Unhappy with the News, Russia Makes its Own

Remember how the Washington Post recently butted heads with the Russian Federation some weeks ago? Remember all those critical editorials over the past few years? Well it seems that the Kremlin got tired of all the negative press, and decided to start making their own news – primarily with a big paid advertising supplement of propaganda entitled “Russia Beyond the Headlines.” Although one would assume that the best way to change your image in the media would be to improve your conduct and rhetoric (perhaps tone down the scary authoritarianism, military hostility, and lawlessness?), it seems that Russia is expecting the world to adjust to their new reality, rather than the other way around. russiabeyondtheheadlines.gif Here’s a quick review of this surprising return to Soviet-style media from Slate.com’s article “Hail to the Return of Motherland-Protecting Propaganda!

Produced by Rossiyskaya Gazeta, the official Russian government newspaper, the section mimics the look and feel of a hometown paper, with news, an op-ed section, a sports feature (Maria Sharapova), two business pages, an entertainment page, and even a recipe for “Salad Oliver.” But beneath the shattered syntax of these laughable pieces beats the bloody red heart of the tone-deaf Soviet propagandist. No, Papa Putin doesn’t appear in the supplement with two adoring Young Pioneers on his lap. The section never denounces the imperialist running dogs or praises the peace-loving workers of the world. Nor do the writers invoke Marxist-Leninist philosophy to break through the West’s shortsightedness in order to understand present-day objective conditions from a class perspective. There’s no need for such antiquated language when pieces like “The Opposition’s Disarray Is Lucky for Some” exist to carry the new Kremlin’s freight. A USA Today-style infographic at the bottom of “Opposition’s Disarray” reports the results of a poll titled, “Have You Heard of the Other Russia Movement?” The results:

I haven’t heard of it: 61 percent

Not sure: 15 percent

It is a political opposition movement essential for the proper functioning of society: 13 percent

It is a collection of marginal figures who should be kept out of power: 11 percent.

Talk about loaded questions! On the opinion page, we learn in “Dog-Walking—a Gateway to Wisdom” that Vladimir Putin likes Labradors and takes Connie, his Lab, with him to televised events. “Russia’s citizens like Putin, and that’s probably why there are a fair number of Labradors on my neighborhood streets,” the writer states. All glory to Labrador-loving Comrade Putin and his patriotic walking-dog, Connie! Elsewhere on the page, the editors establish editorial guidelines as they solicit questions and views from American readers:

Anonymous letters, personal attacks, letters advocating extremism, letters to other people, mass mailings and commercial appeals are not published.

The new comrades want your phone number, too, but only for verification purposes. I’ll bet that’s what they told the parasite Sakharov.

Read the complete article here.