This week, the Russian government announced that it was shutting down respected news outlet RIA Novosti and rebranding it as Russia Segodnya (Russia Today). The new head of this venture will be Dmitry Kiselyov, one of the most vocal pro-Kremlin pundits in Russia, notorious for his homophobic comments. He’s said that the goal of Russia Today will be to restore a “fair attitude to Russia in every country of the world.” Below, Nezavisimaya Gazeta wonders who’ll be drawn to such an outlet.
Is there an audience for Margarita Simonyan’s television channel and Dmitry Kiselyov’s new group?
There certainly is. The question is what is this audience (except, of course, the experts and other personnel, whose job it is to watch and listen).
It is the advocates of “conspiracy theories,” the ultra-left and ultra-right, who believe that there is no difference between Obama and Romney, or Hollande and Sarkozy, because they are all agents of a world government.
They are people who dream that an analogue of Putin could come to power in their own countries to liquidate such dangerous pluralism.
They’re ultra-conservative Catholics who suspect that Pope Francis is betraying the ideals of their faith (and considered Pope Benedict to be too liberal).
They’re orthodox communists, on whose walls hang yellowed portraits of Stalin in his marshal’s uniform.
They’re historical revisionists, who see Russia as the home of freedom, because there, unlike in Germany, you can deny the Holocaust without any consequences.
There are a considerable number of such people in the West, and they live uncomfortably. They can’t find the books they want in bookstores. They have a fierce aversion to national and international television channels. Either their candidates fail to get into parliament at the elections, end up isolated there, or evolve into moderates. And many do not go to the polls at all, because they believe that all politicians are agents of the secret world government.
They stick to private communication with like-minded souls, small-circulation homemade pamphlets, and fringe sites on the internet. But there is still a window to the other world – the Russian media, working abroad.