threatened the really being of his regime. Several challenges faced him:

On 12ThursdayAugust 2000 the undersea catastrophe caught the world’s headlines. Kursk the Russian pigboat which was atomic powered sunk in the Barents Sea. in an exercising that was supposed to be a show of might by Russia. ( ) While this was go oning Putin was out on a vacation in a Black Sea Resort of Socchi. The media highlighted the catastrophe indicating finger at Putin and his unenrgetic military heads. On 22neodymiumAugust after meeting. the households of the dead crew. Putin attacked the media particularly the barons for seeking to do political milage of the catastrophe on T. V. ( Lipman. M. and M. McFaul. ( 2001 ) . He declared 23rdAugust 2002. a national twenty-four hours of mourning in the full state. The naval forces was portrayed by the media as inept in the whole deliverance mission.

Some media houses went farther to even procure the list of the dead crewmans although these were classified military stuff. Komsomolskaya Pravda managed to acquire the list by corrupting a naval officer with 18. 000 debriss. ( hypertext transfer protocol: //keesings. gvpi. cyberspace. 26 May 2004 )

Putin put steps to do certain that the media was kept off from the scene of the accident. Merely RTR under Oleg Dobrodeev was allowed near to the scene. Anything that would hold been damaging politically for Putin was cancelled. ( )

Though ab initio the province had fumbled pull offing the crisis. it finally did pull off to incorporate the whole state of affairs including guaranting merely Kremlin friendly Stationss were allowed entree to the site.

Dubrovka Theatre Siege

On 23rdOctober 2002. about 800 people go toing a phase show at the Dubrovka Theatre were held surety by about 50 Chechen terrorists or Rebels of whom many were adult females. The Rebels threatened to blow up the whole topographic point if their political demands of conveying an terminal to the Chechnya War were non fulfilled. The media took Centre phase and went farther in front and ventured in the theater to interview the surety – takers. ( Speckhard. Anne & A ; Akhmedova. Khapta ( 2005 ) . Russian Torahs don’t allow this. within no clip the authorities got the chance to ban the information the populace was accessing and started taking control of the flow of information in the mass media.

The NTV investigated and reported 129 sureties died of nervus gas toxic condition. This happened after the Russian ground forces was called in to deliver the sureties in an operation that lasted about 57 hours. Another ground for the high figure of deceases was besides because of deficiency of adequate and efficient medical attending for the victims after the gas toxic condition. This study was supported by Boris Nemstov of Union of Rightist Forces ( SPS ) who had carried a similar probe. The Russian security forces had bungled the whole deliverance operation that led to the decease of guiltless Russians.

NTV’s disclosures did non travel down good with Putin who termed the probe as “business in blood” and went in front to declare the study by NTV as a piece of work geared towards seeking inexpensive sensationalism from the populace. After this contention the caput of NTV was replaced by the Kremlin. ( White. S. . McAllister. I. And S. Oates ( 2002 )

Having this in head Putin. saw the demand for the “media to be subservient to the government” . Therefore he sought ways of doing the media to be a portion of the authorities. In the new philosophy of the Information Security of the Russian federation of 2000. Putin spelled out the importance of the media as an plus for national security.

The authorities came up with assorted methods that enabled it contain and command the influence the media wielded. ( Zassoursky. I. ( 2004 )

Methods of muzzling the media

I ) . Forceful acquisition and bullying

This was first method that Putin chose to use to guarantee that the authorities had full control of the media. ( Nemtsov. B. ( 1999 ) )

After Putin took the reigns of power he moved with velocity against the two oligarchs who had the control of the major electronic and print media in Russia. The two powerful and affluent business communities were Vladimir Gusinsky who owned NTV a major private television-station with some publication involvements. The other was Boris Berezosky who controlled the province telecasting channel ORT including newspapers which had great influence.

The two media houses were dramatically and forcefully taken over by the authorities and the proprietors ( the media barons ) forced to fly Russia. The authorities took over these companies under the stalking-horse that the companies were executing ill at the economic forepart and that they were extremely indebted to the province. Presently the province controls all media in Russia and any unfavorable judgment of the authorities or the executive is really rear so. ( White. S. . McAllister. I. And S. Oates ( 2002 ) .

