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Censorship Government The Media Politics

In Russia, 50% of News Must Be Happy 551

Posted by kdawson
from the ministry-of-truth dept.
Several readers sent us to the New York Times for disturbing news on Russia's vanishing press freedoms. The story tells of how one of the few remaining relatively independent radio outlets in Russia recently acquired new managers, reportedly loyal to Vladimir Putin. Quoting: "At their first meeting with journalists since taking over Russia's largest independent radio news network, the managers had startling news of their own: from now on, they said, at least 50 percent of the reports about Russia must be 'positive.' In addition, opposition leaders could not be mentioned on the air and the United States was to be portrayed as an enemy, journalists employed by the network, Russian News Service, say they were told by the new managers, who are allies of the Kremlin."
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In Russia, 50% of News Must Be Happy

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 21, 2007 @07:57PM (#18827495)
    freedoms vanish you?
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Plutonite (999141)
      No no. In Soviet Russia, the news smiles at YOU!
      • by reporter (666905) on Sunday April 22, 2007 @01:44AM (#18829795) Homepage
        If you live in the USA or another country to which "Russia Today [russiatoday.ru]" (RT) is beamed, then you can see Russian censorship in action. RT is a news service funded by the Russian government. RT broadcasts news about Russia, and nearly 80% of the Russia-related news is positive. I have yet to see any news that is critical of the Russian government. RT never interviews anyone who criticizes the Russian government.

        Compare RT to Deutsche Welle Television [germantv.info] (DW-TV). The Germany government funds DW-TV, and it broadcasts German news to the USA and other countries. DW-TV sometimes broadcasts news that is highly critical of the German government.

        These attempts at censorship by the Russian government are very disturbing. Check your local PBS television programming. Many PBS stations air both RT and DW-TV.

        If we have investments in Russian companies through global depository receipts (GDRs), should we be concerned? Will bad news about corrupt business practices in Russia now be censored? How can I judge the value of my investments if the only information that I can get is falsified to be "positive"?

    • by EmbeddedJanitor (597831) on Saturday April 21, 2007 @10:07PM (#18828399)
      While many may argue that this supresses truth, is it really so? Does American-style "free" journalism really give a balanced view of what is happening in society?

      I argue not. Most "news" is heavily slanted to doom and gloom. Why? Probably because doom and gloom sells. People have a voyeuristic tendancy to be drawn to shootings, car crashes etc. In reality, 99.99% of were not in a car crash, got raped or any such mishap. Many had a good time.

      The media is not interested in truth, they are interested in what attracts eyeballs, and thereby ratings and advertising, and need to compete with comedy shows and other entertainment.

      • by jkauzlar (596349) on Saturday April 21, 2007 @11:00PM (#18828709) Homepage

        Most "news" is heavily slanted to doom and gloom. Why? Probably because doom and gloom sells.

        If an event is 'happy' then it is probably not news. News is a deviation from the norm, and the debate on what constitutes the norm is the frequent cause of bias. Its real purpose is to give people information they can use to adjust their own actions so as to maximize their livelihood (or however you want to say it). The Economist, for example, contains what is most appropriately termed news, because all of that information is reckoned to affect money markets and anyone with an interest in those markets. Most news that actually affects people gets drowned out either in gossip news, mostly inconsequential public tragedies (like earlier this week) and day-to-day crime.

        The problem is the focus on the wrong kind of doom and gloom, not too much of it. If you want 'light' or inconsequential news, then what you're asking for is not news, but entertainment.

        • by I'll Provide The War (1045190) on Sunday April 22, 2007 @01:11AM (#18829611)
          They may be true to some extent, but there is still positive news of substantial import that goes unreported.

          For example how often do we hear that the murder rate in the US is the lowest since 1966?
          Or that the robbery rate in the US is the lowest since 1968?
          Or that the rate of vehicle theft in the US is the lowest since 1968?
          Or that the rate of rape in the US is the lowest since 1977?

          It must not be reported very often since most Americans seem to believe that they are living in some kind of unprecedented Mad-Max dystopia that requires their children to be on lockdown 24/7.

