Iurii MELNYK, PhD*
Abstract. The article examines the media image of president Putin of Russia in the Russian media space. Through the prism of the Russian media Putin appears as a superhuman with unique capabilities. The creators of this image regularly resort to outright staging, which are extremely important for informational support of the Russian political system and its central character, which is president Putin. The historical perspective shows that such media images have often been created in the past. The article takes as examples the media images of the Egyptian pharaohs Ramses III and Ramses IV, the Italian Prime Minister Benito Mussolini.
Keywords: Russian media, Mussolini, Putin, media image, simulation, fake news
PR AND FAKE NEWS MORE THAN 3,000 YEARS AGO
Since ancient times, it was important for various dictators and usurpers to legitimize their unique power, promoting to the masses the image of an ideal leader, not only competent in the management of the state, but also impeccable in principle. The propagandists and PR managers of antiquity, possessing the methods of information transfer available to them, successfully distributed the messages that reinforced the myth of divine origin of the rulers on whom they worked. As the Encyclopedia Britannica pointed out, “the Egyptians believed their pharaoh to be the mediator between the gods and the world of men. After death the pharaoh became divine. He was able to trample thousands of the enemy on the battlefield; and he was all-powerful, knowing everything and controlling nature and fertility”.
Precisely this PR-myth is connected to one of the oldest known fake news artifacts, fabricated more than 3,000 years ago. Papyrus Harris I (about 1155 BC) was written on behalf of Ramses III, but after his death, during the reign of Ramses IV. The purpose of the author(s) of this scroll, written as if it were from the afterlife, was to emphasize the divine origin (“my father Ra”) of the pharaoh’s dynasty and to testify that Ramses IV is blessed by no other than Amen-Ra, the supreme deity of Egypt: “Behold, I have set in Akert (the Other World) like my father Ra. I am among the Great Companies of the gods of heaven, earth, and the Tuat. Amen-Ra hath stablished my son upon my throne, he hath received my rank in peace, as Governor of Two Lands, and he is sitting upon the throne of Horus as Lord of the Two Nile-banks”.
Trivial is the circumstance that the cited papyrus with some 1,500 lines of text, to put it mildly, idealizes the rule of Ramses III and rather freely interprets the facts. An archaeologist at the University of Manchester Nicky Nielsen proved that “the widely held belief that Ramses was one of history’s greatest generals – is completely wrong…” And furthermore: “When you realize that Ramses re-inscribed monuments dedicated to others – so that it appeared they were celebrating his achievements, you realize what a peddler of fake news he was”.
Both at the times of the Twentieth dynasty of Egypt and in the following millennia, the information space was sparse, and the level of general awareness, education and “media literacy” was extremely low, so any disinformation that originated from an authoritative source could be freely spread in the communities without being submitted to critical analysis. This provided unlimited possibilities for manipulation of entire peoples, which were successfully used by RamsesIV in Egypt, King Hammurabi in Babylon and by the Roman popes in the Middle Age.
THE TOTALITARIAN CULT OF PERSONALITY
IN THE XX CENTURY
The 20th century is rich in individuals, around whom a messianic aura of supernaturalism and all-pervasiveness has been purposefully created. Hitler, Stalin, Mao Zedong, Mussolini are only the most vivid media phenomena. The latter example will be discussed in more detail.
By the end of the 1920s all Italian media, which were in the legal field, were subordinated to the regime. Every morning the Secretariat for Press and Propaganda (then renamed to the Ministry of Popular Culture) sent to editorial offices secret detailed instructions (so-called “veline”) on the content and form of the journalistic messages. An illustrative example may be a velina dated July 4, 1938, in which journalists were ordered “to notice how the Duce was not at all tired after four hours of threshing”. This is one of the numerous instructions that shows for which image of Mussolini his political strategists and image makers sought: the Duce was supposed to appear in the eyes of the people to be a genius of thought and action, an outstanding prophet, capable to lead the Italian nation to great achievements.
But the press had to silence the situations, which even theoretically could portray Mussolini in an unfavorable light, to shake, in one way or another, his mythical image of the superman. For example, Mussolini should not have grown old in the eyes of the Italians: “As you know, the Duce does not like in any way that the press takes care of his birthday. Do not, therefore, make any mention of it, not even in correspondences from abroad” (velina dated July 28, 1939).
