The Anomaly of Ekho Moskvy: Adaptation Strategies for the Survival of Diversity of Viewpoints in Russian Media during the Putin Era
Moscow-based radio station Ekho Moskvy is an anomaly in the authoritarian media climate of Vladimir Putin's Russia for its commitment to hosting a diversity of viewpoints on its broadcasts. Yet no systematic research has been conducted to determine what the station's exceptionalism means in practice or how the station has been able to operate as long as it has (over twenty years). This paper explores the question of a possible adaptation strategies employed by the station during the Putin era, 2000-2010, by focusing on Ekho Moskvy's editor-in-chief since 1998, Alexei Venediktov, and seeks to understand why or how Ekho Moskvy is able to continue operating and hosting diverse viewpoints in a hostile media environment.
In the first part of this thesis, the research contextualizes the business aspect of the station, especially its ownership structure, profitability, and audience. The second part of the thesis examines the relationship of the station with the Russian political elite, and then looks at every program on which Venediktov hosted a discussion with one or more guests and the contents of those discussions and their relation to Putin and Kremlin policies from 2000-2010. This research seeks to construct an idea of how and in what ways each of these strategic elements of Ekho Moskvy's operations add up to an overall adaptation strategy for an exceptional media outlet's survival in Putin's Russia.
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