How Russian TV propaganda is made

Dmitry Sidorov writes

This month COLTA.RU published three articles about what it’s like to work for federal television networks in Russia. These organisations have long been controlled by the authorities: they work as a single propaganda machine. The first two included an account by Liza Lerer, a former editorial manager of Russia 1’s marketing board, and a profile of Yulia Chumakova, Channel One’s South bureau chief, and the author of the infamous ‘crucified boy’ story.

The third article, published here in a translation by Anna Aslanyan, comprises four accounts: two former employees of the All-Russia State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company (VGTRK) and a former producer at the private channel REN TV share their experiences anonymously, while Stanislav Feofanov, a TV Center (TVC) producer, speaks under his real name.

The conversations with the ex-VGTRK staffers were first recorded by Aleksandr Orlov, former deputy editor of Russia 24 and Russia 2. Orlov lost his job in July 2013 for supporting Alexei Navalny on social media, and is now working on a forthcoming book on Russian TV. Orlov has collected oral testimonies from several federal TV employees, former and present, and here he shares two of them with us and COLTA.RU. The other two stories have been told to Dmitry Sidorov, who prepared the article for publication.