Putin’s communicational hegemony sounds like a load of fun

Russia_media2_gThis Politico article on Vladimir Putin’s “communicational hegemony” seen from the inside is a must for anyone wishing to understand the century’s modern autocracies.

It served to highlight the many weaknesses in chavismo’s version of communicational hegemony. Because, for all its mighty power, there is one thing neither Telesur nor TVes nor VTV have ever consistently delivered: quality entertainment for the masses. This is a lesson Putin seems to have learned, and it is a major setback to chavismo’s stated goal of dominating our public sphere.

The highlight:

“The 21st century Kremlin might be controlling the media just as it did in the Soviet era, but there’s one mistake today’s Russian will never repeat: It will never let television become dull. In fact, the goal is to synthesize Soviet control with Western entertainment—and for that it needs the help of Western producers who, Russians believe, know the alchemical secret of great television formats.”

The whole thing is worth your time.

24 thoughts on “Putin’s communicational hegemony sounds like a load of fun

  1. If you are Juan Cristóbal Nagel, don’t read the following quote from an article found in the blog Tehran Bureau because it may be harmful. If you let yourself feel glad with good news and sad with bad ones but you will always keep doing what you feel/think you have to do no matter their sweet or bitter flavor, go ahead because it will be harmless

    Iran Standard Time: a day in the bread line
    “For 60 years it’s been like this, madam,” the elderly man says to the teacher. “Both in the Shah’s time and now, there are few jobs, high unemployment, all the prices go up, and people’s heads get so caught up in the day-to-day that the politicians just go about their business. At the end of the day, both old men like me and teachers like you have to worry about the price of bread.”

    Nowadays you can be your own journalist thanks to internet but if you can’t read Farsi it is going to be pretty hard to know what’s going on in Iran and how similar or different it is with Venezuela. Thanks to articles like that one can try it.

    (and read the politico article recommended by Juan, it is really interesting… Thanks for finding it)

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  2. In China Xi Jinping has gone full-Maoist in asserting control over media and setting ideological requirements of and limits on artists. The effect is to make the already dull mainstream entertainment even more enervating. Great Hong Kong filmmakers like John Woo, Tsui Hark and Johnnie have all made mainland Chinese films recently and they contain none of the flair and wit of the Hong Kong films. The less said about China’s TV shows the better.

    Here’s a good article about China’s crime free crime films: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/04/opinion/sunday/chinas-crime-free-crime-films.html

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  3. How is this strategy different from what Berlusconi did in an European democracy, with all freedoms guaranteed?

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      • I think he did. Subtly and legally, but he did do it nonetheless. Remember: he controlled the private and public broadcasters for a long time.

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        • To some extent, Alejandro. He controlled TV and radio channels, which are critical. Still, he couldn’t control the written media and he couldn’t control the judiciary system.

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  4. The Venezuelan government is complete inept. They couldn’t make entertaining television if they tried. Chavez was entertaining on his own some of the time, but that’s about it.

    Maybe if oil went up to $200 a barrel they would have enough money to produce something of worth, but i’d still bet against it.

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  5. Juan, Chavez was “THE” entertainment. A showman by profession, his performances were powerful to conquer and retain loyalty from the target audience. People had fun while being brainwashed. Without Chavez, the guys really needed to be smart regarding their communicational strategy. But we all know they cannot deliver on that – by the way not only that… incompetence and mismanagement is the standard.

    Off topic: are you going to ellaborate on the changes on the foreign affairs structure?

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  6. The idea that people struggling just to find and buy the basics have no time to get angry at a govt and vote against it is crap.

    It does happen when thats been the situation since always , because if you ve never known anything better , if its always been the same then you have no point of comparison to really judge , you just take it for granted , thats the way its always been so no reason for anger .

    But as is the case in Venezuela people have known a better life , and now are undergoing a deepening fall , a crash in their living conditions , then there is a point of comparison , a better before and worse now that allows ordinary people to judge and become angry at the govt for failing ats its promises and duties .

    Its doenst work for everybody because some people ( a shrinking group) feel a sense of emotional identification with the regime so strong that even if they know they are worse off, the emotional rewards of that sense of identification make up for their loss and helps them , not to feel happy with their lot but to resign themselves to it because its the price to pay to have ‘a sense of Patria’ that they feel they didnt have before . ( read patria as equivalent to a sense of ‘belonging’ ) .

    People in this last category are bordering the low fifth of the population , people getting angrier and angrier as each day passes are growing each day . Maybe they can resort to fraud and force to stay in power. But when people are angry and keep getting more ANGRY then at some point that has consequences. !!

    I dont read Farsi , but I get into a lot of queues and interact constntly with to people from all walks of life and from that I know that the temper of the times is not one of sattisfaction but one of increasing bitterness and dissapointment and frustration at the regime .

