How the Russian media cover Ukraine 2

U.S. media attention on the Ukrainian Revolution focused mostly protesters, and how President Barack Obama would react to the crisis. In Russia the crisis hits a little closer to home with Russia bordering the former Soviet republic of Ukraine.

Russian media coverage of the crisis has been mixed. Coverage of Ukrain dominates web pages of most major media outlets. Though most coverage is objective, some state media coverage is skewed to show Russia in a favorable light.

Here are stories about the Ukrainian Revolution from three different Russian media outlets. One is independently owned. The other is state run. The final outlet is a tabloid newspaper that is the most read newspaper in Russia.

Articles from each of the outlets were selected randomly based on how their prominence on the front page of each website. The dates this study was conducted were randomly selected on March 10, 12 and 19. On each of these days I read one article from each outlet. Summaries of the articles and links to them are included below. Stories I read were translated into English from Russian by Google Chrome. Please comment on this article and keep the conversation going about how the Russian media covers this story.

The Kommersant is independently owned by Alisher Usmanov, Russia’s richest man and the 4oth wealthiest person in the world. The Kommersant prides itself on independent journalism and tries hard to separate itself from when it was a state-run Soviet newspaper. It has a national circulation of 130,000 readers.

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This article ran on Monday, March 12.

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This article is a short article that summarizes what Serge Askenov, The Autonomous Republic of Crimea’s pro-Russian Prime Minister, says will happen to Crimean Tartars if the referendum to join Russia is passed. In the article he says that he wants to increase funding for Crimea’s native people if they have to resettle because of the vote. The article also explains that losing Crimea is not a huge loss for either Moscow or Ukraine.

Early on March 10 morning this article was featured front and center on the Kommersant’s home page. Later in the day more was added to this story. I looked at it just after Midnight CST on March 12, as the speech was happening. For this article we will just look at page 2; which is all that was published at the time of my viewing of the story.

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This article was a live stream of what happened as former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych spoke to reporters for just the second time since he fled Ukraine. It fairly and accurately reports what Yanukovych said during the speech. At the bottom it includes summaries and links to the Kommersant’s previous reporting about this issue.


Rossiyskaya Gazeta

The Rossiyskaya Gazetta is a state owned newspaper. It’s print edition runs in 41 cities. Under Russian law the Rossiyskaya Gazetta has the right to publish official state documents. Once published, these documents are essentially official Russian documents.

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This article explains that a Ukrainian portable air defense system was stolen and what may happen in the upcoming elections for a new prime minister of Ukraine.

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The article clearly shows a bias in favor of Russia. It uses strong language like ” denied the reality “. The English translation also contained several references to the Nazis and the “Fuhrer” This sentence talking about the upcoming race perhaps shows how biased the article is: “The potential presidency Yarosha today – is tomorrow’s headache his situational allies type Vitali Klitschko, Arseniy Yatseniuk Oleg Tyagniboka, Poroshenko and Yulia Tymoshenko, glorified and financially supported the radical nationalists.”

Russian pilots were not allowed to rest in Ukraine

The headline of this article tries to invoke sympathy for the pilots. It’s a loaded headline.

The lede also reads: “Rosaviaciya intends shortly to inform the aviation authorities of Ukraine to prevent violations of international law in respect of crew members Russian airlines.”

This article tries to invoke emotions that Ukraine’s people are being rude to Russian soldiers and the Russian people need to do something about it. The article references an incident on March 9 when commercial airline pilots did not allow pilots were not allowed into Ukraine. The incident is fairly covered in this article, but the loaded headline, loaded lede and loaded language in the article turns this into a propaganda piece.

This article published on March 19 sat front and center on the home page of the Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

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It’s a classic example of burying the lede. The lede of this story sets up a story about Ukrainian filmmakers disliking the appointment of Philip Ilienko to the Ukraine state movie agency.  The important stories are what’s buried under subheads several hundred words into the story. A group of militants surrounded the Ukranian parliament building. Because of this and the threat of war with Russia, Ukraine is mobilizing its national guard.

The most important information may be at the very bottom of the article. Paul Gubarev, is dying after brutal beating from Russian commandos. Gubarev was beaten into a coma after his arrest on March 6 for what Rossiyskaya Gazeta describes as a charge of  “separatism”.



Kosmoloaskya Pravada 

The Kosmoloaskya Pravada is a tabloid newspaper and with a circulation of 660,000 Russia’s best selling daily newspaper. According to the BBC the newspaper is owned by energy group YeSN.

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 This article from March 10 is told very well with photos and little text. It explains that Ukrainian soldiers now realize that the Crimean Penninsula will become part of Russia. The writer explores in his commentary what will happen next to them. This paper does a lot of good journalism, but it’s known as a tabloid newspaper. This article is a tabloid style of story featuring commentary, little text and many photos. Still, the story is told fairly and from an objective standpoint.

This article was midway down the front page of the Kosmolaskya Pravada on March 12.  The headline of this story screams tabloid paper:

Screen Shot 2014-03-19 at 1.25.03 PMIt’s a catchy title and photo that attracts attention to the story. In the story Michail Bocharv explains that congressional sanctions that could slap trade restrictions on Russia and stop Russia from hosting the 2018 World Cup.  Under a subhead the article fairly counters that Europe will suffer the most if trade restrictions are put on Russia. This is a fair point that has been reported by other media outlets. Overall, the article is a short article reporting from a perspective inside a country that may be hit by U.S. sanctions.

 This article was admittedly hard to understand because of the translation from Russian to English. So, I looked at this article from March 17 about Russian President Vladimir Putin accepting Crimea into Russia.

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The article fairly reports that Crimea will become part of Russia immediately. It also says that out of over 48,000 people sociologists interviewed the vast majority want the country to become part of Russia. It also explains how U.S. president Obama reacted to the news

This entry was posted in Culture.

One thought on “How the Russian media cover Ukraine 2

  1. Philip,

    Wow. Seriously. Great post. This blogpost is action packed and very informative. You really had a lot of resources to show and I think it was great that you were able to organize it all together so well.

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