Putin and the Media 1991-2000 • Oligarchs controlled major TV stations. • Critical of Putin’s policies • (i.e., Chechnya) • Putin’s Response • Gusinsky: arrested for corruption • NTV: now owned by Gazprom • State-owned natural gas • Berezovsky: fled the country • TV-6 was closed by the government
Kremlin controls all major media • Election Coverage: • Overwhelmingly Pro-Putin/United Russia • Trash opposition • No chance to respond to charges on air.
Open Net Initiative http://map.opennet.net/filtering-pol.html
Campaign Laws Hurt Opposition • Low levels of campaign spending allowed • Can’t explicitly campaign until 1 month before election
Civil Society Organizing outside of the state that allows for political or civil participation.
2011 Duma Elections • United Russia wins narrow majority. • 25,000-50,000 protest in unapproved rallies against the “party of swindlers and thieves.” • Over 500 arrested.
Restricting Civil Society in Putin’s Russia • Putin’s reaction to protests: • New law heavily fines illegal protestors more than the equivalent of the average Russian’s annual salary. • Police raided homes of opposition leaders and arrested them.
Kasparov: 60 Minutes • Describe the obstacles for political opposition. • Describe the reasons Putin was so popular in 2007. • How important is a liberal democracy to Russians? • What other issues are more important for them?
Restricting Civil Society • Restriction of group activities (especially if group is critical of government). • Religious and Political • Tough registration laws. • Harassment from police and local officials. • NGO Laws 2006 &2012 • Massive amounts of red tape (bureaucratic hurdles) make it easy for government to restrict/regulate/fine NGOs. • Total disclosure of funds from outside of Russia.
Pussy Riot • Female Punk Rock Band • 2012: demonstrated at an Orthodox Cathedral in Moscow. • Performed a song that beseeched the Virgin Mary to “rid us of Putin.” • Two of the arrested were sentenced to 2 years in prison for hooliganism motivated by religious hatred.
Nashi Youth Group • Loyal, patriotic Putin supporters • Various activities • Marches, demonstrations, summer camps • Receive government grants & donations from state-run businesses Photos courtesy of “BBC News.”