Russian TV is not about Russia: Ukraine, US, EU get six times more attention in last week’s most watched shows

Vecher s Solovtovym talk show prefers any international topic to Russian issues

 

Analysis & Opinion, Information security

  • This is a 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 the story here.
  • The EU vs Disinfo 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 realize 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.

This popular parody account on Twitter agrees that Russian TV is not about Russia.

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 center 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 program.

  • 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 program.

  • 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 program.

  • 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 program.

  • 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 program.

  • 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 program.

  • 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 program.

  • 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 program.

  • 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 program.

  • 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 program.

  • 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 program.

  • 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 the program.

  • 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 the program.

  • 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 the program.

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

Note on methodology: Two topics were labeled 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

Source: EU vs Disinfo

Tags: ,

  • Tony

    Russian school boy to mother: why do we have a lower GDP per capita than the Baltics? Why do we have more corruption than them? Why do we arrest children for single person pickets?
    Mother: it’s all Ukraines fault
    Russian school boy: *facepalm*

  • Ihor Dawydiak

    There has been another option which many viewers have adopted when watching RT News and documentaries and especially when multiple viewers are gathered in one place to view these programs. In this setting, the group of viewers turn the audio off and substitute their own derogatory words while mocking the speeches of the actual presenters. In a manner of speaking, this type of banter serves the viewers with some real entertainment while belittling the RT News broadcasters.

    • veth

      A Ukrainian militant sniper killed the soldier of the Donbass self-defence forces, Slobodyanyuk Anastasia Igorevna (call name “Snow White”), who had been the girlfriend of the murdered Mikhail “Givi” Tolstykh, the Apostrophe edition reports referring to a Twitter link.

      She was killed by a Ukrainian sniper in the area of Spartak, the Donetsk region, on October 19.

      On the site of the Mirotvorets (“Peacemaker”) terror centre Anastasia was listed as a girl of Mikhail Tolstykh.

      Slobodyanyuk was a sniper of the Donbass self-defence forces, fighting for the independence and freedom of the region since 2014. She was twice wounded in the hostilities, including in battles for the Donetsk airport. She also participated in battles outside Ilovaisk.

      The girl was 26 years old.

  • Oknemfrod

    I pity those having to watch this garbage, even if only for the sake of writing an article.

  • zorbatheturk

    RuSSian TV is full of bull.

  • Cargocat

    Actually Russian television is not much different than Canadian CBC TV. CBC features mostly anti-Trump and UN related stories while ignoring or covering up Trudeau mishaps.