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Television, Power, and the Public in Russia
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Book description

The Russian media are widely seen to be increasingly controlled by the government. Leaders buy up dissenting television channels and pour money in as fast as it haemorrhages out. As a result, TV news has become narrower in scope and in the range of viewpoints which it reflects: leaders demand assimilation and shut down dissenting stations. Using original and extensive focus group research and new developments in cognitive theory, Ellen Mickiewicz unveils a profound mismatch between the complacent assumption of Russian leaders that the country will absorb their messages, and the viewers on the other side of the screen. This is the first book to reveal what the Russian audience really thinks of its news and the mental strategies they use to process it. The focus on ordinary people, rather than elites, makes a strong contribution to the study of post-communist societies and the individual's relationship to the media.


‘Television, Power, and the Public in Russia by Ellen Mickiewicz, a highly respected authority on the political role of television in Russia, provides surprising and significant insights into the gap separating the current Russian leadership from the Russian people.’

Zbigniew Brzezinski - Counselor and Trustee, Center for Strategic and International Studies

'A fascinating approach to current issues in post-Soviet television. Mickiewicz has an unparalleled range and depth of knowledge and is not afraid to use this to create a more personal approach. This is an important book that makes a significant contribution toward understanding the particular pathologies of the broadcast sphere in Russia through the study of the audience.'

Sarah Oates - Department of Politics, University of Glasgow

'This focus group based study of Russian television audiences presents a superb analysis of the many ways in which diverse life circumstances alter television's impact on viewers. It also provides fascinating insights into ordinary citizens' perceptions of life, politics, and the mass media in contemporary Russia, using U.S. news media and politics as a foil for comparison. This is essential reading for comparativists, political psychologists, and mass media scholars.'

Doris Graber - Department of Political Science, University of Illinois at Chicago

'… Ellen Mickiewicz, Professor of Political Science at Duke University, yesterday was one of the most highly regarded American Sovietologists; now [she is] the greatest authority in the field of the study and analysis of Russian mass media. … Liberty, even when it is limited always has a revolutionary potential. More so if the power ignores the impact, as emerges from the fine research of the American political scientist.'

Piero Ostellino Source: editor-in-chief of Corriere

'Television, Power and the Public in Russia is an impressive and original study of TV viewers in post-Soviet Russia. … Mickiewicz has written an excellent book … This study makes a significant contribution to our knowledge about the relation between TV watchers, political leadership, and the peculiarities of television in Russia. It also contributes to studies of comparative politics, society and applied heuristics.'

Source: The Review of Politics

'Mickiewicz handles her subject with the deftness of a surgeon and the broad knowledge and seasoned understanding of an archaeologist working in the multidisciplinary field of mass media studies. Her work is seminal and as such the starting point for any future research on the Russian television audience, which may well inform us on the future of that country more than any of the research that focuses on the workings of the not-so-new political system.'

Peter Gross Source: Political Communication

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