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Mapping Russian Media Network: Media's Role in Russian Foreign Policy and Decision-making

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Technical Report

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Center for Naval Analyses Arlington United States

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Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia has used media as an important instrument and lever of influence. The role of media in promoting Russian foreign policy and exerting the influence of President Vladimir Putin has become increasingly visible since the conflict in Ukraine and other domestic and international confrontations began. CNA has undertaken an effort to map the Russian media environment and examine Russian decision-making as it relates to the media. This report provides an overview of the role that the media plays in Russian foreign policy. Specifically, we examine Russias media environment, Russias decision-making related to media and messaging, including the drivers and boundaries of that decision-making. We evaluate the role of Vladimir Putin and his inner circle, and finally, we examine the role that Russias media and messaging plays in external influence. In addition, we highlight that while media is a key instrument of influence, culture, politics, and business are also important in broader Russian influence efforts abroad. Furthermore, this report outlines the way that decision-making and messaging is carried out by Vladimir Putin and his closest advisors through a series of scenarios that range from crisis to steady state. Finally, we provide overarching takeaways for policy makers and the international community to consider in understanding Russias media environment and Russian decision-making in the media.

Subject Categories:

  • Information Science

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