By Paul Goble
Moscow television over the last five years has devoted far more attention to developments in Ukraine than to developments in Russia, an obvious, much commented upon, and partially successful attempt to distract the attention of Russians from the problems in their own country, observer Yury Komarov says (publizist.ru/blogs/34/30433/-).
But now that trend has been joined by another: Moscow television increasingly focuses not on Russia today when it does talk about the country but about its past and especially what is the keystone and ultimate moral solvent against any criticism of Moscow and its policies, the Soviet victory in World War II.
Russia’s First Channel has announced the beginning of a new television channel, “Victory,” devoted exclusively to what Russians call the Great Fatherland War, World War II, and intended to help “preserve consensus in society,” according to its leadership (znak.com/2019-04-09/v_rossii_poyavilsya_telekanal_pobeda_posvyachennyy_voyne).
The new channel will be directed primarily to the young and be available throughout Russia “except Chukotka, Kamchatka, Magadan oblast, part of the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District, Krasnoyarsk Kray and Novaya Zemlya” (on these exclusions, see the comment at region.expert/tv-pobeda/).
It will also cover “almost all the republics of the former USSR, Mongolia, North Korea, part of China, Poland, Finland and all of Scandinavia. According to its organizers, it isn’t receiving any special government funding, but since First Channel does, the money can be passed through there.
Aleksey Volin, the deputy communications minister who appears to be overseeing this effort, says that the new channel “must not be devoted only to the Great Fatherland War and other wars because there are Russian “victories, also in space, art, science and technology” which deserve coverage as well.