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Title: Russia in the news of its neighbours : cross border media influence in Ukraine and Belarus
Author: Szostek, Joanna M.
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis investigates the nature and impact of Russian influence on Russian-language print and broadcast news in Ukraine and Belarus. TV channels and publications with shareholders or partners in Russia are widely available in both the countries studied; existing literature suggests that such ‘Russian’ media are a source of regional power for the Kremlin. To shed light on how Russian partners and shareholders affect editorial treatment of Russia, the thesis compares content samples from 27 TV news bulletins and newspapers available in Ukraine or Belarus, some of which have Russian partners or shareholders while others do not. It also draws on in-depth interviews with 46 journalists and other media professionals. The thesis then compares the cases of Ukraine and Belarus to explain how political and economic conditions in a ‘target’ state affect the Russian authorities’ scope for communicating messages to mass audiences abroad via pro-Kremlin broadcasters. The findings of the thesis serve as a basis for assessing whether Russian news exports might contribute to Russian foreign policy success in the way envisaged by the literature on soft power. This research reveals complexities which have previously been overlooked in discussions about Russia’s media influence in the post-Soviet region. The news providers in Ukraine and Belarus which have Russian partners or shareholders are diverse and often vulnerable to constraints within their operating environment. Their utility as a source of soft power for the Kremlin is questionable, because the association between media and soft power is premised on public sentiments swaying foreign policy decisions. This premise is problematic, particularly in authoritarian Belarus. Pro-Kremlin Russian news exporters undoubtedly play a role in Moscow’s relations with Minsk and Kiev. However, their significance may lie at least as much in their capacity to provoke as their capacity to ‘softly’ attract and persuade a mass audience.
Supervisor: Chaisty, Paul Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council ; Centre for East European Language Based Area Studies
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: News media,journalism,publishing ; Political science ; Journalism (political science) ; International studies ; Russia ; Ukraine ; Belarus ; media ; television ; newspapers ; news ; soft power