Russia and the news media in Ukraine

Szostek, J. (2014) Russia and the news media in Ukraine. East European Politics and Societies, 28(3), pp. 463-486. (doi: 10.1177/0888325414537297)

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The mass media are closely associated with the concept of “soft power.” In Russia, as in the West, politicians believe that favorable foreign media coverage can facilitate their foreign policy success. This article considers news coverage of Russia in Ukraine, a geopolitically important state where Russian “news exporters” have been a prominent feature of the media landscape in recent years. Using content analysis and original interviews with editorial staff, the article reveals factors that shaped reporting about Russia in Ukraine in 2010–2011. It demonstrates that news providers in Ukraine that had a Russian shareholder or partner tended to be more restrained in their criticism of Russia than comparable news providers without such Moscow connections. Yet it also reveals diversity among Russia’s news exporters: some clearly served Kremlin interests, while others were commercially driven and balanced demands from Moscow against the demands of their audience. The findings are relevant to assessments of Russian regional influence, as they highlight opportunities and challenges facing the Kremlin in its aspiration to secure an advantage from “Russian” media operating in the post-Soviet republics. More broadly, this article questions whether the conceptual framework of “soft power” is adequate to capture the complexities of Russian involvement in Ukraine’s media environment.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Szostek, Dr Joanna
Authors: Szostek, J.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Politics
Journal Name:East European Politics and Societies
ISSN (Online):1533-8371
Published Online:14 June 2014
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2014 SAGE
First Published:First published in East European Politics and Societies: and Cultures 28(3):463-486
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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