Saturday, March 16, 2024

Compared to His Soviet Predecessors, Putin Relies on Fear-Driven Self-Censorship than on Formal Controls, Golosov Says

Paul Goble

             Staunton, Mar. 12 – Censorship in the Russian Federation now is very different from that in the last decades of Soviet power, Grigory Golosov says. Then, the authorities relied on a ramified system of censors and censorship agencies to ensure control. Now, the Kremlin relies more on self-censorship and thus takes action to make fear the primary motivating factor. 

             “The Soviet model was quite repressive,” the St. Petersburg political scientist says; “but it did not expect people to censor themselves to the extent that doing so is what is now expected in contemporary Russia” (

             On the one hand, that means that those who write or speak publicly must interpret what the authorities want, sometimes not controlling their words as much as the powers that be would like but sometimes controlling them even more than the denizens of the Kremlin in fact are ready to demand.

             And it also means that anyone who does violate what the authorities want is at risk of losing his or her job, since almost all positions are either government or government-influenced, or facing criminal sanctions, including being sent to the camps, dangers far greater than most who did offend the censors faced in Soviet times.

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