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Foreign Policy Centre

Ideas for a fairer world


Putin and the Press: Revival of Soviet Style Propaganda

[Cover of Putin and the Press: Revival of Soviet Style Propaganda]

Oleg Panfilov

June 2005

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The re-emergence of the traditions of Soviet propaganda since 2000 represents a new era for the Russian media and domestic policy. This development has been facilitated by the dominance of Soviet-era journalists: up to 70 per cent of those currently working in the mass media in Russia were Soviet educated or employed by the Soviet media, where propaganda and counter-propaganda were considered an important part of state ideology.

The widespread presence in government posts of Putin's former KGB and FSB colleagues has also fostered this revival of Soviet-style propaganda. Their actions and decrees are evidence of a belief that it remains essential for Russian society to be dependent on regular dosages of manipulated information for Russia, and the reign of President Putin, to endure.

This pamplet, by one of the most courageous of post-Soviet journalism is a stinging indictment of the passivity of the mass media in Russia in the face of the re-emergence of Soviet-style propaganda techniques and administrative direction. It may be that such passivity, as much as the actions of the Putin Administration itself, is the most important foundation of the relative lack of critical analysis of Putin in much Russian media.