          Stats from: http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/ucr.htm [fbi.gov]

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by jkauzlar (596349)

            If there's no problem, then there's nothing to report. It doesn't affect anybody. There are a million things that are *not* going wrong with society. How about the news only report everything that goes well, and let us deduce from the process of elimination what went wrong? Instead of the obituaries page, make a list of people who are still alive! If you don't see a relative's name on it, then, well...

            I'm just taking the conservative stance that freedom of press has always worked, so we ought to maintai

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Dahamma (304068)
            most Americans seem to believe that they are living in some kind of unprecedented Mad-Max dystopia that requires their children to be on lockdown 24/7.

            This is a good point, and is especially driven home by the ridiculous coverage of the recent Virginia Tech shooting. Every pundit and talking head is now discussing what can be done in colleges, etc to prevent this in the future, when in fact 68 people have died in the last 40+ years in college campus shootings, and most of those were from just 3 incidents.
      • by morcego (260031) on Saturday April 21, 2007 @11:32PM (#18828933)

        Most "news" is heavily slanted to doom and gloom.


        That is what I enjoy the most on TV are the commercials. Everything is wonderful, lasts forever, makes live better. If you buy this product, you will be much happier, just like these nice folks how are willing to share their experiences.

        Really, nothing like a good commercial to boost your mood :)
    • by shark swooner (1077115) on Saturday April 21, 2007 @11:56PM (#18829087)
      In Putin's Russia, the In Soviet Russia joke writes itself
  • oblig (Score:4, Funny)

    by Digitus1337 (671442) <lk_digitus@hot m a i l.com> on Saturday April 21, 2007 @07:57PM (#18827497) Homepage
    In Russia... crap.
  • And in America... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ushering05401 (1086795) on Saturday April 21, 2007 @07:57PM (#18827499) Journal
    No pictures of caskets coming home from the mideast...

    This whole thing is just a matter of degrees.

    0% of any country's news must be proven factually accurate from what I can tell. Can we get some journalistic standards in the house? Anybody?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 21, 2007 @08:13PM (#18827609)
      This whole thing is just a matter of degrees.

      As is anything for someone with a brain. But it is fairly obvious that the matter of degrees difference here is like a Siberian winter vs Phoenix in the summer. Remember what they have done, forced the media to demonize one country and idolize themselves. This is nationalism at its worst. And with Putin's changes like appointing governorships (versus elections), Russia is becoming a totalitarian state.

      It is always wise to be very careful about a rabidly nationalistic totalitarian state. Over 100,000,000 people died in the last century from those entities.

      And before someone wants to criticize me by saying that the US is just as bad, I suggest you understand the meaning of the degrees of difference. Bush has abused the laws and now has a ~30% approval rating and is now a lame duck. Putin has abused the laws and has a >70% approval rating and the power to do anything he wants. If you don't see the difference, you are blind.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by CastrTroy (595695)
        What does it matter if Bush's approval rating is 0% or 100%? He can't run again, so he might as well do whatever he wants. It's not like he has anything to lose.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by maxume (22995)
          He can't do whatever he wants, he has to follow laws that Congress would impeach him for breaking.
        • by Nimey (114278)
          He still has his legacy to consider.

          Of course, nobody will agree on it; neocons will probably worship him like Republicans do Reagan, and sensible people will rue the 300 votes he won Florida by.
        • Mostly because if he leaves office with a horrid approval rating then being the sheep we are we will thing, "Ungh! Republican bad! Democrat good!" And vote a Democrat into office, or something like that.

          It does get a little more complicated than that but general trend is when a high profile member from party X is doing that bad the only other option is to put vote in the guy from Y to see if he can do any better.

          Sorry for the heavy dose of cynicism but we are talking politics.
        • by Kadin2048 (468275) <slashdot DOT kadin AT xoxy DOT net> on Sunday April 22, 2007 @02:45AM (#18830037) Homepage Journal
          He can't run again, so he might as well do whatever he wants. It's not like he has anything to lose.