An example of the stylistics in which the image of Duce has been forged, may be the book by Alvaro Corrado “New land. First chronicle of Agro Pontino” (1934): “As always when he is in front of the people, the Head of Government was radiant… Around me there were many dialects and two or three foreign languages. Some Germans said: «It is human, supremely human»… and in an Italian dialect someone said: «He does everything». So much that in the end, when one from the crowd shouted calling him father, this extremely touching appellation did not sound strange… «Nothing escapes him. He noticed that. See how he’s ready. He understands immediately when things go wrong»”.
The strengthening of the leader’s omnipresence and impeccability has been expressed in the monumentalization of his image: sculptures, woodcuts, paintings, engravings and so on. Mussolini liked posing in front of a photo or video camera, eternalizing himself in dynamic situations, demonstrating his physical, moral and intellectual greatness. The picture has become classic, on which Mussolini, in the framework of “the campaigns for wheat”, stands with a naked torso among the peasants and makes an emotional speech.
The legends about the Duce’s sport achievements were very popular. They could be read already by Italian schoolchildren in textbooks, where the Duce was presented not only as the “dominator of history”, but also as the “dominator of his own organism”: “Always fresh, always agile, with a surprising liveliness. At Villa Torlonia he practices a sport every day: on Monday he marches, on Tuesday he swims and on Wednesday he drives along the beautiful roads that twist in the Roman countryside. On Thursday he jumps over all the obstacles with ease of a perfect and daring knight and on Friday he flies. Saturday is devoted to a long fencing session, followed by a boxing match. Even in this Mussolini proves that his body has surprising agility. Finally, if sometimes on Sundays to the Head of the Government happens to take an hour of complementary rest, he does not forget the indispensable physical education”.
In the Italian information space Mussolini also appeared as the favorite of all women. There are reasons to believe that both quite truthful facts and exaggerations about active sexual life of the Prime Minister has been disseminated purposely, using his “machismo” as an important aspect of the general image of leader. Roberto Olla even believes that “a rough and violent sex occupies the center of the Duce’s myth”. According to the researcher, “his image of a powerful man, the most powerful of all, contained above all the sexual power as a symbol of eternal youth, both political and physical ones”.
So, Mussolini (like other totalitarian leaders in the 20th century) legitimized his absolute dictatorial powers by creating himself a media image that represented him as the best of all citizens under his control, in all areas, without exception.
“RUSSIA IS PUTIN, AND PUTIN IS RUSSIA”
The rule of the Egyptian pharaohs and other ancient rulers, if we use the terminology of Max Weber, is an example of the “traditional authority” whose legitimacy rests on the right of heredity. Napoleonic dictators like Mussolini are an example of the “charismatic authority”, according to which a leader governs because of his exceptional virtues. Both these approaches to the legitimation of power have been marginalized in the West (and in most countries whose political systems have been formed under the influence of the West), giving way to the “legal authority”, which is based on legal procedures. The “traditional authority” is still preserved in absolute monarchies, mainly in the Middle East, and the “charismatic authority” is still relevant in some personalist dictatorships, first of all in Russia and North Korea, where the media myth of infallibility and ubiquity of the leader is the most clearly expressed.
Russian media propagandize the image of an active, mobile, mentally, morally and physically developed political leader, successful in all his endeavors (from world politics to archeology, fishing and music).
The Russian media regularly spread allegedly “spontaneous” video footages and photo sessions, in which Putin enters the cage of an aggressive leopard; examines a medieval wreck on the seabed; participates in hockey matches and scores more goals than the others; “practices judo every day”; driving motorized deltaplane, teaches cranes to fly; for several hours drives a Formula 1 car at a speed of up to 240 km/h; goes fishing and catches a 21 kg pike; sings “Blueberry Hill” and surprises China with his piano playing at Xi Jinping’s residence. These and other PR actions help to fit Putin into the archetypes of the tsar, “the master of the Russian land”, the superhero, the defender of Russia, the athlete, the macho and the favorite of women. Besides that, sometimes he prefers to look like “a simple Russian man”, an ardent fancier of animals or something of the kind.
To date, it is proved that a significant part (at least) of the life situations, in which Putin appeared in the above-mentioned images, have been pre-prepared simulations. During his premiership, Putin, after diving with an aqualung, “found” two 6th century amphorae at the bottom of the sea. The mockery among the Internet community forced his press secretary to admit that it was a staging. A well-known fake is a series of photos with “brides” the Russian president allegedly acciden-tally met on Red Square: then some picky researchers found out that the “brides” were professional participants in advertising shootings.
