“Kostroma senator’s daughter gets to edit Harper’s Bazaar Russia” and other tales of foreign media in Russie de Nouveaux Riches

It just so happens that media is a strong instrument in shaping human opinion.

In a world of ever increasing need for cooperation and harmonization of national worldviews, state-run media just won’t let go. But also publishing industry segments like fashion continue to show that they couldn’t care less about equality and harmony. What is going on in relation to foreign media in Russia is a prime example of such short-sighted attitudes by both sides of the fence.

In Russia, the publishing industry is still reeling from legal changes earlier this year while the new amendments — to go into force on December, 6th — will soon have foreign companies to seek government permission before buying a stake of over 25 % in newspapers or magazines in the Eastern European nation.

Daughter of former Kostroma senator, Miroslava Duma is featured in the April 2013 issue of Vogue USA
Daughter of former Kostroma senator, Miroslava Duma is here featured in the April 2013 issue of Vogue USA

Engaged in an information war with the rest of the world over its western neighbour nation of Ukraine, the Kremlin seems to be undeterred — on the contrary, they might be delighted — by assessments from the likes of The Business of Fashion that

The new laws are a bullet fired squarely at the country’s independent news outlets

In a communication to BoF, Olga Mikhailovskay, former fashion director at Elle Russia, who has experience of work with the likes of Vogue Russia and Kommersant, a Russia’s richest man Alisher Usmanov-owned newspaper:

I am sure there is a way out like in China, for example, where western glossy magazines are running very successful businesses

Russia’s curent print mediascape is caracterized by these large players which are fully or partially foreign owned: Burda, Hearst Shkulev Media and Sanoma Independent Media, the owner of The Moscow Times.  By February 1, 2017, these companies have to bring their ownership in line with the new law, meanwhile the Kremlin will have a say over how these companies deal with their assets.

Last month, state-run paper Rossiyskaya Gazeta sniped at Russian creatives like former Harper’s Bazaar Russia editor Miroslava Duma, accusing them of gratifying the western press and “not doing enough to promote Russian designers in their engagements with international media.”

But it’s all a media show of remarkable grandeur that is put up for the uninitiated. No conspiracy theories, please. Plain anecdotes. Some post-Soviet Russians who got rich not in an opposition to the Russian government enjoy the spoils of their status. Their children revel in the global culture while the Kremlin continues to feed the impoverished, media illiterate Russians with the Cold War semantics.

And sure the media attention-loving kids of the Western or Ukrainian rich are no less different. Rarely in the history of PR would you spot a genuinely well-meaning, goodwilling starlet on the rise. This is why at Steppes in Sync we continue to raise awareness, talk media ownership.

Got more fitting anecdotes? We’d love to hear from you!

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