          This is sort of a mutually contradictory statement. If he really was an autocrat who could do anything, he wouldn't be a lame duck -- he'd just dissolve Congress and install himself as President-for-Life. That he is going to walk out of the White House in a few short months, and in the meantime is basically restricted to whining and doing what he can to make Congress miserable, shows that he is in fact not very powerful at all -- it shows in fact, our system working pretty well.

          There are a lot of valid criticisms of our government; heck I'm generally the first to haul off with them. But I don't think that you can use the fact that Bush is both a lame duck and somehow all-powerful at the same time.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Remember what they have done, forced the media to demonize one country and idolize themselves.

        At least it took some degree of force to get the Russian media to comply. The American mass media was voluntarily willing to "demonize one country and idolize themselves". Except in the American case, "one country" has ended up being many: North Korea, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Sudan, and Libya, just to name a few.

      • by Roger W Moore (538166) on Saturday April 21, 2007 @09:11PM (#18828037) Journal
        And before someone wants to criticize me by saying that the US is just as bad, I suggest you understand the meaning of the degrees of difference. Bush has abused the laws and now has a ~30% approval rating and is now a lame duck. Putin has abused the laws and has a >70% approval rating...

        Then could you explain what the difference is between censorship laws and censorship by the back door because the press don't want to loose their privileged access to the president? At least with censorship laws you know that you can't trust the press. I find the voluntary censorship of the US press far more insidious.

        The approval rating argument just doesn't carry weight...afterall it was only a few years ago that the candidate with the highest approval rating in the actual polls lost the election in the US. I've yet to see that happen in modern Russia.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Not showing caskets is nothing compared to blatant propaganda.

      Here's a video clip from MSNBC showing an clear example of at Fox News.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oulh6_lOif0&mode=re lated&search= [youtube.com]

      It shows a "daily editorial memo" dated Nov. 9, on how and where to slant the news--the memo is followed a few hours later by "news" that surprisingly matches the memo.

      They found an internal memo that instructs the Fox News to "be on the lookout for statements from Iraqi insurgents who must be thrilled at
      • Re:And in America... (Score:5, Informative)

        by MightyMartian (840721) on Saturday April 21, 2007 @08:44PM (#18827815) Journal
        They key difference is that NBC, CNN, CBS, the New York Times and so on aren't bound by it. That's why you have Administration mouthpieces trying to blame the New York Times for their mistakes. Even the President of the United States does not have the power that Putin has grabbed to essentially turn Russian media back into a state-controlled resource.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          Please at least read the article summary, relevant bit: "recently acquired new managers, reportedly loyal to Vladimir Putin." Loyal to him, not legally bound to do what he says to him.
    • by Rakishi (759894)

      0% of any country's news must be proven factually accurate from what I can tell. Can we get some journalistic standards in the house? Anybody?
      You mean you want the government to be able to decide that only what they consider to be factual news is shown? Why aren't you living in China or Russia or any dictatorship already then?
  • A nice thing (Score:4, Interesting)

    by CastrTroy (595695) on Saturday April 21, 2007 @07:58PM (#18827511) Homepage
    While I realize that censoring or controlling the news networks in any way is definitely a bad thing, I with that more news in North America showed positive information, whether then just all bad stuff. This is the reason that when I do watch the news, it's usually the morning news. They tend to put positive stories on, while still putting on the important stories so that we know what's going on in the world. I haven't watched evening news in years. It keeps getting worse and worse.
    • I haven't watched evening news in years. It keeps getting worse and worse.

      Hmmmm. I wonder why that is???

      It was SOOO much better when I was a kid and watching the 6:00 om news that reported on the dead in vietnam on both sides. Why is was so positive that they were killing 10-20 of ours a day, but we were killing 100s to 1000s of theirs. Then I remember that break-in. Minor thing being reported between the news about how this energy crisis thing was going to disappear very shortly. Happened in the water ga

  • No enemy? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Southpaw018 (793465) * on Saturday April 21, 2007 @07:59PM (#18827521) Journal
    From what I remember of American Military History, during the Cold War, many American textbooks kicked off the discussion with something to the effect of "There are two world superpowers, the US and Russia, locked in a struggle..."

    Many Russian textbooks of the same era, however, took this approach (again, paraphrasing, not quoting anything): "There is one world superpower, and they mean to oppress us..."

