Russian TV Messages about a Western Plot

Published: 20 May 2015

Country: Russia

Monitoring_of_Russian_TVRussian viewers of television news and current affairs, according to a monitoring report, are being told that their country has been targeted by the United States in a ‘western plot’ to bring their country to its knees. Russian TV channels also accuse the US of fomenting the war with Ukraine, while the role of the EU has been downplayed.

“Russian media have been used as instruments of propaganda in the conflict between Ukraine and Russia. The channels diverted attention from important domestic issues and scared the population with the possibility of a war and the need of Russia to protect itself against an external enemy,” says Rasťo Kužel of MEMO 98, a Slovak monitoring group which conducted a monitoring report in cooperation with Internews Ukraine and Yerevan Press Club (YPC) of Armenia.

The report commissioned by the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum (EaP CSF), unique regional platform representing CSOs from six post-Soviet countries, is published on the eve of the Eastern Partnership (EaP) summit that will bring together EU and EaP leaders in Riga on 21 May.

Some of the conclusions of the monitoring report are:

  • Talk shows and news programs on the main television channels on which Russians rely for their information about events at home and abroad uniformly criticize the Ukrainian government and armed forces while supporting the actions of the Russian authorities.
  • Russians are also repeatedly told that the economic difficulties caused by sanctions and the low oil price are temporary and that ‘they can take it’ in a tone reminiscent of World War II.
  • Programs on World War II are a key element of the campaign to encourage Russians to support the government of President Vladimir Putin in a crisis situation which is presented as serious as the threat posed to the Soviet Union by the Nazi Germany 70 years ago.

“The national media enjoying high level of trust and popularity in the Eastern Partnership countries would serve as an effective tool against the Russian media propaganda. In this respect, the existence of truly independent public service broadcasters that would develop impartial editorial practices is essential.” said Boris Navasardian of YPC.

In the same time, Russian parliament this week has passed a law banning “undesirable” international organisations that presents a threat to the defensive capabilities or security of the state, to the public order, or to the health of the population”. In 2014, the parliament passed a controversial law limiting foreign media holdings to 20%.

Full Text of the Russian TV Monitoring Report