Here are some other areas of work of Putin’s image-makers, noticed by journalists and analysts:
- In the photos one tries to select extras for Putin no taller than himself (170 cm) to make him look powerful against their background;
- Manipulating sociology, intending, among other things, “to convince people who do not agree with the authorities that they are negligibly few” (L. Shlosberg), claims that Putin has more than 80% of the support of the Russian society;
- The conclusions like the one made by Makar Vkhliantsev, leader of the Russian pro-Putin Project “Network”, pour water on the same mill: “Russia in recent years has created only one person who is famous all over the world”, namely Vladimir Putin; “Unfor-tunately, we don’t have such famous and authoritative people in music, film production, art or poetry”.
- A matter of great importance is the creation and promotion of Putin’s myth in a planetary scale, which could not have been fully realized without active participation of Western media. The grandiloquent labels play their role, like “the most powerful man in the world” used by Fareed Zakaria, CNN or Forbes (four years in a row), “the most influential man in the world” (David Brooks, New York Times), spreading rumors about Putin’s wealth (“Is Vladimir Putin secretly the richest man in the world?”, Time) etc. It can be argued that the demonization of Putin in Western media is another support to the image created for him in the well-controled Russian media space.
Putin’s former political technologist Gleb Pavlovsky on the air of Echo Moskwy quite clearly articulates the interdependence between Putin’s legitimacy and his sport, fishing and all other achievements: “Some people say «the charisma of Putin, the legitimacy of Putin». That’s not the number of votes for him, but the fact that he is a sportsman. That is, at the level of the unconscious, the population perceives him as a champion. Why is he in the Kremlin? Because he showed the best results”. A similar opinion has been voiced on Radio Liberty by Russian political scientist Andrey Okara:
“If Putin is not in a good shape, if he does not have good physical data, then his legitimacy, his charisma will crack up, and along with it the whole system of legitimization of power in Russia will crack up, and along with it there will be a crisis of the Russian political system”.
“IF THERE IS PUTIN, THERE IS RUSSIA,
IF THERE IS NO PUTIN, THERE IS NO RUSSIA”
A remarkable phenomenon of the Russian media system is the simulation of Putin’s activity in the information space in case of his physical absence.
There were precedents when Putin was forced, for one reason or another, not to appear in public for a week or more (vacation, illness, plastic surgery and the like). In such cases, the Russian mass media have simulated his public activity, launching “canned food” (previously recorded scenes) in the guise of news about activities of the president. The use of Putin’s simulacra shows the incredible importance of this character for the Russian television composition.
For example, when in August 2017 the Russian president, according to some information, went on vacation, the official media continued to imitate his activities, filling the information vacuum with records of meetings with officials he had held earlier. As expert Mikhail Rubin on the air of TV Dozhd has explained, “the president, in the eyes of the Russians, can not be sick and can not be on a holiday”. This is another stroke to the image of Putin as a superpresident with superhuman abilities.
If Putin does not appear on the screens for several days, it becomes a news opportunity. Here are some typical headlines on this topic from 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018: “Media: since August 9, Putin does not appear in public” (RealnoeVremya); “Putin and his «canned food»: the president holds meetings with officials, and publications about it appear weeks later” (Open Russia); “Vladimir Putin from the end of last week did not appear in public” (Newsland); “«He has again disappeared». The Internet reacted to Putin’s disappearance” (Medialeaks); “Putin does not show up in public” (The New Times).
“DIRECT LINE WITH VLADIMIR PUTIN”
One of the most important television rites in Russian media life is the so-called “Direct line with Vladimir Putin”, broadcasted by several important TV channels and radio stations. Within the framework of this program, the President of the Russian Federation for 3-5 hours responds to citizens’ questions which arrive via various means of communication.
Altogether, there were 16 broadcasts during Putin’s stay in power. The questions are on a variety of topics, but in all spheres the president is competent, educated, masterfully operates with economic data, historical facts, current situation in the regions of the country. One can recognize Putin’s skills, knowledge and competencies, but the excessive perfection of his image, persistent attempts to present him as an omniscient father of the nation, convinces many observers that the “Direct line” is just a staged show. Their suspicions are confirmed by the testimonies of eyewitnesses of the program’s “internal kitchen”.