    During that time, just as afraid as we were of Communism, they were afraid that we were going to nuke them if the blinked twice.

    Now, it appears, that Russia is reentering the thinking that there is one world superpower, and that they must fight against it. The problem with that, of course, is that our propaganda is currently directed elsewhere. I wonder what they'll fight against when the supposed enemy isn't fighting back?
    • Re: No enemy? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Black Parrot (19622) on Saturday April 21, 2007 @08:23PM (#18827677)

      Now, it appears, that Russia is reentering the thinking that there is one world superpower, and that they must fight against it.
      I think the real issue during the cold war wasn't communism vs. capitalism, but rather who's the biggest kid on the block. I was skeptical about the proclaimed end of the Cold War, because that issue will never go away, and no country will willingly accept the loss of status that Russia did. It's hardly surprising that they would want back in the game.

      Problem for them is, they may now be #3 rather than vying for #1.

      The problem with that, of course, is that our propaganda is currently directed elsewhere.
      Which makes it an ideal time for them to play a weak hand.
      • Russia these days reminds me a bit of the Weimar Republic. And the Weimar Republic was the pupa of something altogether more scary when it hatched. Saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay, I'm starting to agree with that guy a post or three back who says we should play along and declare Russia the enemy. It's sooooooooo much easier to keep track of than a shifting cast of "Terrorist Masterminds".
      • I was skeptical about the proclaimed end of the Cold War, because that issue will never go away, and no country will willingly accept the loss of status that Russia did. It's hardly surprising that they would want back in the game.

        If you accept the notion that to be "great" you must "do as I say," the communists have won your mind. We are hearing from a lot of the same kinds of people in Washington these days. They talk about sacrifice, struggle, security and other unAmerican nonsense.

        If you want to

      • Loss of status??? The status of Russia grew enormously in the last few decades. The Russian economy is booming. The USA is dependent on the Russian space program for some things. Europe depends on Russian energy...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 21, 2007 @07:59PM (#18827523)
    They are trying to compete with the US media!
  • by Illserve (56215) on Saturday April 21, 2007 @08:00PM (#18827525)
    We in the western world (either the states, or the UK where I currently live) might be much better off if the media were reporting some good news once in a while. The culture of fear is increasingly pervasive and it's fueled, in part, by the media scare-wagon, which cannot help but tell us about a new thing that is going to kill us or ruin our lives every week.

    Enough is enough. Let's do the Putin thing.

    • I agree somewhat. It can't be healthy when almost all stories in the news are negative. Of course I don't condone the censorship or directing the news-outlets to represent the United States as "the enemy", but more positive stories would be a good thing. Sadly this isn't what's being ordered. If the article is correct, then it's only 50% of the news about Russia that needs to be positive, and then it's probably worse than just portraiting only the bad news.
  • by josquint (193951) on Saturday April 21, 2007 @08:00PM (#18827527) Homepage
    If the news featured more positive stories.

    American news THRIVES on depressing and horrifing scenarios. It's, well, depressing.

    The world isnt a kind and gentle place, but must it be a manufacutred hell?
    • by neoform (551705)
      Do you cover your eyes when things are going bad?

      Or do you man up and realize that in order for things to get better, we need to recognize the problems and work to fix them.

      Ignoring them only serve make things worse. Bad news sucks, but it needs to be heard.
    • by melikamp (631205) on Saturday April 21, 2007 @09:19PM (#18828079) Homepage Journal

      Oh, come one. Just yesterday I tuned on to Fox just to catch a report about two cutest little kittens abandoned behind a dumpster and then rescued by some good people. I am not joking.

    • I almost agree with the parent. The U.S. media thrives on the negative, it's true. I'd applaud some measures to at least show some of the good.
      BUT
      This isn't mandating that news as a whole be 50% positive. It's asking that anything that speaks about Russia has to be 50% positive.
  • America viewed as an enemy? I know relations could be better, but enemy?
  • by WgT2 (591074) on Saturday April 21, 2007 @08:06PM (#18827553) Journal

    Who leaked this script of this season's 24 to the Russians?!

