Saturday, December 24, 2016

Moscow Media Losing Influence and Audience to Russian Media Set Up by Russians in Other Countries, Pozner Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, December 24 – Vladimir Pozner says that Moscow media directed at Russians abroad is much less influential among Russian speakers in various countries there than is Russian-language media that these communities have created on their own because the latter speak in a language closer to the hearts of their audiences.

            Many commentators lump all Russian-language media into one basket, but the Russian commentator’s words which came in the course of an interview with Baltkom’s Vadim Radionov highlight a division which may play a key role in the ideological struggles in these communities ( and

            Bemoaning the decline in standards of journalism “not only in Russia but in the West as well,” Pozner says that mainstream outlets have lost much of their influence in recent years and that such outlets no longer perform their accustomed role of “the fourth estate,” something that undermines the chances for democratic development.

            But within this general decline, there are real differences, he continues, arguing that “Russian language media do not have significant influence outside of Russia.”  Moscow’s outlets directed at Russian speakers abroad have only a “minimal” impact he says. They don’t attract “particular attention.”

            Increasingly, he says, Russian speakers abroad turn to and even rely on Russian-language outlets not organized by Moscow but by their fellow Russian speakers in this or that country. Such outlets “speak Russian but a Russian which the Russian speakers in these countries speak and not that of Moscow.

            There are exceptions to this rule, of course, and nowhere is that more true than in the three Baltic countries.  Russian speakers there, Pozner says, “are not emigres. They are not people who left the Soviet Union for other countries. These are ordinary Soviet people, and they retain different feelings toward Russia than do those who rally left.”

            To “a remarkable extent,” Russia is “as before their country.” That doesn’t mean they will leave the Baltic countries because they enjoy real advantages there. “But nevertheless, they are more likely to consider themselves aliens” within those countries because they didn’t flee there but were left there when the Soviet Union ceased to exist.

            Today, many of them “feel themselves to be Soviet Russians. And because that is so, Pozner says, Russian, that is Moscow, television “for them is closer, more interesting and more important than are local outlets.”

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