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    • When my Chavista Mother in Law starts asking why there are no protests, you know it’s getting down to the wire………………………..

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    • “People in this last category are bordering the low fifth of the population , people getting angrier and angrier as each day passes are growing each day . Maybe they can resort to fraud and force to stay in power. But when people are angry and keep getting more ANGRY then at some point that has consequences. I dont read Farsi , but I get into a lot of queues and interact constntly with to people from all walks of life and from that I know that the temper of the times is not one of sattisfaction but one of increasing bitterness and dissapointment and frustration at the regime .”

      The Economist has said that the Venezuelan GDP may shrink up to 2% in 2015, meaning that things will get a lot worse in the short term…

      I doubt that the people will just “accept” this new reality in silence. I agree with you.

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      • I wonder, exactly how does The Economist calculate the projected drop in GDP? Whose numbers are they feeding into the computer models? The Venezuelan government’s figures? Is this number just a SWAG?

        Personally, I think a 2% drop in GDP is wildly optimistic, though I wouldn’t presume to put a number on it myself. There are just too many unknowns.

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        • You have to be a client of the Economist Intelligence Unit to read the technical analysis on the Venezuelan economy for this year, but if you go to http://country.eiu.com/venezuela , you will see at the bottom of the page what they think will happen to the components of the Venezuelan GDP in 2015 and 2016.

          And yes, with some exceptions, they tend to use government data to base their predictions on.

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  7. I happen to follow the Russian media closely.
    Here some points:

    1) Putin has an easier task because all in all, there is no democratic country where Russian is the main language, so Russians could follow news in their language mostly from home and from the Russian programmes of Voice of America and BBC, which are considered as foreign propaganda by non-Russian people. Ukraine is actually a country where half the population uses Russian as main language and most of the rest speak it well, but it is in a transition…and the Russian propaganda is in full swing.

    2) The Russian state media, stuff like Rossija 1 and Rossija 2, is a mix, indeed of trash (soap operas where cops and military are often the heroes or at least very good blokes, where Russia is great but else, they are just culebrones), gringo movies and – this should not be overlooked – pure propaganda. Some weeks ago I heard the announcement of a programme about the Cyrillic alphabet and Russian. I was puzzled they would talk about such a topic and I decided to watch it. It turned out to be a programme where you could see how the Cyrillic alphabet helped to produce Russian identity, how even sine the time of the Middle Ages the West was trying to destroy Russia through the actions of the popes in Rome, who wanted to spread Catholicism and with it the Latin alphabet, how nowadays NATO intervened in Yugoslavia and because of that Serbians are being forced (it’s a lie) to use more and more the Latin alphabet
    and how the same thing is happening in Ukraine.
    All this was broadcast at 7 or 8 pm.

    Now, going back to what Juan said:
    Hasn’t Chavismo learnt? I would argue it has learnt a little bit. I also happen to get in touch with people close to Chavismo on a regular basis…very humble people. Many of them do watch Telesur and stuff like that. And there they watch the news about how “el euro se devaluó” (no mention about how much and how it has behaved since its beginning), about how there were strikes in Belgium, Germany, etc. There people see the journalists of Russian RT interviewing Spaniards who have been thrown out of their houses.

    I won’t say most Venezuelans watch Telesur, but a considerable minority do watch either that or a bit of VTV.
    Most of the rest just watch programmes that are not so different from the commercial crap you can watch on Russian TV.

    Remember something else: Venezuela’s Internet is among the slowest on Earth. Nigeria’s Internet connection is amazing compared to what people have in Venezuela.
    A Venezuelan in a secondary city (Guacara, Charallave, Tocuyo, Boconó, Acarigua, etc, where more than half the population lives) has more trouble trying to watch stream TV than a Russian in Siberian
    city.

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    • a Russian in Siberian city- read “a Russian in A Siberian city”.
      I not Russian. I – Venezuelan. I just forgot article.
      #KeplerDesarticulado

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  8. Like a virus, Russian authoritarianism has survived the shock treatment of the early 1990s and grown stronger, more resilient and more sophisticated in all its forms. By comparison, though the propaganda of the Venezuelan regime has no appeal here, it has worked pretty effectively, at least when oil revenues were climbing. I have to think the Russians have been giving them some advice in the propaganda department, along the way.

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  9. To underscore your point about the quality of State television entertainment, VTV cooked up an abomination called Amores de Barrio Adentro, a chavista soap opera.

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  10. Look more Buks than brains Russkies, there is only one boss in town. And that would be none other than London bankers and Goldman Stacks. And just about everyone works for them. Including many of your idiot rebels of the People’s Republic of Donetsk. And so they arranged for the rebels on their payroll to acquire a Buk. And then ordered them to shoot down an airliner. In order for your beloved Putin to look like an idiot. As well as an evil monster.

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