Often the participants of the “Direct Line”, who speak on behalf of the people, express their approval and admiration for the president’s actions. Sometimes they ask personal favours or complain (for example, about officials). The range of questions, requests and thanks is the widest possible: the benefits for large families, the preservation of children’s playgrounds from building-constructions, the vicissitudes of international politics, the closure of hospitals and the poor quality of medicine, the personal life of the president and so on. Children ask for a children’s playground and Putin promises to build it; people from different parts of the Russian Federation complain about officials and governors, and the president is outraged by their actions (he supposedly didn’t know about), castigates them on the air (in the “Direct Line” 2018 there was such an opportunity) and gives instructions to solve people’s problems. Thus, for all shortcomings, omissions and troubles, the responsibility falls on others, while all successes are credited to president Putin.
A typical request of this kind is the one, which the host of the program considered expedient to announce on the air of the “Direct Line” of 2015: «Dear Vladimir Vladimirovich. I have no question for you, but a huge request. My friend’s birthday is April 25th. She turns 40 years old. She really wants a dog as a gift. We, her friends, are ready even to pay for this dog. But the husband is against it. He is a retired colonel, an iron man, like all our valiant military men. But he can’t refuse to the Supreme Commander-in-Chief. Please. Just tell him: “Boris, you’re wrong. Allow your wife the dog”. We have already tried everything. Dreams should come true: – Thank you. Sincerely, Elena. This is «our dog»”.
In this and in other cases Putin shows interest, promises to help, come to know particulars of a problem and to solve it. Such relationship with citizens in the media field give the Russian president royal splendor, even the aura of a miracle-worker, transferring him from the status of elected manager to the status of monarch, in whose competence are all the spheres of life of his subjects, a benefactor, who makes gifts to children, dismisses corrupt officials and conducts the life of the country in a manual mode. Russian journalist Maxim Shevchenko compares Putin’s activities on the “Direct Line” with the court of King Solomon, who settled disputes between his subjects, going into details of their problems.
- Thelegitimationof absolute authority of a leader by means of granting him superhuman abilities is an old PR strategy. Examples of its application we see in the most ancient history of mankind. The Egyptian pharaohs disseminated the myth of their divine origin and gave out their stay on the throne for the will of the gods. The charismatic leaders of subsequent epochs moved away from literalism in the propaganda of their divinity and confined themselves to the image of a fully rounded charismatic leader, who leads the country, since he is better in every respect than each of his nationals (from Napoleon I to the totalitarian leaders of the interwar period). Putin’s image-makers are followers of these obsolete models.
- Putin’smedia image is a complex mythological phenomenon, whose creators successfully exploit the archetype of tsar, a very important one for the Russian collective unconscious. Russian media consistently, year after year, gave Putin a gloss of omnipotence, omnipresence and success. The myth of the infallible president is supported by the fact that responsibility for all mistakes, defeats and shortcomings of Russian government are explained by imperfection of ministers, deputies, governors, petty officials, while Putin collects laurels and is exclusively associated with the positives of Russian reality. In recent years, the image of Putin has also been reinforced by Western media, which tend to exaggerate the capabilities and influence of the Russian president.
- Based on thePutinmyth and associated with it awkward PR actions, one can conclude that the quality of Russian propaganda is poor, archaic and backward in comparison with Western competitors. Despite the image of the information threat, Russia, with its methodology and philosophy of propaganda, is not very different from Mark Antony, who, fishing, wanted to impress Cleopatra and ordered some fishermen to sink under water and secretly put the fish on his hook.
- “Pharaoh, Egyptian king”, Encyclopædia Britannica, goo.gl/eiF4d8
- Budge, E. A. Wallis, An introduction to ancient Egyptian literature, Mineola-New York: Dover Publications, Inc, 1997, 304 p.
- Nielsen Nicky, Cereal cultivation and nomad-sedentary interactions at the Late Bronze Age settlement of Zawiyet Umm el-Rakham, Antiquity, vol. 91, Issue 360, December 2017, p. 1561-1573.
- Cassero Riccardo, Le veline del duce. Come il fascismo controllava la stampa, Sperling&Kupfer Editori, 2004, p. 28-37.
- Corrado Alvaro, Mussolini tra i pionieri, [in:] Autobiografia del fascismo. Antologia di testi fascisti 1919-1945, Torino: Einaudi, 2001, p. 347-348.
- Mascheroni Luigi, Il culto del Duce Quando Benito era una divinità, Il Giornale, 29 maggio 2016, goo.gl/SRYWHd
- Mussolini dal mito alla morte, goo.gl/FLi7eK
- Olla Roberto, Dux. Una biografia sessuale di Mussolini, Milano: Rizzoli, 2011.