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Zantetsuken (935350)
      while you could be joking, who knows what countries can't figure out that it's a television show (hell, even some American citizens) - one of these days North Korea, China, or any of the other shows that American TV uses as the target of some world domination plot, or makes just a bit too many bad jokes at is gonna get pissed.

      ex: American Idol or some such show will be mistranslated as: "We're going to slaughter you all... lalalala.... we're going to eat your babies at the weekend BBQ... alala... cuz' we
  • Putin (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tsagadai (922574) on Saturday April 21, 2007 @08:08PM (#18827565) Journal
    Putin is starting to lose it, he's on a return to his KGB tactics and training. Say goodbye to democracy Russia!
    • Yeah, because being a high ranked intelligence official [wikipedia.org] is enough to pervert any president's mind.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by couchslug (175151)
      Russian culture may be unsuited to democracy. Russia never had it, never had the cultural traditions to make it work, and has always been a harsh and brutal place.

      It may be that the only way to hold Russia together and keep order is Putinism.

      China is doing well without democracy, and theocratic Islam is expanding. Democracy is fine for the West and countries heavily influenced by it, but for some cultures it may not be of use.
      • by SoupIsGood Food (1179) on Saturday April 21, 2007 @10:14PM (#18828433)
        Most of Europe never had Democracy. It came to pass as all national conflicts were being won by liberal democracies... or as close to a liberal democracy as was possible in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. It's only come to the Eastern European powers... Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia... in the past 15 years. They seem to be doing OK with the concept despite only Czechoslovakia having any experience at all with democracy. South Korea and Taiwan have all moved from authoritarianism to democracy with great results.
        Democracy starts slowly, and gradually improves itself... in early-stage democracy, it's more about the promise than the actuality. The United States had a small issue with slavery, as you may recall, and with its treatment of the indigenous peoples. Still, it's a lot better today than it was even forty years ago. Democracy, with it's partners Human Rights and Rule of Law, allows progress to happen.

        I harbor contempt and distrust for the mindset that certain types of people are somehow genetically exempt from modern forms of self-government... to my ears, it sounds suspiciously like "Democracy, Human Rights and the Rule of Law only applies to rich white people, because they're the only ones intelligent and enlightened enough to benefit from it."

        (That said, forcing change from the outside at gunpoint seldom works well - for any governmental system imposed. See: Iraq. Engagement in the form of clever political pressure, applied covertly inside the nation and through geopolitical maneuvering, works somewhat better. This is the best course of action in Russia's case.)

        SoupIsGood Food
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by couchslug (175151)
          "That said, forcing change from the outside at gunpoint seldom works well - for any governmental system imposed"

          The level of force required to break down social barriers is that we used in WWII. We cannot use that level of violence against civilians nowadays, so we cannot "break" countries as was done to Germany and Japan.

          "certain types of people are somehow genetically exempt"

          None of the example countries that became modern democracies were Islamic. Religion that demands theocracy cannot tolerate democracy
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by SoupIsGood Food (1179)
            None of the example countries that became modern democracies were Islamic. Religion that demands theocracy cannot tolerate democracy. That isn't a genetic barrier, but a deep, superstitious cultural barrier.

            I hate to break it to you, but the lines dividing secular from religious power in Islamic society were broken by the Umyyad Dynasty less than a hundred years after the death of Muhammad. You may want to spend some time with Wikipedia on the history of Islam and Arab culture... and no, the two are not the
  • Oh Heck... (Score:4, Funny)

    by creimer (824291) on Saturday April 21, 2007 @08:10PM (#18827587) Homepage
    I guess Slashdot is now illegal in Russia as it has nothing good say about Microsoft, Apple, DRM/RIAA, Anonymous Cowards, and Martha Stewart.
  • Examples (Score:5, Funny)

    by AaronW (33736) on Saturday April 21, 2007 @08:16PM (#18827625) Homepage
    I wonder if these would count as examples of good news:

    Blue Angles Jet Did Not Kill Anybody on the Ground And Five Pilots Are Alive and Well [yahoo.com]

    Bush's Ratings Above Zero

    At Least One Person Says Gonzolas Should Stay

    Fallujah To Get Another New Chief

    Space Engineer Will Not Get Any More Mediocre Job Reviews

    Street Evangelists Rescues 300 Souls [theonion.com].