Besides the media. Putin ensured that the biggest industrial earner in Russia was under government’s control. To make this he made a spirited run to get Yukos one of the biggest oil companies in Russia. Mikhail Khodorkovsky who was the caput of Yukos was jailed under the pretense of the indebt cape of Yukos to the authorities. Khodorkovsky prior to this apprehension had begun financing political forces against Putin utilizing the fundss from Yukos. he had to be silenced and contained.

The authorities of Russia today controls virtually every facet of the energy and media subdivisions. Such control goes towards consolidating power and stamp downing any signifier of dissent that any powerful single or motion would desire to show against the authorities.

two ) . Patroling the Web

In Russia. all internet service suppliers are required to associate their computing machines to the FSB ( once the KGB ) . Seven more jurisprudence enforcement organic structures have been mandated by the authorities to supervise the World Wide Web and in peculiar screen electronic mails and supervise the electronic traffic. “This is by definition. a misdemeanor of the cardinal and constitutional rights of the citizen” ( Yuri Udovin. deputy president of the St. Petersburg-based group citizens’ ticker. The media have been silent on such misdemeanors

three ) Appointment of friendly personalities in cardinal places

Another common maneuver the authorities started to set in to utilize by mid 2002 was naming persons friendly to Kremlin into polar stations within the province media.

Outstanding personalities appointed in this mode include

-Marat Gelam an influential member of Moscow’s artistic Community was appointed as Deputy General Director in charge of political analysis and public dealingss for the ORT. ( The Moscow Times. 2002 )

-General Kobaldze of the Foreign Intelligence Service was appointed the deputy General Director of ITAR-TASS.

-FSB Lt. General Alexander Zdnovich was appointed as the Deputy Chair of All- Russian Television and Radio Company ( VGTRK ) responsible for the security ( Yakov. V. 2002 ) .

– General Vladimir Kozolov was appointed Deputy Media Minister ; prior to this he was one of the leaders of FSB Anti-Terrorist Center.

– General Aksionov from the Interior Ministry was appointed as the Head of TV-7.

four ) . Legislation and Investing barriers

There are assorted universe wireless Stationss that operate in Russia. These include Radio free Europe ( of the US authorities media grouping ) and BBC which has non had any incidences of traversing blades with the Russian authorization. However the Russian authorities has continuously put up barriers to restrict any signifier of abroad investings particularly in the media. This twelvemonth the authorities passed Torahs that go towards forbiding bulk foreign ownership in the states telecasting media. ( McNair. B. ( 1994 )

This statute law saw CNN’s Ted Turner effort to put in Russian media run into legislative assembly constriction. ( Emma Gray ( 2005 )

After the passage of this jurisprudence. the authorities took control of the media a notch higher. it refused to negociate with the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development ( the biggest foreign investor in Russia ) to mend the Ostankino Television Towers. The thought was to enable all broadcasters could utilize at unvarying monetary values. The authorities refused so that it could utilize its ain pricing mechanism as a tool to ban messages that ran contrary to its political orientations.

V ) . Economic Methods

Kremlin besides uses other signifiers of economic techniques to muzzle the media.

In January 2002 Putin assented to a new jurisprudence that saw the transportation of the control of authorities subsidies that benefit the regional newspapers. In the new jurisprudence the duty was transferred to the Press Ministry from the local politicians. ( Androunas. E. ( 1993 )

The move by and large affected about 2000 newspapers that enjoy the subsidies in the state. This is a mechanism that is put in topographic point to guarantee that the cardinal authorities is able to reign in on ‘rebel’ imperativenesss. Most medias ( electronic and imperativeness ) particularly in the rural countries of Russia depend entirely on the local decision makers to finance some of their operations.

Another economic method that the Russian Government uses is persecution for revenue enhancement arrears conspiring with Bankss to remember delinquent loans. or bureaucratic ruddy tape to get operating licenses.


In Russia. the public to the full embraces the policies their president Vladimir Putin has continued to present. He is viewed as the strong adult male that the state has been hankering for because Russia one time more is holding a say in major universe issues a clout that it had lost over the old ages because of non so popular presidents.

The general people has continued back uping the control of the media. which they view as an extension of the democracy the West have continued to subscribe for Russia. Democracy has no topographic point in Russia.


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