Censorship and Self-Censorship in Russia
The Kennan Institute hosted three well-known Russian publicists, analysts, and commentators, Konstantin Sonin, Konstantin Eggert, and Gleb Cherkasov, to discuss censorship and self-censorship in Russia and its role in Russian society.
State control on information and media and aggressive pressure on journalists seeking to maintain their independence are critical elements of the modern Russian state. Although the Russian constitution has an article expressly prohibiting censorship, in reality censorship is a constant factor in the life of the Russian media. Censorship is carried out both directly and indirectly by state pressure and through self-censorship by journalists. The Kennan Institute hosted three well-known Russian publicists, analysts, and commentators, Konstantin Sonin, Konstantin Eggert, and Gleb Cherkasov, to discuss censorship and self-censorship in Russia and its role in Russian society.
Konstantin Sonin, John Dewey Distinguished Service Professor, University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy
"I think the second main reason… leaders want censorship is because they just do not want bad things said about them. So I think a lot of frustration… is not that they really fear a revolution or they really feel that they’re going to be punished for their corruption, but they just find that it’s extremely unpleasant to read about their corruption. So they dislike it."
"Now that 20 years have passed of Mr. Putin’s rule, a lot of people don’t need to be told what to say, and how to present certain topics. They already know. It’s not self-censorship; it’s just living in censorship."
"Media does not exist in a vacuum. And, essentially, if Russian society figures out that it’s right to know is an important right for it, then a lot of things will fall into place."
Gleb Cherkasov, Journalist; Former Deputy Editor-in-Chief, Kommersant (Live translation from Russian)
"We are living at a time of technological revolution in the media, and it is much easier now to create your own media than it was five to ten years ago. And so, it’s really incomparable: [the] technological advances we have now [and] those we had in the ’90s. If you want to create some kind of product, all of us can have the tools. It may not necessarily be professional, but we have the technological basis to just pull out a phone and be newsmakers."
"Over the past year and a half, like mushrooms after a rain, we see small media projects that are being done by young people, very different young people. These media projects are about various news [items], various themes, and cover different subjects…. The process is evolving, and I personally call this… Media 3.0. It’s usually a small partnership of people who are not connected with an official media market who produce a product, satisfying their own professional ambitions."
The Kennan Institute is the premier U.S. center for advanced research on Russia and Eurasia and the oldest and largest regional program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. The Kennan Institute is committed to improving American understanding of Russia, Ukraine, Central Asia, the Caucasus, and the surrounding region though research and exchange. Read more
Thank you for your interest in this event. Please send any feedback or questions to our Events staff.