- Путин в Сочи зашел в клетку к детенышу леопарда и погладил его, Аргументы и факты, 4 февраля 2014, goo.gl/tbhFqm
- Путин на дне: президент погрузился в Черное море в батискафе, РБК, 18 августа 2015, goo.gl/Raa6b9
- Путин забросил шесть шайб во время гала-матча Ночной хоккейной лиги, Эхо Москвы, 11 мая 2017, goo.gl/aRS1vF
- Путин рассказал, что занимается дзюдо каждый день, Аргументы и факты, 14 июня 2017, goo.gl/M44H48
- Путин поставил белых журавлей на крыло, Комсомольская правда, 6 сентября 2012, goo.gl/fiykEe
- Путин протестировал болид “Формулы-1”: максимальная скорость – 240 км/ч, Regnum, 8 ноября 2010, goo.gl/jcqmea
- Путин поймал на спиннинг 21-килограммовую щуку. Видео, НТВ, 26 июля 2013, goo.gl/mzqxKT
- Сидорчик Андрей, ВВП у микрофона. Песни, которые публично исполнил Владимир Путин, Аргументы и факты, 25 января 2017, goo.gl/QvrBfN
- Путин сыграл на рояле перед встречей с Си Цзиньпином, НТВ, 14 мая 2017, goo.gl/3ZbrcX
- Песков признал постановкой археологические находки Путина, Lenta.ru, 5 октября 2011, goo.gl/uTtGCP
- Обухов Алексей, «Невесты», с которыми фотографировался Путин, оказались подставными моделями, Московский комсомолец, 14 сентября 2016, goo.gl/K7K3gD
- “Порода – низькоросла ватнозалежна”: у мережі висміяли фото Путіна з жінками, УНІАН, 9 березня 2018, goo.gl/mBxsyF
- Шлосберг Лев, Завесы общественного мнения, Псковская губернія online, 1 марта 2018, goo.gl/dbMUon
- Silencing Dissent in Russia: Putin’s Propaganda Machine (Full Length), April 29, 2015, goo.gl/8oy3Bf
- Zakaria Fareed, Why Putin is world’s most powerful man, CNN, March 22, 2018, goo.gl/WzMRUA
- Ewalt David M., The World’s Most Powerful People 2018, Forbes, May 31, 2018, goo.gl/Mfm1Eb
- Brooks David, Vladimir Putin, the Most Influential Man in the World, New York Times, April 2, 2018, goo.gl/tcwxHB
- Wile Rob, Is Vladimir Putin Secretly the Richest Man in the World?, Time, January 23, 2017, goo.gl/KaxNL5
- Нарышкин Алексей, Особое мнение. Глеб Павловский, Эхо Москвы, 01 августа 2018, goo.gl/mQqZEg
- Рыковцева Елена, “Прямая линия Путина – спектакль для самых неумных”, Радио Свобода, 7 июня 2018, goo.gl/Pmi15D
- Лобков Павел, «Президент в глазах россиян не может болеть или отдыхать»: почему Путин ушел в секретный отпуск?, Дождь, 15 августа 2017, goo.gl/cnLn8U
- Ясько Кирилл, “Кривая” линия – взгляд изнутри, Sakhalin.info, 15 апреля 2016, goo.gl/RMYs7M
- Брызгалин Кирилл, Борис, разреши жене собаку!, Комсомольская правда, 17 апреля 2015.
- Наки Майкл, Особое мнение. Максим Шевченко, Эхо Москвы, 7 июня 2018, goo.gl/Jq6LWf
* PhD in social communication, associate professor of the Department of Foreign Press and Information, the Ivan Franko National University of Lviv, Ukraine
 Pharaoh, Egyptian king, Encyclopædia Britannica, goo.gl/eiF4d8
 Budge, E. A. Wallis, An introduction to ancient Egyptian literature, Mineola–New York: Dover Publications, Inc, 1997, 304 p.
 See: Nielsen Nicky, Cereal cultivation and nomad-sedentary interactions at the Late Bronze Age settlement of Zawiyet Umm el-Rakham, Antiquity, vol. 91, Issue 360, December 2017, p. 1561–1573.
 Cassero Riccardo, Le veline del duce. Come il fascismo controllava la stampa, Sperling&Kupfer Editori, 2004, p. 28–37.
