Monday, December 3, 2018

How Bad are Things in Russia? State TV Now Telling Russians What They Must Do to Survive

Paul Goble

            Staunton, December 3 -- The battle of the television and the refrigerator has entered a new phase, and television has surrendered: Moscow’s First Channel is now providing advice to viewers on how they can economize on food and clothing.  Commentators say this “mirroring of reality” is a danger signal.

            Mikhail Bely, an URA news agency journalist, reports that the First Channel’s Good Morning program now features segments on how to cut spending by not taking children to stores, purchasing only domestically produced items, and selecting wooden toys rather than more expensive plastic ones for New Year’s (

                Konstantin Kalachev, a political analyst, says that similar advice was doled out by Soviet television as an example of “’popular wisdom’” rather than as something forced on people by circumstances. Now, the Russian broadcasters don’t even try to cover up the fact that falling incomes make economizing a necessity.

            Ilya Paymushkin, head of the Social Communications agency, says that Russians in most places have already had to economize, but the television broadcasts give this economizing a name – and thus reinforce its meaning for those engaged in its.  Other analysts are less certain that this is happening.

            Bely reports that a source in First Channel tells him that he “does not see in the subject anything sensational” in such stories.  Russians have always been interested in getting things for the lowest price they can, and Moscow television has been talking about this “for decades.” Indeed, the source says, “economizing is one of the most attractive themes for TV viewers.”

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