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How the News
is Reported in Russia
October, 2014
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.

According to the Public Opinion Foundation, one of Russia's major polsters, 88% of Russians get their news from television broadcasts. 43% believe that the news is objective, 37% believe it is not. 43% believe that journalists distort facts "often." 35% believe that, in certain conditions, this is justified. 60% believe that news blackouts are justified in certain conditions.

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Week 1

- Mob Puts Ukrainian Politicians in Trashcans as “People’s Lustration”

According to First Channel, Ukrainian media reported that a mob put some politicians into trashcans and opposition political activists were beaten. First Channel stated that the local authorities there have done nothing to stop this.

The channel described one case in which a gang headed by a city councilman in Kiev rushed into the election committee in the town Irpen and threw the head of the election committee into a trashcan. The gang also forced him to sign a letter of resignation because he allegedly refused to register deputy Oleg Lyashko of the nationalist Radical Party for election. Ukrainian radicals called this a “people’s lustration.” Radicals also beat deputy Nestor Shufrish, giving him a concussion and closed craniocerebral injury. Police were on hand but didn’t interfere.

Russia Channel reported that Interior Minister Avakov wrote a request for no more beatings on his Facebook page, otherwise “Europe will avert its face from our victorious revolution. As well as America, I am afraid.” Radical deputy Oleg Lyashko responded, saying that “Today Ukraine’s patriots lustrated politicians from (former President Yanukovych’s) Party of Regions using trash cans, and tomorrow Avakov and the like will be thrown to the rubbish dump; after assuming their posts they forgot what Maidan stood for.”

First Channel quoted political expert Rostislav Ishenko as saying that state authorities have been destroyed in Ukraine, and instead, men with machine-guns represent Ukraine’s state power. People go to armed radicals for help, not to the police. Radicals can beat an official of any institution, and the police will not interfere.

- Russian Government Invites Foreign Businessmen to Invest

First Channel quoted President Putin at the Russia Calling investment forum as saying that Russian authorities will not renationalize assets privatized in the 90s or limit capital flows. Putin called the sanctions imposed on Russia “complete foolishness” on the part of those EU governments that put limitations on their business and thus “vacated their niche in the growing Russian market for their competitors.”

Meanwhile, Liang Xinjun, the head of China’s major private investment fund Fosun Group, offered to establish an investment center in Moscow for attracting funds from China to Russia. According to Liang Xinjun, China is ready to invest up to 7 trillion dollars in projects abroad.

First Channel reported that businessmen were excited to hear from President Putin about plans to privatize some state owned companies, including oil companies and weapons manufactures. First Channel quoted the Vice-Chairman of the Indian corporation Essar Group, Ravi Ruia, as saying at the forum that Asian businesses will not miss these new opportunities to expand to Russia.

Other news

First Channel

Taganka Theater Director Dies
Shelling Civilians in Donbass
Activists Go Underground
Terrorist Attack in Grozny
Hong Kong Challenges China
Radical Nationalists up for Election
Caspian Sea Boundary Division
Karzai Resigns
Improving Dilapidated Housing
Drivers May Need Psychiatric Exams
Catalonia’s Referendum on Secession
Best Teacher of the Year

Vesti Nedeli

Kindergarten Shelled
Radicals Beat Monument Defenders
Clashes at Donetsk Airport
Towns Constantly Shelled
Ukraine’s Anti-Russian Policy
Czech Republic: Sanctions Will Unite Russia
US Wants EU to Sanction Russia Further
China Warns US Not to Interfere
Not Everybody Likes Powerful China
Obama Shakes World Stability
Famous Theater Director Dies
Countries Agree on Sea Boarders
Pro-Russia Party Wins in Latvia
Synthetic Drugs Kill Russia’s Youth
New Movie by Mikhalkov
5 Killed in Terrorist Attack
Documentary on Malaysian Boeing Crash

Week 2

- Ruble Devaluating with Oil Price Decrease

First Channel reported that the ruble is rapidly devaluating, despite a recent one billion dollar investment by the Russian Central Bank in support of the national currency. Elvira Nabiullina, the head of the Central Bank, cited decreasing oil prices as the main factor of the ruble devaluation.

