Russia’s Powerful Media Bubble

In his Huffington Post article, University of Pennsylvania Slavic Languages & Literatures professor Kevin M. F. Platt discusses Russia’s media bubble that extends beyond the Russian Federation into Ukraine and the Baltic states.

Watching Russian media has been a sobering experience lately.

Over the past month, a tidal wave of patriotic enthusiasm for the aggressive assertion of Russian power in Ukraine has saturated nearly all print, Internet and television in Russia. Alternative and oppositional news sources have been blocked by state order or purged of independent-minded journalists. The only Russian television chan­nel not under state control, the tiny TV Rain, has been cut off from cable distribution and will soon shut its doors for lack of advertising revenue.

Consequently, the great majority of Russians are hearing a single story about events in Ukraine: a “staged” uprising in Kiev, engineered by the agents and finances of Western states, has brought extremists, nationalists, Russophobes and anti-Semites to power, with Russia stepping in to protect not only Russians living in Ukraine, but the entire world from the forces of chaos, greed and extremism.

The Russian leadership and public appear to be largely united in this view of the world, which is supported by a media-bubble of massive proportions and durability. Russians, it seems, now inhabit a parallel universe that is very far from the reality in…

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