Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Putin TV Not about Propaganda but about Dehumanizing Its Viewers, Yakovenko Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, October 18 – It is long past time calling “the content of Russia media propaganda,” Igor Yakovenko says. Propaganda is about promoting and spreading an ideology, “a system of ideas concerning the future and ways of achieving them.” But there is no Putinist ideology, and there isn’t going to be any.

            In an article in Yezhednevny zhurnal, the Russian commentator says that the immediate goal of Putin television is “to cover with dirt the opponents of the regime, foreign and domestic.” That puts it in sharp contrast with Soviet propaganda which despite its hypocrisy and falseness at least had a broader message (

                For the hosts of state television programs now, he continues, there is no broader message. Attacking and destroying the reputation of anyone the Kremlin doesn’t like is sufficient because “the goal of Putin television is the establishment of an industry of the de-humanization of the population” by destroying all norms and values. 

            Many opponents of the regime willingly participate in such programs confident that their arguments are stronger and that that will make a difference. In many cases, as Yakovenko documents, they are right about the arguments but wrong about their ability to have an impact given that the hosts don’t want a debate but a show and don’t engage in genuine discussions.

            “Exceptionally rare are the cases when a second point of view in practice looks justified,” he argues.  And consequently, those who do agree to take part in such programs are in fact “helping to achieve the plan of the organizers of these shows, to raise the level of hatred toward enemies of the powers foreign and domestic,” and to belittle anyone who disagrees.

            As result, “opponents of the powers may speak wisely and even completely convincingly” from the point of view of practice, but that doesn’t matter because that is not why they are invite to take part in shows that are not about propaganda in the usual sense but about the destruction of all decent norms of human behavior.

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