Putin's Russia: The Relationship Between the President and the People Through Media.

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Stott, Alexandra
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The main focus of this research is to explore the unique phenomenon in Russia of Vladimir Putin’s annual “Direct Line” TV broadcast, during which he takes call-in questions. What I was interested in was discovering what sort of research has been done on this phenomenon and what role the media plays in Putin’s regime. Specifically I am interested in the questions of: do the Russian people really have a sense that its voice is heard on these broadcasts and is the media typically a puppet of the regime, an advocate of the people, or something all onto themselves? The method I used to explore this topic was to collect sources written by social scientists and other scholars on the role of media in Russian politics and see if I could find any sources directly discussing the “Direct Line” broadcasts. The other part of my project was then to collect Russian language press coverage and analyze what this has to say about the broadcasts. The third part of my research then included looking at the broadcasts themselves. In my initial literature review, I determined that these broadcasts are not terribly well studied, despite an extensive literature on Putin and the media that focuses more on censorship and media ownership conflicts. I am currently gathering and analyzing Russian-language press coverage of these broadcasts, which I feel will yield more of the information needed to answer the questions I posed above, and will present my findings on their contents in April. In conclusion, for any researcher who is interested in Russian politics, conducting scholarly work exploring Vladimir Putin’s “Direct Line” broadcasts would be a fruitful endeavor because there is a body of information to draw from, mainly the press coverage of the events, but not much scholarly work that deals exclusively with this unique phenomenon.