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26.10.2017

Russian television is not about Russia

Evening show with Vladimir Solovyov
   

EU vs. Disinfo weekly summary of the main topics on Russia’s most watched TV news channels.

The news shows’ agenda in Russia is carefully attuned to serve the Kremlin’s needs.

Therefore, following Russian state controlled media sheds light on our understanding of how the Kremlin seeks to influence the Russian-speaking audience in Russia and beyond. Read our story here.

Our monitoring of pro-Kremlin disinformation also reveals that many of the themes set out in Russia’s most popular state TV news programmes find their way into European outlets.

If you decide to spend a week watching Russian television, you should expect exposure to a massive coverage of the world outside Russia. You will dwell into lengthy analyses of international relations and political affairs in the EU and the US, and you can be sure to be told a lot about Ukraine. But when you switch off your TV and start to reflect, you will also realise that you have heard very little about Russia, and that all the detailed discussions about events abroad repeat a monotonous and well-coordinated message about ruptures and rifts. In this issue of our weekly overview of Russian television, we decided to use the quantitative approach and look at how important the narrative about the world outside is in Russia’s most popular media.

Foreign affairs vs. Russian affairs: 60 – 11

We looked into the topics that were reported and discussed in 15 political and analytical talk shows, broadcast last week on Russia’s three most watched TV channels (Pervy Kanal Rossiya-1 and NTV). We identified a total of 71 topics, out of which 60 were about events outside Russia or about international relations. Only 11 topics exclusively relating to Russia were discussed.

Rupture and rifts: This week’s main messages

The cohort of analytical and political programmes was broadcast between 13 and 19 October 2017 on Russia’s three dominating TV channels: Pervy Kanal, Rossiya-1 and NTV. A total of approximately 21 hours of television (including commercial breaks) were tagged with key topics. Here is our breakdown:

“60 Minut” Rossiya 1, 19:00 Moscow time on 13 October. Duration: 60 minutes, link to the programme.

3 international topics: Pressure being put on Russian speakers in Ukraine; construction of a maritime operations centre at Ukraine’s Ochakiv Naval Base; Ukraine’s controversial language law; no domestic topics.

“Mesto Vstrechi” NTV, 14:00 Moscow time on 13 October. Duration: 2 hours, link to the programme.

6 international topics: Donald Trump’s reported plans to boost the US nuclear arsenal; disagreements between Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson; the US stance on the Iran nuclear deal; US-Russia nuclear standoff; Nato deploying a tank division near Russia’s borders; the situation on the Korean peninsula; and Mikhail Gorbachev’s appeal to Putin and Trump; no domestic topics.

“Vesti Nedeli” Rossiya-1 20:00 Moscow time on 15 October. Duration: 2 hours 26 minutes, link to the programme

14 international topics, 6 domestic. Select topics: “Nazi orgy” in Ukraine; US accuses Russia of fomenting racial hatred with the help of Pokemon Go; why the Americans are taking down Russian flags from Russian diplomatic missions; Ukraine’s probe into the murder of a former Russian MP in Kyiv; the refurbishment of the massive Motherland Calls monument in Russia; a look behind trade in the paranormal in Russia.

“Vecher s Vladimirom Solovyovym” Rossiya-1 22:30Moscow time on 15 October. Duration: 2 hours 26 minutes, link to the programme.

2 international topics: Rift in EU-US relations over Iran; Europe fails to condemn a nationalist march in Kyiv on Saturday; no domestic topics.

“Voskresnoye Vremya” Pervy Kanal, 21:00 Moscow time on 15 October. Duration: 1 hour 33 minutes, link to the programme.

6 international topics, 2 domestic. Select topics: International youth festival begins in Sochi with Putin’s address; construction of bridge to Crimea continues; what is former Russian MP Ponomaryov doing in Ukraine; US is in the grip of madness.

“Itogi Nedeli” NTV, 19:00 Moscow time on 15 October. Duration: 1 hour 15 minutes, link to the programme.

13 international topics, 2 domestic. Select topics: Poroshenko’s troubles in Ukraine; Catalonia standoff continues; “white widows” in Syria.

“Vremya Pokazhet” Pervy Kanal, 17:00 Moscow time on 16 October. Duration: 60 minutes, link to the programme.

3 international topics: Washington’s foreign policy; a statement by German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel that a US withdrawal from the nuclear deal with Iran would push the EU to Russia and China; Russia will soon be able to keep the United States in check; no domestic topics.

“60 Minut” Rossiya-1 TV, 19:00 Moscow time on 16 October. Duration: 1 hour, link to the programme.

3 international topics: North Korea, possible US arms delivery to Ukraine, and Ukraine’s school tuition language law; no domestic topics.

“60 Minut” Rossiya-1 TV, 19:00 Moscow time on 17 October. Duration: 1 hour, link to the programme.

1 international topic: Anti-government protests in Ukraine; no domestic topics.

“Vremya Pokazhet” Pervy Kanal TV 17:00Moscow time on 17 October.Duration: 1 hour, link to the programme.

1 international topic: The latest protests in Kyiv; no domestic topics.

“Vecher s Vladimirom Solovyovym” Rossiya-1, 20:15 Moscow time on 17 October. Duration: 2 hours 28 minutes, link to the programme.

1 international topic: The protests in central Kyiv are farcical and proof of Ukraine failing as a state; no domestic topics.

“Vremya Pokazhet” Pervy Kanal, 17:00 Moscow time on 18 October.Duration: 60 minutes, link to the programme.

1 international topic: Protests in Kyiv may turn into another revolution or Maidan; no domestic topics.

“60 Minut” Rossiya-1 TV, 19:00 Moscow time on 18 October. Duration: 60 minutes, link to programme.

1 international topic: Anti-government demonstrations in Ukraine are run by oligarchs and the United States; no domestic topics.

“Vremya Pokazhet” Pervy Kanal, 17:00 Moscow time on 19 October. Duration: 60 minutes (including commercial breaks), link to programme.

1 international topic: Russia is able to resist US pressure and the United States should cooperate with Russia to resolve problems around the world instead of breaking international law; no domestic topics.

“60 Minut” Rossiya-1 TV, 19:00 Moscow time on 19 October. Duration: 60 minutes, link to programme.

3 international topics: East-West crisis, Ukraine crisis, Catalonia crisis. 1 domestic topic: Ksenia Sobchak runs for Russian presidency.

Note on methodology: Two topics were labelled neither international, nor domestic due to their cross-national nature, namely the World Festival of Youth and Students held in Sochi and the Interparliamentary Union Assembly, hosted by Russia in St. Petersburg.

Disinformation on Pervy Kanal, Rossiya-1 and NTV:

Click here for examples of disinformation appearing on Pervy Kanal and which have been reported to the Disinformation Review database.

Click here for examples of disinformation appearing on Rossiya-1 and which have been reported to the Disinformation Review database.

Click here for examples of disinformation appearing on NTV and which have been reported to the Disinformation Review database.

https://euvsdisinfo.eu/russian-television-is-not-about-russia/

 

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