The Russian online media outlet NEWSru has announced its closure, blaming the country’s current “political situation,” which has made it economically impossible to function, as advertisers shun independent sources of information.
NEWSru, which has functioned primarily as a news aggregator in recent years, said in a statement on May 31 that regulations requiring media in Russia to label anyone the state regards as “extremists” or “foreign agents” when referencing them in their articles was increasingly impacting its bottom line.
Advertisers warned off to starve independent outlet of funds, accusations of “extremism” and “foreign agents.” Sound familiar to Americans?
How alike the Russian and American situations are becoming. Obviously there are a lot of differences still, but not nearly as many as a few decades ago.
NEWSru was based in Moscow, but its editorial team and location were kept secret.
In May 2021 Newsru, the Russia online news site, shut down. Not because Newsru wasn’t popular, it was. The decision to close was economic because the government had been telling advertisers that Newsru was not patriotic and was posting fake or misleading news. What the government did not say was that Newsru refused to follow government guidelines [about] not posting foreign news that contradicted the Russian government version of whatever was going on. …
A bit of history:
Former Cold-War era KGB officer Vladimir Putin was elected president in 2000. Putin pledged to reduce corruption and improve the living standards, especially the elderly who were suffering from shrinking (due to inflation) pensions. Putin delivered for a while but in 2014 decided that Russia had to be more willing to accept the return of the Police State and declared that NATO was at war with Russia and he would deal with that. …
Vladimir Putin, when he became President in 2000
He manipulated the constitution and then got new laws passed that enabled him to become president-for-life. Corruption returned and living standards declined and Putin decided that news of these developments should be suppressed or controlled as much as possible.
Putin began going after the media as soon as he was first elected. By 2010, using intimidation and violence (17 murdered journalists), the state-controlled mass media returned after more than a decade of a (largely) free press. That has meant the return of the vibrant Soviet period rumor networks, seeking to find the truth that the state-controlled press hides. The Internet made it easier to find the truth, although the government began putting a lot of effort into limiting what news gets into (or around) Russia via the web.
Control the media, control the political situation and the people. Almost all the western media moves in lockstep now on every major issue, choosing to emphasize some things and omit others in order to shape what people think and do. Independent outlets are under siege from lefties trying to frighten off their funding and cancel their talking heads.
Russia’s infamous brush with communism is almost unknown to Americans under 40:
The government also wants to prevent Russians from getting the truth about Russian history. The government is rewriting the history books, an effort that plays down (or ignores) the mass murders and state sponsored terror of the Soviet period.
During the seven decades of communist rule, Russia had a third of its population killed off. The Soviet government killed more Russians than German armies and Nazi death camps. The current Russian government wants to keep that knowledge buried, along with all of Stalin’s victims.
The new government is basically a dictatorship of the politicians and secret policemen, many of them Soviet era vets. The Putin government is very much like the old Soviet one, but without the communist theology. The current dictators preach democracy, and believe in it about as much as their predecessors believed in Marx and Lenin. The downside of this is a business climate that lacks the rule of law, which is keeping a lot of foreign companies out, and making it difficult for Russian firms to innovate and be competitive in an international market. Thus, in many respects, the Russians are back in the USSR. News of how this works is dangerous in the new Russia and such destabilizing news must be prevented or kept out.