First Channel stated that recent reforms to the US Federal Reserve System and reduced asset purchases are other reasons for the ruble devaluation, because this type of reduction is perceived as a threat to liquidity, especially for developing markets. Meanwhile, Elvira Nabiulina stated that she hopes that the ruble exchange rate will stabilize in the near future.

In its report on the causes of decreasing oil prices, First Channel stated that the last decrease in oil prices occurred in 2008, when prices decreased by more than 66% as a result of the global economic crisis. First Channel quoted analyst Andrew Cunningham as saying that today, oil prices decreased because of changing market situations: growing oil supplies from Libya, a sharp growth in oil production in the USA and, especially, increased oil export by Iraq. This all resulted in a daily oil supply exceeding the demand by 600,000 barrels per day, which inevitably caused oil prices to decrease.

Another cause was a sharp increase in oil production by Saudi Arabia, which also gives discounts on the oil it sells. This could be caused by President Obama’s aspiration “to use the old trick:” in 1985, Saudi Arabia sharply increased its export of oil, lowering oil prices by some 80%, which resulted in lower budget revenues for the Soviet Union and the subsequent collapse of the USSR. First Channel stated that this trick can be of no use under current conditions of promising new markets, such as China.

In addition, decreasing oil prices will undermine shale oil production in the USA, and could ultimately result in even higher oil prices, stated Rustam Tankaev, an expert from the Union of Oil Producers, in a First Channel interview.

Russia Channel stated that the ruble has never devaluated so much in Russia as after the default of 1998. The channel cited Russia’s heavy dependence on oil as a key factor in the crisis of the national currency, and suggested that Saudi Arabia is increasing its oil export under US pressure. The channel stated that this is a strategy perused by the USA pursues in the global oil and gas market.

- Eurasian Economic Community Becomes Eurasian Economic Union

First Channel reported that “the Eurasian Economic Community of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kirgizstan, and Tajikistan proved itself to be good, but exhausted itself.” As a result, a new Eurasian Economic Union has been established, with Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and now Armenia as members. Kyrgyzstan is thinking of joining as well.

Russia Channel reported that Vietnam, India, Israel, and countries in Latin America and the Asian-Pacific region are also expressing interest in joining the Eurasian Economic Union.

Other news

First Channel

Formula 1 Race
Unrecognized Regions to Hold Elections
1,500 People Missing
Ukraine’s Defense Minister Resigns
New Info on Malaysian Boeing Crash
Ukrainian Rada Fighting Corruption
Who Is Raising Food Prices?
Putin on Improving Roads
Info from German Phone Hack
Obama: Voters Will Evaluate Me
Reaching Age 150

Vesti Nedeli

Donetsk Shelled by Ukrainian Army
Donetsk Wants Ceasefire
Current Situation in Ukraine
Buildings Can’t Be Restored
Drug for Ebola to Be Released
Formula-1 Race in Sochi
New Governor in Crimea
Poroshenko: Boeing Shot by Buk System
Punishments for Fake University
Light Performance in Moscow
Costly Sanctions against Russia
Damages to EU from Sanctions
Romania Could Lose Money
Creating a State for Kurds
Kadyrov’s Methods in Chechnya
Poet’s 150th Anniversary
Southern Military District’s Exercises
Russian Soccer Team Ties
Vongfang Tyfoon in Japan

Week 3

- Moscow Authorities Improve Situation in Food Market

Russia Channel reported that Russians are concerned with the fact that food prices are continuing to rise, despite a record high yield of crops and vegetables this year. One of the reasons for high food prices is the fact that some market sectors are controlled by criminals, who dictate prices. Meanwhile, Moscow’s city government is trying to improve the situation in the food market: one and a half months ago, it opened the first agribusiness cluster in Moscow, which hopefully will improve storage conditions for fruits and vegetables brought to the Moscow area to be sold. Four more clusters will be opened soon.

- Ukraine and Sanctions against Russia Discussed at Milan Summit

First Channel reported that at the Europe-Asia summit in Milan President Putin first met with friends and an hour and a half later met with EU leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel. After over two hours of talks with Merkel, the Kremlin’s press service stated that there are still differences between Russia and Germany on the approach to the Ukrainian crisis.

