Much has been studied and written about Russian propaganda, mainly that which targets audiences outside Russia. In fact the current Russian disinformation campaigns has two identified priorities – to influence foreign aundiences, and Russians themselves.
Lenin wrote that ”There is no more erroneuos or more harmful idea than the separation of foreign from internal policy”. The current propaganda front can be traced back to the Soviet Information Bureau (Sovinformburo) that grew into a special office of propaganda in the 1940s to feed information internationally through magazines, newspapers and radio stations. In the 1990s Mikhail Gorbachev ordered that this bureau be given authority „to provide information support for the USSR’s state domestic and foreign policies and proceeding from the interests of the democratizationn of the mass media”. The agency became the Information Agency Novosti.
RIA Novosti established RT (Russia Television) in order to have an information organization. In the early years it claimed to be independent, but since it was funded by the Russian governent staying independent was impossible. Television is the primary source of news for 90% of Russians. (In the US it’s 69%.) Russian television is state controlled and thus every channel projects the Kremlin’s viewpoint. The effectiveness of propaganda in this milieu is noteworthy.
The effectiveness of RT as a domestic purveyor of propaganda as opposed to its influence internationally is easy to assess. With its potential western audience of 600 million, by which it is a relatively small player in the market, RT’s propaganda will never be as effecive internationally as it is inside Russia unless the audience is bombarded as systematically and intensively as it is within Russia.
The domestic audience is no less important than the one abroad, for it’s part of a massive effort in consolidating Vladimir Putin’s autocratic rule. If one were to guage the success of this campaign by Putin’s favourability rating as established through opinion polls conducted by the Russian Public Opinion Research Center, then the campaign has been successful – Putin consistently scores above 80%. (Pikemalt Eesti Elu 22. jaanuari paberlehest)
Russian domestic propaganda Estonian Life