Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Nonexistent Financial Crisis

It seems as if the Russian media's approach to the current financial crisis is to simply ignore that it has had an impact on the Russian economy. The Moscow Times reports that:
The main channels have either downgraded or ignored altogether Russia's financial turmoil since it began in mid-September, according to media monitoring companies and research by The Moscow Times. On Monday, for instance, none mentioned the meltdown in Russia or any possible repercussions from the crisis. Only the smaller Ren-TV and Zvezda channels mentioned the stock plunge, according to Medialogia, a private company that tracks the media. ...

The Kremlin recently instructed both state and privately owned television channels to avoid using words like "financial crisis" or "collapse" in describing the turmoil in Russia, said Vladimir Varfolomeyev, first deputy editor at Ekho Moskvy radio.

"Specifically, the blacklist includes the words 'collapse' and 'crisis.' It recommends that 'fall' be replaced with the less extreme 'decrease,'" Varfolomeyev said in comments posted on his LiveJournal blog late last week.

This media blackout is similar to ones that occurred in the Russian media after the Beslan massacre and the sinking of the Kursk. When the effects of the crisis become visible and palpable, I think a lot of people will be wondering where it came from. Since the media has refused to cover this, I think it will simply delegitimize the current Russian mainstream media and cause them to seek alternative media sources which actually cover crises.

1 comment:

Yana said...

Maybe it's the fact that I read certain Russian news media sources that could be seen as kind of "alternative" (i.e not Russian government owned), but I have been reading about the economic problems there from time to time. I did a quick search and found for instance, an opinion poll on the website RIA Novosti (a Moscow based news source) that says that only 7% of Russians believe the economy is healthy: At the same time, you can still look through a lot of news sites and find images of Ferrari festivals in Red Square and other crazy shows of wealth, reinforcing that idea that not only is everything fine, but people are actually doing quite well. Judging from the poll though, I'm not sure a majority of the Russian people are buying either approach.