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This is something I wrote on Facebook the other day in response to news, as
reported on Meduza, a Russian news website in exile in Latvia, that the US
government would be investigating Sputnik. This goes to the question of why
people like Chris Hedges and Noam Chomsky are impelled to appear on RT.


"Meduza reviews the case against Sputnik and examines the consequences it
could have for U.S. media outlets in Russia."

What US media outlets in Russia? The US and other western countries have no
outlets that are broadcast to the general Russian public at all in any way.

Back in the day, you could listen to Radio Svoboda and BBC World Service on
AM radio in the big cities, but those days are long gone.

There have never been any US or western TV channels on the free-to-air
airwaves, except for the incredibly lightweight Euronews, which has now
been cancelled.

In terms of print media, The St. Petersburg Times bit the dust two or three
years ago, The eXile even longer ago, and The Moscow Times has been reduced
to a website-only publication.

It's worth bearing in mind that none of these outlets just disappeared from
Russia by themselves. The Russian government deliberately pushed them out,
shut them down or drove them onto the Internet, where they are mostly
invisible to everyone, except the oddballs who go looking for them. I would
hope there are many such oddballs, but my sense of how Russians consume
media is that only Russians who are completely fluent in foreign languages
bother to force themselves to read, say, The New York Times.

It's always easier to read media in your own language, and that doesn't
just apply to Russians of course.

Most Russians live utterly free of any contact with US or other western
media outlets.

When Putin erects a Chinese-style firewall between Russia and the rest of
the world next year, as one of the crackdowns he'll unleash, I predict, to
"celebrate" his "victory" in the presidential elections, that will put an
end to even the unbelievably slight influence western media has on how
Russians perceive the world.

"Quality serials," as viewed on Amediateka, Netflix, et al., and otherwise
downloaded from the web, are a whole different story, but they're a form of
escapism, not a form of engagement with the wider world, its politics,
conflicts, and different ways of thinking and talking about those things.


P.S> As for the Voice of America, Ralph Johansen, I have never seen any
evidence that Russians listen to it at all. Probably because they
technically can't, unless they're short-wave radio buffs. How many
short-wave radio buffs do you know?

VOA is a relic of the Cold War, even if it nominally exists somewhere out
there in the ether or the internets.

Foreign media mostly have no impact on how Russians view the world for the
simple reason that most Russians don't speak foreign languages.

So all the poisonous voices of the western mainstream media are lost on

But they are prone to the voices of the Russian mainstream media, which
have become so nazified in the last ten years that you can hardly believe
what you're watching and reading is real.

So, I get a little miffed by the idea that Russians should have to foot the
bill for neo-Nazi propaganda, on the Russian-language channels they have
easy access to at home, while also footing the bill for the festival of
free speech on RT, which they have much less or no access to at all.

If western leftists really do have trouble getting their ideas across to
the general public, they should ask a people oppressed by a corrupt,
violent tyranny for the last eighteen years, to do it for them.
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