/ HOW THE NEWS IS REPORTED IN RUSSIA, MAY 2012
How the News is Reported in Russia May 2012 by Andrei Nesterov editorial support by Margaret Godwin-Jones
The two largest state-run television stations in Russia are First Channel and Russia Channel. Most Russians get their news from one of these two stations. SRAS's Andrei Nesterov compiled the following synopsis of how major events were covered by news reports on these two stations. This news review is part of SRAS's monthly "obzor" publications. For more reviews, see the newsletter for this corresponding month. If you would like to request that a story be covered here, inform our editor.
We are now providing weblinks to the related stories from the Russian broadcasters when available online! If no link is available, the material was covered in broadcasts, but not posted (or at least not found by us) online.
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May, Week 4
New Cabinet Formed; United Russia Elects Medvedev as Chairman
Russia Channel reported that new appointments make up 75% of the recently formed Cabinet; only a few ministers remained in their posts – the Defense Minister, Foreign Minister, and Minister of Justice. The rector of Moscow University of Steel and Alloys, Dmitry Livanov, was appointed Education Minister, while the head of the Moscow city police, Vladimir Kolokoltsev, was appointed Minister of Interior Affairs. In addition, a new ministry, The Ministry of the Russian Far East, was established to focus on the development of that specific region.
First Channel added that many younger people were appointed to the new cabinet. Nikolai Nikiforov, who was recently appointed Minister of Communication, became, at 29-years old, the youngest person ever to be appointed a minister in Russia.
First Channel discussed rumors that the president’s administration would be a “shadow Cabinet,” stating that these rumors are false, and that those appointed to the Presidential Administration “would have various other duties.”
First Channel also reported on the United Russia Party Convention, which appointed Dmitry Medvedev as party chairman. Medvedev has recently joined United Russia. Speaking at the convention, Dmitry Medvedev stated that United Russia should “advance,” not just nationally, but even in regions where “people know the real deal.”
Medvedev, Russia Chanel reported, also made a revolutionary proposal concerning party positions: he proposed elections within the party for all positions, top to bottom, from secretaries to the general council. He stated that the party should modernize, so that there would be real competition for all posts and responsibilities within the party, including competition for those wishing to lead the party. Sergei Naryshkin, a member of the State Duma, stated that Medvedev’s call for elections is “not a bad idea, very democratic.”
First Channel reports that in a protest against authorities, young people are setting up camps and sleeping outdoors in downtown Moscow, moving to different locations every night after police drive them away. In the Chistye Prudy neighborhood, for example, protesters were giving lectures on political issues, including the issue of non-violently dismissing authorities.
On May 17, protesters actively resisted policemen who tried to remove their camp. As a result, 12 protesters were detained; they were released a few hours later. Meanwhile, Duma deputies decided to strengthen laws on rallies, with more severe penalties for rally participants who violate the law, First Channel reports.
Russia Channel quoted the head of the LDPR party, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, as saying that the rally participants are “well-to-do people” who do not need anything, but just want to do something because they are “bored.” On the other hand, Zavtra newspaper editor and writer Aleksandr Prokhanov called the protesters heralds of an “orange revolution.”
Over three thousand people attended Vladimir Putin’s swearing-in ceremony, including government officials, governors, foreign diplomats, and religious leaders. It was heavily covered on all Russian news sources.
First Channel reported that Vladimir Putin’s first decree as president was to give a one-time financial award to World War II veterans commemorating the 67th anniversary of victory. Other decrees were related to creating 25 million high-tech jobs, establishing more kindergarten spaces, and increasing salaries for teachers, scientific and medical workers.
In addition, Vladimir Putin arranged a new 6-billion ruble contract for the Uralvagonzavod plant, whose workers actively supported Putin during the presidential election race.
TV channels also reported that the Duma approved Dmitry Medvedev’s appointment as prime minister. Vladimir Putin attended the Duma session together with Dmitry Medvedev, and gave his endorsement to Medvedev. On the other hand, the Duma's Communist fractions and most members of A Just Russia voted against Dmitry Medvedev. Gennady Zyuganov, the leader of the Communist Party, reported to the media that the current economic and social system in Russia needs to be changed.
Russia Channel reported that Dmitry Medvedev outlined his program in a speech given to the Duma. Some objectives are to reduce mortgage rates, reform military forces, raise the life expectancy to 74 years, and create obligatory exams for immigrants in Russian language, history and law.
On May 6, Russian TV reported that President Medvedev dismissed the Commander of the Air Force, Colonel General Aleksandr Zelin, and the Naval Commander, Admiral Vladimir Vysotsky.
While TV channels did not offer any commentary, RIA news agency quoted an anonymous source as saying that the Navy Commander was dismissed because he refused to relocate the Navy Staff to St. Petersburg, insisting that a special, heavily protected compound would be needed for such a relocation, rather than the existing plan to settle the Navy Staff in the Admiralty Building in downtown St. Petersburg.
RIA reported that in April, the Commander of Land Forces was also replaced by President Medvedev. They quoted another source as saying that although the dismissed Navy and Air Force Commanders are “highly qualified officers, loyal to the Defense Ministry leadership,” their dismissal signifies a change in military structure: separate command structures for different types of military forces will soon be abolished, and instead, a unified command will be established over all military forces.
New commanders were appointed in place of those dismissed: Major General Victor Bondarev as Air Force Commander, and Vice Admiral Victor Chirkov as Navy Commander. Both new appointments have accomplished histories with the military, Vesti reported. Chirkov graduated from Makarov Pacific Military School, and also studied at Kuznetsov Military Academy and the Armed Forces Military Academy. Bondarev studied at Borisoglebsk Military Academy, then was appointed as a pilot instructor at the Barnaul Military Academy.