    I guess it's possible to turn bad news into good news, but then everything will start to sound like The Onion [theonion.com].

    Note that I am not trying to make light of any of these issues but to show how idiotic the new Russian stance is.
  • reporting standards (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 21, 2007 @08:22PM (#18827667)
    In the U.S., staions choose the news according to what they think will get us tuned in.
    In Russia, editors choose according to whether they will keep their job or not.

    Fortunately, in the west we have 100 cable news channels to choose from...In Russia their are 2 ..both with majority ownership by the Government or it's right arm, Gazprom (the largest oil company in the world...and majority owned by the Government)
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Fortunately, in the west we have 100 cable news channels to choose from.

      And they're all owned by the same five media conglomerates. Those five media conglomerates have the same customers (advertisers), same business model, same conflicts of interest, and on most topics the same political bent. Those five companies also control most radio stations. With recent deregulation, they are starting to buy up newspapers as well. 95% of all media the average American is exposed to comes from those five companie

  • Moscow couple protests atop Lada (NSFW) [publiuspundit.com]

    At least they look like they're happy...
  • What does reportedly loyal means exactly? Ann Coulter loyal? Rush Limbaugh loyal? Rupert Murdoch loyal? How is this different from the rest of the world, except that is happens "in soviet russia"? I'm seeing a new trend on media, slashdot and comments of reporting the other side mistakes that happen to be the exact same things that are happening on this side too, for instance, Unmaned vehicles on Venezuela [slashdot.org] (happens on U.S. and U.K. too), Cuba, Russia, Venezuela, China, Brazil ...

    Is this some kind of fee
  • by Vexler (127353) on Saturday April 21, 2007 @08:29PM (#18827721) Journal
    Reminds me of a cartoon shortly after the Tiananmen Square Massacre that depicts Premier Deng saying, "Smile, martial law in Beijing has been lifted... anyone found not smiling will be executed."

    This news from Russia makes me wonder whether USSR isn't dead, but, as Calvin and Hobbs liked to say, "transmorgrified". If so, then Americans have been deceiving themselves that they have somehow "won" the Cold War.
    • by tftp (111690)
      The Cold War was not a clash of two opposing ideologies. That was only a convenient excuse. The Cold War was a method in the continuing struggle between Russia and the USA.

      The USA sees Russia as a competitor and wants to "divide and conquer" it by all means possible - such as permanent colored revolutions, or paid dissidents, or by poisoning some irrelevant guy in a 3rd country, or by ordering shooting of some media figures and then blaming Putin... Instability in Russia would greatly benefit the USA.

    • The US didn't win the cold war. There was no cold war. The cold war was a propaganda myth and eventually everybody got tired of it...
  • "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all."

    Let's see how long it takes before he starts whining that nobody gives him any attention whatsoever.
  • by ConfusedSelfHating (1000521) on Saturday April 21, 2007 @08:48PM (#18827853)

    Although the United States is an increasingly unpopular country, China is a more likely enemy. The greatest points of conflict with the United States would be over Russian business deals with "anti-American" countries. The United States is unlikely to invade any more countries in the near future given the numerous complications of the Iraq war. Iraq was one of the biggest business partners of Russia and the countries did not come to blows over it. A great number of the conflicts that Russia has with the West are also with Europe. There has been a great number of conflicts over oil. As far as the "War on Terror", the US and Russia are natural allies. With Russia's occupation of Chechnya (which makes the Iraq war look like a visit to the playground http://http//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Chechen_ War/ [http]), they have had repeated attacks by Muslim terrorists.

    Russia has a lot of land and massive natural resources. China has a thirst for natural resources, severe internal conflict and a huge disproportially male population. If the effectiveness of Russia's nuclear arsenal was thought to be limited (perhaps by the development of new missile defence technologies), then China may invade Russia. The Chinese may be willing to lose ten million men to take a substantial part of Russian territory. A war for territory may move many of the disgruntled young Chinese men to the frontline.

