How dangerous are the Russian opposition media?


Such Russian mass media as Meduza, Mediazona, Bumaga, Novaya Gazeta, Afisha Daily, and The Bell position themselves as liberal, oppositional media.

What does the opposition envisage?

Opposing views, defending one’s positions and putting forward proposals for other developments, solving problems.

Are these Russian mass media coping with this? We will analyze the peculiarities of their activity.


Russian opposition media do not call a spade a spade

They call the war a «special military operation«, «events in Ukraine«, and «conflict between Ukraine and Russia».

Afisha Daily uses the phrase «special military operation»

Let’s draw a parallel. When we talk about an apple, we write it like this: «apple». And not «a red fruit that grows on a tree.» Otherwise, the reader will stop taking the written fact seriously and will not realize its full extent.

Afisha Daily uses the phrase «Russian-Ukrainian conflict»

Instead of reminding Russians that Russia is waging a genocidal war against Ukraine, instead of setting an example that it is possible to fight against censorship, the Russian mass media, on the contrary, plays along with the authorities.

Fear is not an excuse to play. After all, all changes are possible only during movement, and not passively swimming with the current.


For the Russian opposition media, «everything is not so clear»

While the whole world shuddered at the terrifying footage from Bucha and tried to recover from the atrocities committed there by the Russian occupiers, for the Russian media, in particular for Redaktsia, there was no «complete clarity of who these people are and how they died.»

Pivovarov (Redakcia) describes the atrocities in Bucha

Later, the editor of this channel published the reactions of world leaders to the genocide of Ukrainians in Buch, but in the end, he recalled the official position of the Russian Ministry of Defense.


Russian opposition media do not explain the reasons for the events that are happening

«On February 24, with the beginning of hostilities in Ukraine, the Russian cosmonautics turned out to be a hostage of the geopolitical situation», — Meduza.

«Large queues of Ukrainian refugees formed on the borders with Estonia and Latvia in the Leningrad and Pskov regions», — Bumaga.

Bumaga about refugees on the western borders of the Russian Federation

The wording is as vague as possible, focusing attention on Ukraine as if it were to blame for what happened. But it was by no means Russia that started the war. And as if not because of a full-scale Russian invasion, Ukrainians were forced to leave their homes.

Russia became the country with the largest number of imposed sanctions. Thousands of companies left the Russian market.

However, the Russian media in their news do not mention or explain the reasons for the imposed sanctions. Like, for example, the news that the Russian and Belarusian national teams will not make it to the 2024 Olympics.

Bumaga about fast food

After the first companies began to leave the Russian market, the media began to publish advice on how to replace products or where to find an alternative: «The fast food that will replace McDonald’s.»

As a result, instead of Russians realizing the danger their government poses to the world and to themselves; instead of the emergence of the idea that something needs to be done, something changed, the idea that the cause of the problems is Ukraine and the «situation» takes root in the minds of Russians.


Russian opposition media is an attempt to shift responsibility and make itself a victim

The media separates the government and the people: it seems that only the leadership is to blame for everything. They emphasize that the hands of ordinary Russians are tied due to cruel laws: they are threatened with fines and prison.

Public opinion polls of the Levada Center

However, the statistics are omitted, according to which more than 70% of Russians support the war; they are not remembered for the anti-Ukrainian propaganda in mass media, and culture (films, music, books, etc.), which was carried out for more than a dozen years. Also, Putin has been in power for 20 years — Russians have had enough time to change their choice or system.

«The fact that I am Russian does not make me a bad person.» St. Petersburg — about work at the aid station for Ukrainian refugees in Tbilisi», — Bumaga.

In this material, there is no mention of Russian aggression, no explanation of why Ukrainians need help, and why the Russian woman went abroad. Instead, there is a link to another project of the heroine — «Help us leave.» They help to leave Russia.

It is also important to note that the Russian opposition media did not cover true information about the entire Russian-Ukrainian war that began in 2014, as well as about the Revolution of Dignity.

For example, Novaya Gazeta called the events on Maidan «war».

Bumaga wrote about the return of Crimea and the «disappointment of the Crimean Tatars in Ukraine.»

Rain TV channel and its scandalous map of Ukraine without Crimea. If you look closely, they also have problems with the name of the Kirovograd region

Rain TV Channel published a map of Ukraine without Crimea.

Russian opposition mass media are an informational danger to the world because, as we have analyzed, their work does not meet journalistic standards.

Rain TV channel proved that they pose a danger not only to the information consciousness but also to the world order as a whole: on December 1, the host Oleksiy Korostelev called on Russians to report violations during the mobilization and also noted that the TV channel was able to help the Russian military with equipment at the front.

That is, Rain TV Channel contributed to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.

And there is no certainty that other media are not doing it.

As Detector Media points out, Mediazona calls war a war, quotes the Ukrainian authorities, and publishes photos. Meduza also calls war a war, publishes photos of the aftermath of shelling and refutes Russian propaganda.

«However, similar stories are in the minority. As a sociology and the «number» of protests in Russia show, the self-understanding that local journalists rely on is not enough. Propaganda must be refuted, things must be called by their proper names, and one’s own history and political situation must be reflected upon. Today, materials should be such that they can be contrasted with information from television broadcasts — and they can convince someone. It is no longer enough to write for the «progressive Russian youth» who are waiting for the end of the war in the conditional Batumi,» — Detector Media writes.

Therefore, the Russian opposition mass media do not use all their opportunities to fight. Even more can be dangerous.

Anya Ostymchuk

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