Russian experts were quoted as saying that there is no unified opinion in the EU on its policy towards Russia, but the anti-Russian group is leading today.

Regarding the issue of resuming supplies of Russian natural gas to Ukraine, President Putin insists that Ukraine pay its current debt by the end of the year. Russia is ready to forgive one billion out of 5.5 billion of Ukraine’s debt, First Channel reported.

In terms of relations between Russia and the US, First Channel reported that US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel’s statement that the US army should be ready to deal with Russia's modern and capable army “caused surprise to everyone.” Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said that such a statement demonstrates that “the Pentagon is developing military plans near Russia’s borders.”

- Economists Believe that Ruble Devaluation Will Cease Soon

First Channel quoted economists as saying that the devaluation of the ruble will end soon because decreasing oil prices have reached their limits. Meanwhile, although Russia’s budget would be fine with oil price of 85 dollars per barrel, economists are not ruling out the worst case scenario and preparing for the price to drop to 60 dollars per barrel.

Other news

First Channel

Nazis in Ukraine
Putin: Oppose Glorifying Nazis
Elections for Ukraine’s Rada
Women Fight in Donbass
Restoring Donbas
CIA Destroys US Enemies
Helping Small Businesses
USA Fights Ebola
Pranks on Foreign Politicians
Director’s Newest Creation
Clashes Continue in Donetsk

Vesti Nedeli

New Heroes: Ukrainian Insurgent
Mob Dictates Ukraine’s Rada
New Defense Minister in Ukraine
No Power or Water in Luhansk
Monument to Be Abolished in Odessa
A Day in the Life: ISIS
Russian Muslims to Fight for “Pure” Islam
Russia Gets Closer to China
Serbia Welcomes Putin
Russian Opposition in Prague
France Extradites Russian Politician
Collective Security Treaty Organization
Document on Snowden to Be Released
British Justice Ministry Proposes Punishments
Synagogue Restored

Week 4

- President Putin Calls for New World Order

First Channel reported that President Putin’s main point from his speech at the Valdai Forum was the need for key global players to establish a new world order. According to Putin, the world established by America poses a threat to itself and requires “an insurance net” for the global system. President Putin said that “the USA does not pose a threat” to Russia, but the “policy of the US ruling elite is fallacious.” Putin said that his speech is “an invitation to joint work” on improving global security.

According to Russia Channel, President Putin stressed that “we will never forget how Russia helped the United States obtain independence, and we will never forget our cooperation and alliance during World War I and World War II. I think that the American and Russian peoples have many deep strategic interests in common, and it is on these mutual interests that we need to build our foundations.”

- Trilateral Negotiations on Gas to Ukraine Have No Result

First Channel reported that Ukraine has not agreed to pay its debt for natural gas supplied by Russia, requesting new supplies first. President Putin commented on that, saying that Russia gave 11 billion USD in loans to Ukraine, including gas supplies at 5.5 billion USD, and does not intend to give any more loans.

Russia Channel reported that Ukraine hopes that Slovakia can share part of its gas, supplied by Russia, thus covering part of Ukraine’s needs for gas.

Other news

First Channel

Election for Ukraine’s Rada
Chaos in Ukraine
Restoring Infrastructure in Ukraine
Oil Company President Dies in Jet Crash
Putin: Russia Can Speak Up
Polish Foreign Minister Apologizes
Terrorist Attacks in Canada
Human Rights Watch on Ukraine
Putin’s Policy Statement
Duma Bill on Off-Shore Profits
Medvedev Meets with Businessmen
Oliver Stone’s New movie
Russian Coach Fined for Comments

Vesti Nedeli

Corruption in Ukrainian Elections
Ukrainian Military’s Plans for Donetsk
Documentary on War in Ukraine
Coal Miners and War
Outcomes of Ukrainian Elections
Oil Company President Dies in Crash
Terrorist Attack in Canada
Russia Improves Health Care
Russian Production Increases
Longer Vacations in Russia than US
Ukraine and EU Solve Problems without Moscow
Book: US Recruits Reporters for Special Service
Malaysian Boeing Shot by Ukrainian Aircraft?
EU Summit on Economic Situation

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