    I think the US is chosen as an enemy because America bashing is very easy right now. If the Russian government were to look at its most likely enemies, it may compromise it's business agreements.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by digitalhermit (113459)
      China is very different from the USA in language and culture. They have ideas about male/female roles, education, loyalty, individuality, ambition, etc. that is completely alien to most Westerners. You'd think this would make them the likely targets of US agression..

      Ahh, but one thing stands out: China and the USA are business partners. Sometimes unwilling business partners, but partners nonetheless. Every once in a while you'll hear about some (relatively) minor trading dispute. Put a tariff on Chinese-ma
  • by BillGatesLoveChild (1046184) on Saturday April 21, 2007 @08:53PM (#18827885) Journal
    > at least 50 percent of the reports about Russia must be 'positive.'

    "Slow News Day in the Bureau today, Dimitri. We've only got one story: Another Russian Dissident mysteriously dying of radiation poisoning. I say let's split it: Dissident Dead, Putin under investigation, Polonium Stocks Up, KGB hiring"

    "Ivan, I think you meant FSB. The KGB no longer exists."

    (Hearty Laughing)

  • In Old Soviet Russia, it was the other 50% of the news that had to be happy!

  • There is so much violence in any large country, that if you have to report every murder or assault, then the newspapers will be nothing but. Balance is required and it seems that the owners insist on that. Which party line should be supported is a matter of which people they are targeting - sitting on the fence is worse.
  • Since the gov't is paying the salaries of the gov't owned media, isnt' this the equivalent of your boss handing out a reporting assignment? I see no danger to the freedom of the press, I see capitalism at work.
  • by caseih (160668) on Saturday April 21, 2007 @09:58PM (#18828317)
    One thing we always forget about Russia is that the jump from a communist system to a western-style democracy is far far greater than we think. While Russia has made great strides in the past, there is a long ways to go. Putin may or may not be the despot you think he is. Some of my Russian friends, while they don't like the man, understand some of why he rules the way he does.

    The biggest problem in Russia is that things like Agriculture have never bee privatized. Privatizing agriculture would seem to be a great idea to us in the west, but if Putin were to do it in Russia, it would destroy the country. Many industries have been privatized in Russia, with disastrous results. Basically the government divvied up the cooperatives and companies by distributing stock to citizens, hoping that citizens could take ownership and make a profit. What happened is that organized crime and other opportunists saw an ideal opportunity for a grab. They went around and offered citizens much less than the face value of the stock. Since the stock had no value to the average person, most people happily sold their stocks for pennies on the dollar. This has led to major problems with monopolies and even crime organizations. Remember, these people have never had any experience with a western-style economic system, let alone a democracy. They were just no match for the wits of the opportunists. Hence agriculture in Russia will not be privatized anytime soon. Can you imagine the massive land-grab?

    Anyway, this is the major reason why Putin is reluctant to allow Russians to experience this great thing we call Liberty. It's not that he wants to be a dictator or stalin, but that he recognizes Russia can't transform herself all at once. I think it will take at least 2 generations myself. Along the way, Putin has drawn the ire of the western world and many critics at home.

    I am not going to condone his actions. I just want to make sure we all understand the underlying situations and conditions that exist in Russia and the former republics of the Soviet Union. If they move to quickly to western-style economics and politics, chaos will ensue. Think 1930's mob rule in America, but only with 21st century technology, money, and power. It's a precarious situation, and very delicate. If Putin allows media too much power, and allowed them to print too many doom and gloom, down with the government stuff, not only will his government fall, but the entire country will fall into anarchy and mob rule. Is there another way? I'm sure there is. But let's make sure we have a full understanding before we spout off on this subject. Reacting prematurely is the very thing that leads to the fallacies that Bush used in justifying the Iraq war
  • by Fry-kun (619632) on Saturday April 21, 2007 @10:57PM (#18828685)
    ...literally!
  • Hey, (Score:3, Funny)

    by TheDarkener (198348) on Saturday April 21, 2007 @11:10PM (#18828781)
    at least it's balanced.

Every nonzero finite dimensional inner product space has an orthonormal basis. It makes sense, when you don't think about it.

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