TV News in Russia – June, 2017

How the News is Reported in Russia
June, 2017

Internship in RussiaAccording to a 2016 poll by the independent Levada Center, 80% of Russians view television as their primary source of news. The same Levada poll, however, shows that only 41% trust the news as an objective source of information. The broadcasts sampled here are from Russia’s most-watched channels: First Channel and Russia Channel.

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On Russia Day in Moscow, Celebration Events in Tverskaya Street Turned Epicenter of Opposition Rallies

First Channel reports that Russia Day celebrations on June 12 spanned the Russian Federation and included music, parades, art, and multiple festivals. In Moscow, some three million are estimated to have participated in the many city-wide events. However, the channel continued, “some people decided to spoil the holiday.” The channel said that it was a “provocation” that opposition leaders decided to organize their rally on Tverskaya Street, where the largest festival in Moscow was being held, instead of Sakharov Prospekt, a large area often used for opposition rallies and which had been set aside for the opposition rally on Russia Day. The channel also claimed that the police did not use force to protesters, acting gently, and, as a result, the opposition leaders failed to arrange good images for photographers from Western media. (Note: there was footage and multiple images of police dragging protestors and hitting them with batons used in the Western media afterwards.)

Russia Channel went far further in their commentary against those who wanted to “spoil” the Russia Day celebrations. According to the channel, one of the protestors “in favor of bringing Maidan to Russia,” attempted to stab a riot policemen in the back. The policeman was not injured only because he was wearing a bullet-proof vest. Presenter Evgeny Kiselev states that protest rally participants both in Moscow and St. Petersburg went to different places than those previously agreed with the city authorities. He says that people who wanted to protest against corruption in a peaceful way, were tricked by protest leader Alexei Navalny who, upon returning from a “holiday” in Spain decided to escalate the situation. (Note: Navalny went to Spain to have eye surgery to repair damage inflected when a pro-kremlin protestor through green dye in his face.) The report states that the protesters used the “techniques of the Ukrainian Maidan,” and added that today Ukraine is “a mess, with much larger corruption and crime rates than before.” The channel then broadcast images from the Maidan Revolution in Ukraine, saying that violence there started with radicals attacking police during a protest rally.

Sheremetyevo Airport is being Expanded, Other Airports Being Built for World Cup

First Channel reports that Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport is being expanded to handle up to 20 million passengers per year, which will make it “one of the biggest airports in the world.” A tunnel is being dug under the runways that separate Sheremetyevo’s two blocks of terminals. A train running between them will now allow for direct transfers that will only take a matter of minutes. The expansion is to be completed by the World Football Cup of 2018 in Russia. Airports are also being renovated in other cities and, in Rostov-on-Don, a completely new airport will be built from scratch by December 2017. Prime Minister Medvedev visited the newly constructed terminal in Sheremetyevo and told to officials that all the new airport facilities must be completed on time.

Confederations Cup Draws Fans From Across Globe

First reported that “thousands” had come from around the globe for the Confederation Cup. They also stated that the Confederations Cup will serve as a test for the World Football Cup which is to be held in Russia in 2018. The channel commented that “the Olympics of 2014 were brilliantly organized, and there is no doubt that the World Football Cup will be perfectly organized.”

More than One Million People Pay Respects to St. Nicholas Relics

First Channel reports that more than one million people of all ages paid tribute to the relics of St. Nicholas at Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior, some people came to Moscow from other regions and other countries, such as Belarus and Ukraine, and stood in line for 10 -12 hours, just to see the relics for a second. Some people brought their ill children to the relics and prayed for their healing.

Millions of Russians Address Pressing Issues to the Direct Line with Vladimir Putin

First Channel quotes President Putin as saying during his latest annual Direct Line call-in show that “the economic crisis is over.” At the same time, the President acknowledged that the peoples’ incomes went down, and the number of people earning below the living wage increased. First Channel states in its report that people who managed to phone the President and tell about their issues, were given help, where regional authorities had not provided any assistance. People who suffered a flood in Stavropol region, for instance, asked the President for compensation for the damage to their property, a girl who had cancer and who had been misdiagnosed, asked the President to improve health care in her small town of Apatity. People from Izhevsk living in dilapidated house, addressed the President for help to improve their living conditions.

That report was followed up with another a week later. First Channel reported that local officials started carrying out the tasks assigned to them by the President after reviewing the requests made. For example, a dump in the town of Balashikha of Moscow region will be closed down, after President Putin told Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Sergey Donskoy at the meeting that “the dump must be closed down within a month”. The residents of Stavropol, reported on earlier, will have a federal and regional budget of one billion rubles distributed to them. The channel stated that local officials had simply been “slow with preparing the proper documents” and that this had caused a “delay in payments.” Putin also ordered a larger share of excise taxes to be distributed to regional budgets to fund road construction after many people complained about roads. For the girl with cancer who was misdiagnosed, Putin ordered that medical qualifications be checked all over Russia.

Putin: Russia Ready to Collaborate with NATO

First Channel reports that the Russian Navy and Air Force successfully attacked terrorists in Syria. The channel then quoted President Putin as saying that Russian leaders argued a lot with “our colleagues from the USA” who do not want us to strike the terrorists, saying that “robust opposition forces might be there.” Putin continued, saying “Split them apart then, what are decent respectable people doing next to terrorists?” However, Vladimir Putin stated at the economic forum in St. Petersburg that Russia is ready to cooperate with NATO in fighting terrorism.

Federation Council Discussed Creation of Commission to Protect Russia from Foreign Interference

First Channel reports that an interim commission on protecting state sovereignty from foreign interference is to be established in the Federation Council. Firstly, the commission will close down loopholes on funding NGOs from abroad, as such funding has increased “many times over in recent years.” The report states that some protection measures were implemented in Russia, such as evicting offices of some US funds and introducing the status of “foreign agent” for NGOs funded from abroad. “However, American funds continue to do their things secretly, with the purpose of discrediting the state in people’s eyes,” First Channel stated, reporting that politically committed bloggers, news agencies and media create a flow on online information biased against Russia. Legislators intend to do systemic work, jointly with experts, “in order not to let our citizens to be fooled.”

Holiday Season: How Golden Ring Greets Tourists

Russia Channel reports that more and more Russians prefer to spend holidays inside the country, especially families with children. Crimea, the “Golden Ring” cities such as Vladimir, Suzdal, Kostroma, Yaroslavl, Uglich, as well as St. Petersburg and Moscow are the most popular travel destinations for Russians. In 2017, the numbers of Russian travellers inside the country increased by 16 percent, the channel states.

Tolstoy Festival Draws Thousands to Yasnaya Polyana

First Channel reports that 18 plays were staged in Yasnaya Polyana, former estate and current museum of writer Leo Tolstoy, at the festival dedicated to the writer. Five thousand people participated.

About the Author

Andrei Nesterov
Andrei Nesterov has reported on political and social issues for the Russian press as well as American outlets such as Russian Life,, and Triangle Free Press. He has travelled Russia extensively and penned many stories on the "real Russia" which lies beyond the capital and major cities. Andrei graduated from Ural State University (journalism) and Irkutsk State Linguistic University (English). He studied public policy and journalism at Duke University on a Muskie Fellowship and went on to study TESOL and teach Russian at West Virginia University. He is currently working on an MA from St. Petersburg State in International Relations. Andrei contributes news, feature stories, and language resources to the SRAS site, and is an overall linguistics and research resource. He additionally helps coordinate activities for our students in Moscow.