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Russian Propaganda: A Comparative Study Focussing on the War and Today

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Russian Domestic Propaganda

Russia has a long history of using propaganda to control the population. Russian domestic propaganda truly took root in the society during the Cold War era when the communist leaders used newspapers, posters, and the radio to spread their message across a huge audience and to control the opinions of their people. This propaganda was primarily Marxist and idealist based which is different than the propaganda that we may see in Russia today. In more current times in Putin’s Russia propaganda is used to sway the citizens towards approval of the government and to keep the citizens in the shadows of events not only occurring in Russia but events occurring throughout the world. In more modern times the government uses different tools to sway the public such as the use of state controlled media, restricting the information that is leaked to the public, and to have high levels of approval for their government. The government not only uses this to invoke Nationalism within the society but to blatantly lie and cover up military actions that they are perpetrating throughout the surrounding region. In a society where not only a previous government has failed but also the propaganda the government and the leaders have to change and work differently to influence the minds of their people. This has worked to the advantage of the government and their leaders because they are able to restrict the voices of those who oppose the government.

A common tool they now use is state controlled broadcasts which pick what news to share with the Russian public. With this they sway the public opinion of Russia to be in favor of the government and use this to create lies about other governments and enemies that the Russian government has. The Russian people fell victim to this during the annexation of Crimea when the government portrayed the Ukrainian army as Neo Nazi’s and also lied about using military intervention on their neighbor to the west. Due to the citizens of Russia only source of news being biased propaganda many people had little to no clue on what was actually happening during this time and believed the lies created by the Russian government. Broadcasts are not the sole form of state controlled media the use of radio casts that are controlled by the government and restricting licenses for other media sources that may try to conflict with Russian ideals or pose as a threat against the government. This proves time and time again to be a potent tool of propaganda to not only control the population but to also silence the voices of those who oppose their actions.

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In modern times the Russian government go above just sending out messages of propaganda to their people. They also restrict their ability to fully use their free speech by restricting certain channels of communication in order to preserve their message. The Russian government has restricted licenses given to foreign news outlets and has also restricted the internet access in their country to further build a barrier between the Russian public and other sources of news that may contradict the state news programs they have in place. While it is still possible for someone to find the news outlets it is very hard for them to as Russia is cracking down. There are also numerous reports of mothers asking about their sons who were apparently sent out into war only to never hear back a definite answer from the Russian government because they do not want to public to know that they are engaging in a war against the Ukraine. They do this to not have conflicting reports regarding what the state sponsored broadcasts may say. By restricting the internet, it restricts the freedoms of the citizens and doesn’t allow for them to make their own conscious decision over the actions of their countries. They have been doing this since the late 1990’s when they were looking for new ways of enforcing domestic propaganda and keeping the citizens blind since the Chechen war.

The government and the lead of Putin in modern day Russia have high levels of approval. When Putin had first came into power he took over the top television networks in Russia. By doing this he was able to begin his reign of propaganda off the bat. They seem to have dips when there are economic recessions but that goes beyond the use of propaganda. By having such high levels of approval the government is not only able to keep their people happy but they are also able to stay in power for longer periods of time. If it was not for the propaganda the approval may be lower as the Russian government engages in many conflicts without the approval of their citizens. Propaganda is especially important when the country is having elections because when used correctly if can influence the course of the election so that the government can elect the individuals who they see most fit instead of who the people may see as the best leader in the form of a pure opinion.

Russia has a long history of its use of domestic propaganda. It’s evolved to fit the needs in a modern world and to constantly do its job. The state sponsored broadcasts, radio reports, and all forms of media are highly effective in persuading the citizens of Russia and are also useful in hiding the actions that the government is committing. Putin believes that this is important in an era where communism has failed and at a point where Russian nationalism may have been lowered after this era. This has also allowed for high levels of approval of their leaders which has allowed for not only Putin but also other people in his government to run and be in control for an immense amount of time when compared to other democracies across the world. Russia has become a propaganda powerhouse in this day in age. They have almost perfected the art of propaganda and heavily distribute it throughout the country to many of the citizens in order to maintain a level of approval that is unprecedented.

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