Who promotes the “Russian world” in Belarus — the unexpected insights of experts

No dubious sites and telegram-channels created in Russia, succeeded in advancing the project “Russian world” in Belarus is most actively the idea of the Slavic order against the chaotic West advancing the Belarusian TV channels and the Russian franchise “Sputnik Belarus”. This is the conclusion of a group of media experts of the Belarusian Association of journalists.

The study, as reported by the head of the BAJ Andrei Bastunets, was conducted from 16 November to 16 December 2018. At this time, news of the region was full of Russian-Ukrainian conflict in the Kerch Strait, at the same time began the dispute between Minsk and Moscow in connection with the tax maneuver of the Russian Federation, in France, the peak came the protests of “yellow jackets.”

Andrei Bastunets: “the Goal we set ourselves when we started this monitoring, it is still find out how do the Russian or, if you prefer, Pro-Russian propaganda present in the Belarusian information space. It is already common place, I think, is a conversation about the “Russian world” in our media. But the exact research on this matter and no”.

BAJ experts estimated the number of TV programming produced in Russia or with its participation, which was broadcast in Prime time nine channels included in the compulsory public package in Belarus. But the main targets of the monitoring were selected three media — newspaper of the presidential Administration, “SB. Belarus today”, was a result of “Belarus 1” and the Belarusian editorial office of the Russian Sputnik online.

“It’s amazing, but the story about the ideas of “Russian world” — in a positive way — we pass through their channels, which are financed from the state budget and are mandatory for all social television package,” said Andrei Bastunets.

The share of such transfers during the monitoring period on the television channel “Belarus 2” % to 13.77%, Belarus-3 — 35,42%, Belarus 1 — 38,18%, STV — 42%, ONT — 64,61%, “RTR-Belarus” — 69,94%, “NTV-Belarus” — 82,3%, Mir — 100%. Note that the total time of broadcasting of Russian TV broadcast channels are much more due to the demonstration of films and TV series produced in Russia. For example, on “Belarus 1” 71 of 105 hours of Prime-time held the Russian series is 67,61% of airtime.

Party monitoring, cultural studies and media expert Maxim zhbankou notes that Russian propaganda has been in place on several levels.

Maxim Zhbankov: “We talk a lot about influence, about the promotion, but it’s time to have a view of the subject, and the base should be numbers, study, study. What I realized during the monitoring period? Often we are aware of the presence of information resistantanti only at the level of any such direct political declarations, officially prescribed steps or obvious propaganda, but resistantanti occurs at three levels. The first is the obvious, simple things, policy statements, and official events, the second is the global context in which we see a General resistometric map of the world, where actually things happen in Russia, Russia acts as a generator of harmony and a certain order, and the other pole on this map is chaotic Europe, absolutely unable to control events at home. That is, we show the citadel of the order and zone of chaos, where we are between and it is obvious that we need to join the “bright side”. The third level, the most interesting is the level of the non-obvious effects through, for example, Russian TV shows or entertainment programs. It is also a resource that forms the “Russian world” here, but not the level of mass consciousness, but rather the mass subconscious. Russian entertainment joins us to the cultural space on our Eastern border, which is becoming more conditional, and not because we love Mr. Putin, but just because we watch Russian movies, listen to music, go to Hollywood blockbusters, which are obtained from Russian distributors and exclusively in Russian translation. Almost 70% of the entertainment segment on the main Belarusian TV channel is Russian products”.

What are the main messages of propaganda? According to the researchers, they can vary, but in the top of all three objects of monitoring as follows: “the USSR — a common history, common memory, a common victory”, “Russia and Belarus — against all, the Alternative to cooperation of Belarus and Russia — no, we’re brothers, but we must be friends, the EU is rotten and destroyed”.

“Anarchy and chaos” in the European Union in General and the “yellow jackets” in France in particular is one of the favorite topics of the Belarusian state-run media with the obligatory projection on Ukraine and warning “internal destabilizers”. Here’s a quote: “to See Paris… and die. Or to be wounded. Beaten. Robbed. The crowd is going. Smashing shops and passers-by. While not overthrowing the government, but the foundations of the country. Christmas lights city of love blazes the first Rome of the Fifth Republic” (“Belarus 1”), “what is sown in many countries, including in Eastern Europe, and we attempted had suddenly risen in their fields — Elysian” (“Belarus 1”), “Paris in flames, dozens injured, thousands arrested. While human rights activists are silent, can not hear the heartbreaking cries of violations of freedom of speech, like clams and some of our independent media. Say, so be it” (“Coll. Belarus today”).

One more impression from Maxim Zhbankova: on the background of the conflict between Minsk and Moscow, the permanent representations of the head of Belarus’s readiness to defend the sovereignty from encroachments from either side in the main state-run media sounds the constant mantra of a common fate and the road of the Belarusians and the Russians.

Maxim Zhbankov: “Feeling a certain schizophrenic situation. On the one hand, all the time heard the Declaration of our indissoluble brotherhood, on the other hand, the brotherhood of all does not add up. Texture all the time prevents the rhetoric, the rhetoric does not match with the texture. In my opinion, the conflict of the texture and rhetoric — a distinctive feature of the material that we studied”.

“It is about creating resistorstring information space and it does not the Russian government and not the agents of the “Russian world” and our Belarusian state agencies” — this conclusion makes Maxim Zhbankov after the first monitoring. BAJ promises to carry out studies also in 2019 and 2020 to understand the dynamics of change in the share of Pro-Russian propaganda in the Belarusian state media.
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