The Other Russia

Friday, June 22, 2007

This week, OTM turns its focus to Russia. How are the Russian media operating during an era of dramatic economic change, a clampdown on freedom of speech, and a struggle to reposition the country on the world stage? Host Brooke Gladstone, producer Mike Vuolo and technical director Dylan Keefe traveled to Moscow to speak with journalists, dissidents, and lawmakers about the current climate for press freedom.

Garry Kasparov is known around the world as a chess champion. He’s also a vocal opponent of Vladimir Putin and what he calls Putin’s “police state.”

Yevgeny Kiselyov was a big-time television anchor under Yeltsin. He’s a smaller-time radio host under Putin.

Vladimir Ryzhkov is an independent member of Russia’s lower legislative body. He says the Kremlin is passing legislation to drive its opponents out of power.

Comments [10]

Moody from Phoenix, AZ

This episode covered many good topics but I had one gripe. That is in how the various Russian actor's voices were assigned.

For example, the editor of Izvestia sounds like a crazy person in English with an exaggerated accent while the bard sounds like a gentle soul through his translator. When I carefully listened to the raw Russian audio at the end of the pieces, the bard sounded like the more naturally "outspoken" of the two.
The practice of making foreigners sound crazy when we disagree with their politics by hyping up a translator's accent is not new to the media. Just look at how the 24hour news outlets translate the words of Arabs.

Why not just use American actors with neutral voices to read the transcripts of what was said in Russian?

Jul. 07 2007 02:31 PM
Dan in Japan from Two hours from Tokyo

Normally, I would have zoned out on topics relating to Russia, primarily because the topic would be less relevant and a gloss over. However, Brooke, your journalistic superpowers and editing magic made for a very, VERY engrossing piece on media in Russia.

It just goes to show that once you begin to dig past the surface layers, things in life are far more complicated than much of the media leads us to believe.

This was a great piece, Brooke and Co! Keep up the great work!

So, when will you be coming to Japan? The media here could use some scrutiniz'n!

Dan in Japan

Jun. 29 2007 02:19 AM
momos from New York City

I disagree with the complaint by Jim from Akron, OH about devoting a whole show to international coverage. This program conveyed the current political culture of an extremely important country, and did so in way that encouraged the listener to reflect on the fate of alternative views in the mainstream US media. (A point also mentioned by Alan Wright of Westchester, PA.)

The excellent interview with Izvestia's editor is the sort of thing more Americans need to hear. Although I'm dismayed by his comfort with pro-government propaganda, his impatience with US pieties (and hypocrisies) represents a growing school of thought that many Americans are unaware of.

OTM, you guys are da bomb. This program was one of your best. Hope you'll do more like it in the future.

Jun. 28 2007 11:55 PM
bicyclemark from Amsterdam, Netherlands

Brooke and OTM crew.. I mean.. you've always been an inspiration to my work as a podcast journalist. But Brooke, this program is fantastic.. I mean.. you're my new heroine. This program will remain a reference point for me for years to come. I loved the mixed opinions and passionate statements of such a cross section of Russians. THANK YOU.

Jun. 27 2007 08:16 PM
Jim Wilson from Akron, OH

I enjoyed the Russian special program and found it to be very interesting however I missed the regular program. I know this was a special segment but it seems like it would have served better as an additional coverage piece on the web or as an ongoing segment interleaved into the regular program. Please don't take this as a harsh criticism, Brooke did a fantastic job (as usual) however OTM is easily my favorite weekly news program and I just found that I missed the domestic insight and commentary. I look forward to getting back to fundamentals next week.


Jun. 25 2007 07:06 PM
Alan Wright from West Chester, PA


Your coverage of the media in Russia was most interesting and valuable. For the sake of balance, I would enjoy hearing a comparable program directed at "freedom of speech and media" in the US. Such a program would do well to follow the lines of your Russia program, substituting for Gary Kasparov, world renowned intellectual, linguist and MIT Professor, Dr. Noam Chomsky. Your description of the subtle ways in which voices and perspectives critical of the dominant system in Russia are shunted to minor media struck me as identical to the ways in which truly progressive voices in the US are restricted (by some invisible hand) to small circulation publications such as The Nation. For starters, why not try doing a Google search to find out how many times in the past 20 years Dr Chomsky's views have received coverage in the NY Times. Then compare that with Isvestia's treatment of Mr. Kasparov.

Sometimes it's harder to see the log in one's own eye than to see the speck in the eye of the other.

Jun. 25 2007 07:47 AM
Glenn Lockie from Sausalito CA

Your interview with the Izvestia editor was the best thing I've heard regarding Russian media. He made several very cogent points about US/West attitudes that expect every country in the world to flock to imitate US/West institutions of democracy without the required transition period from centuries old experience of authoritarianism. Anyone thinking that Russia (or Iraq) would in 2, 3, or 10 years suddenly be transformed into our version of democracy is sadly delusioned and ignorant of how human societies, religions, and individuals' consciousnesses evolve. It takes decades, if not generations. How about 700 years from the Magna Carta to the Declaration of Independance? Less so with the web, hopefully, which is speeding everything up.

Jun. 24 2007 06:45 PM
Irina Pecherskaya from San Francisco CA

I have lived the first half of my life in the USSR and the second half in the USA. I am simply amazed at this show. For the whole hour there have been no statement, qualification, attitude or representation that I, as a "native", would find uninformed, missing the point or overlooking a subtlety of the modern life in Russia. I think your interview with Mamontov is simply a gem. Thank you, I learned something new about my country from your show. I am also very impressed by the choices of speakers - very broad spectrum and very representative. And the bards segment... all the right names were mentioned, including the modern reigning King of the Bards (isn't he a sweetheart?). Bravo!

Jun. 24 2007 06:28 PM
Carol Vieth from Chicago

This program is must listening for anyone interested in the present day Russia. Its in-depth approach is not available anywhere else. Thank you.

Jun. 24 2007 01:04 PM
Michelle Hadley from River Falls, WI

The in-depth show this week is to be commended. I personally enjoy the country-focus format. Expense, I'm sure, makes these programs prohibitive on a regular basis, but they are very informative and valuable. Next up? China!

Thank you for an always interesting program.

Jun. 24 2007 08:07 AM

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