 Цит. за: Corrado Alvaro, Mussolini tra i pionieri, [in:] Autobiografia del fascismo. Antologia di testi fascisti 1919–1945, Torino: Einaudi, 2001, p. 347–348.
 See: Mascheroni Luigi, Il culto del Duce Quando Benito era una divinità, Il Giornale, 29 maggio 2016, goo.gl/SRYWHd
 Quoted from: Mussolini dal mito alla morte, goo.gl/FLi7eK
 See: Olla Roberto, Dux. Una biografia sessuale di Mussolini, Milano: Rizzoli, 2011.
 Путин в Сочи зашел в клетку к детенышу леопарда и погладил его, Аргументы и факты, 4 февраля 2014, goo.gl/tbhFqm
 Путин на дне: президент погрузился в Черное море в батискафе, РБК, 18 августа 2015, goo.gl/Raa6b9
 Путин забросил шесть шайб во время гала-матча Ночной хоккейной лиги, Эхо Москвы, 11 мая 2017, goo.gl/aRS1vF
 Путин рассказал, что занимается дзюдо каждый день, Аргументы и факты, 14 июня 2017, goo.gl/M44H48
 Путин поставил белых журавлей на крыло, Комсомольская правда, 6 сентября 2012, goo.gl/fiykEe
 Путин протестировал болид “Формулы-1”: максимальная скорость – 240 км/ч, Regnum, 8 ноября 2010, goo.gl/jcqmea
 Путин поймал на спиннинг 21-килограммовую щуку. Видео, НТВ, 26 июля 2013, goo.gl/mzqxKT
 Сидорчик Андрей, ВВП у микрофона. Песни, которые публично исполнил Владимир Путин, Аргументы и факты, 25 января 2017, goo.gl/QvrBfN
 Путин сыграл на рояле перед встречей с Си Цзиньпином, НТВ, 14 мая 2017, goo.gl/3ZbrcX
 Песков признал постановкой археологические находки Путина, Lenta.ru, 5 октября 2011, goo.gl/uTtGCP
 Обухов Алексей, «Невесты», с которыми фотографировался Путин, оказались подставными моделями, Московский комсомолец, 14 сентября 2016, goo.gl/K7K3gD
 “Порода – низькоросла ватнозалежна”: у мережі висміяли фото Путіна з жінками, УНІАН, 9 березня 2018, goo.gl/mBxsyF
 Шлосберг Лев, Завесы общественного мнения, Псковская губернія online, 1 марта 2018, goo.gl/dbMUon
 Silencing Dissent in Russia: Putin’s Propaganda Machine (Full Length), April 29, 2015, goo.gl/8oy3Bf
 Zakaria Fareed, Why Putin is world’s most powerful man, CNN, March 22, 2018, goo.gl/WzMRUA
 Ewalt David M., The World’s Most Powerful People 2018, Forbes, May 31, 2018, goo.gl/Mfm1Eb
 Brooks David, Vladimir Putin, the Most Influential Man in the World, New York Times, April 2, 2018, goo.gl/tcwxHB
 Wile Rob, Is Vladimir Putin Secretly the Richest Man in the World?, Time, January 23, 2017, goo.gl/KaxNL5
 Нарышкин Алексей, Особое мнение. Глеб Павловский, Эхо Москвы, 01 августа 2018, goo.gl/mQqZEg
 Рыковцева Елена, “Прямая линия Путина – спектакль для самых неумных”, Радио Свобода, 7 июня 2018, goo.gl/Pmi15D
 Лобков Павел, «Президент в глазах россиян не может болеть или отдыхать»: почему Путин ушел в секретный отпуск?, Дождь, 15 августа 2017, goo.gl/cnLn8U
 See for example an investigation about the live broadcast from the village of Ozersk, (Korsakovsky district, Sakhalin region) within the framework of the “Direct line”. The author of the investigation, Kirill Yasko, witnessed how “the journalists of the TV and radio company were looking for some heroes, how they helped them formulate questions and taught them to cope with nervousness in front of a camera …”, how “each of them was checked for several days, literally prepared for the main broadcast”. ЯськоКирилл, “Кривая” линия – взгляд изнутри, Sakhalin.info, 15 апреля 2016, goo.gl/RMYs7M
 Брызгалин Кирилл, Борис, разреши жене собаку!, Комсомольская правда, 17 апреля 2015.
 See: Наки Майкл, Особое мнение. Максим Шевченко, Эхо Москвы, 7 июня 2018, goo.gl/Jq6LWf