Alexei Volin. Photo courtesy of Parlamentskaya gazeta
From an interview with Russian federal deputy communications minister Alexei Volin, broadcast on the TV Rain program “Hard Day’s Night” yesterday:
TV Rain: Among [Russian] TV channels who provides an alternative viewpoint in your opinion?
Volin: Among the general access channels, probably no one provides a strongly alternative viewpoint due to the fact that they think about their ratings. A TV channel or mass media outlet that today adopts a unpatriotic viewpoint will simply be economically unsuccessful because the audience will turn away from it.
TV Rain: Excuse me, I seem to be a little confused about terms. We asked you about alternatives, but you talked about being unpatriotic. You mean that an alternative viewpoint is a priori unpatriotic?
Volin: I don’t have the slightest doubt about this.
(A transcript of the interview can be read, in Russian, on journalist Andrei Amalgin’s blog.)
Deputy minister Volin is no stranger to brutal authoritarian “honesty.” This is what he said in his keynote address at a conference held at Moscow State University’s journalism department in February 2013:
A journalist is tasked with making money for those who hired him. And you can only do that by making your resource interesting for your readers, viewers or listeners. The question, then, is, Do mass media serve a propaganda function? Of course they do, to the extent their owners believe appropriate. […] Propaganda should not be obvious; propaganda should be hidden — then and only then can it be effective. We need to make it clear to students that when they leave this building, they are going to go work for The Man. And The Man is going to tell them what to write and what not to write, and how to write about this or that. And The Man has a right to do this because he is paying them. […] You may like what I have told you or not, but it’s objective reality. It’s life. And it’s not like you are ever going to see a different life.