Russian Culture Minister Claims Netflix A U.S. Mind Control Effort

from the glass-house-propagandists dept

Already on the shitlist of U.S. broadband companies for supporting net neutrality and opposing things like usage caps, Netflix now has a new factually-challenged enemy: Russia. Russia’s Culture Ministry took over government film funding through the Cinema Fund in 2012, and more recently unveiled a list of approved subject matter should film makers in Russia wish to get funding. Approved subject matter should include tales that herald “traditional values,” “the constructive actions of civil society” or “heroes fighting crime, terrorism and extremism.”

With Netflix now pushing into 190 different countries and launching in Russia last January, Russia has clearly become nervous about the influence the US streaming company could have on Russian culture and homegrown production efforts. As such, streaming services like Netflix have been saddled with a significant number of restrictions, including requirements that online video services must be run through a Russia-registered subsidiary, produce 30% of its content locally, and potentially apply for a broadcast license.

Apparently believing these restrictions won’t hamper Netflix fully enough, Russian Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky last week upped the rhetoric to 11, proclaiming that Netflix was little more than a US government attempt to control the minds of Russian citizens:

“Vladimir Medinsky, Russia’s minister of culture and a loyal supporter of President Vladimir Putin, claims the online streaming service is on the US government payroll. Speaking to a Russian news service, he said the White House had realised “how to enter every home, creep into every television, and through that television, into the head of every person on earth, with the help of Netflix.”

“It turns out that our ideological friends [the US government] understand perfectly well which is the greatest of the arts,” he said, alluding Lenin’s famous comment about the propaganda of cinema. “And you thought, what? That all these gigantic start-ups appear by themselves? That some boy student thought something up and billions of dollars flutter from above?”

Scary! Nobody denies that both countries have used oceans of disinformation and media propaganda to portray the other side in a negative light, but suggesting Netflix has much of a motivation beyond money is an entertaining leap. Medinsky’s complaint is particularly amusing given that Russia was just exposed for running disinformation factories twenty-four hours a day whose sole function is to fill the internet with anti-Western bile. But regardless of which side is generating the propaganda; if your social values are so fragile they can be unraveled by a half-hour sitcom or a documentary, you may want to reconsider your ethos.

That said, the real villain in this latest chapter in the information wars isn’t Netflix, but Netflix-produced shows and other fare that dare to show homosexuals as something vaguely resembling actual human beings.

Filed Under: , , , , , ,
Companies: netflix

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Russian Culture Minister Claims Netflix A U.S. Mind Control Effort”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Anonymous Coward says:

It’s an interesting conspiracy theory, but Reed Hastings was a software engineer with a masters in computer science. He was the CEO of a software company before founding Netflix and he funded Netflix with a chunk of money he’d gotten from a merger.

I used to work for Netflix years ago. The only mind control going on there at the time was the reinforcement of the false idea that a large, successful company could still act like a start up and treat employees as disposable.

bob says:

Re: the culture minister could have a point

He did at least present a little truth in his statement.

how to enter every home, creep into every television, and through that television, into the head of every person on earth

TV, internet, radio, books, etc., all reach us at home. What is consumed in the home will cause an influence on the way people think and feel. The influence might be so small it barely registers on the subconscious or so large that it is life-altering, but the influence is there. The results of the influence are not always predicable.

Governments, people in positions of power, and corporations all know that truth and so they try to manipulate the conversations that people have by controlling media.

A perfect example is the previous article today about Google and facebook censoring extremism. The videos about radical Islam will influence people that watch it. However the government can’t control how people perceive the content.
The conclusions people reach after watching the video could be that radical Islam and the actions it’s followers are doing is evil, good, necessary, stupid, unforgivable, waste of time or attention, etc. (I think the extremists are evil people, but that is just my opinion) The government knows how stuff can influence so they try to hide the “bad” speech. But that just causes the Streisand effect to occur. So in the end trying to contol the media in that way may not be very effective.

Another example is advertising. People see ads all the time. Sometimes the ad does influence people to buy a product or it turns someone off of a product. For the other people that think it doesn’t influence you. You are wrong it did influence you. It took time and attention away from other potentially important things. Or it blocked some ad space from showing a better product. At the very least it is inside your head and could help influence a decision later on in life.

I guess the TL:DR version is everything we experience in life has some degree of influence on us. So governments (lobbyists, etc.) try to control the narrative. However the conclusions from the influence each individual person generates from their experience is not always predicable. The desired results by those controlling the narrative are not always achieved.

bob says:

Re: Re: Re: the culture minister could have a point

True, I don’t think Netflix is doing anything nefarious at least with respect to this article and situation.

My point was media in general not specifically Netflix. Though sometimes distributors will influence what is offered to sway public opinion.

It is possible the content creators might sometimes have a nefarious agenda when they film something in a certain light.

But alas, time to go play a movie on Netflix. 🙂

Anonymous Coward says:


The dood is not wrong. However, it needs to be noted that pretty much everyone else is as well. How about we instead focus on where Mr Culture minister is calling the kettle black.

Wait a second… name me ANY government “Cultural” agency that is not busy doing every thing they can get by with trying to twist, spin, pontificate, gyrate, or just brain wash others regarding their culture?

EVERYONE wants their good shit prominently displayed and their skeletons locked TIGHTLY in the closet!

Anonymous Coward says:

This brings to mind Boris Yeltsin becoming disillusioned with communism when he saw just how well stocked a random podunk grocery store was.
Hate to break it to this guy, but yes, if you have a good idea then the investment will come rolling in, regardless of age or track record.
The fact their culture minister thinks that’s just fantasy is alarming for both US and Russian culture.

Anonymous Coward says:

I would love to attack the guy or the new rules but
-Russia-registered subsidiary: pay taxes in Russia
-produce 30% of its content locally: the EU wants the same
-apply for a broadcast license: if the law says that streaming is broadcast then yes they probably need a license

And as for the Minister, he is correct that you can manipulate people with movies and it stands to reason that the US as one of the biggest producer of movies/TV shows does that. Ever seen a US movie or TV show in which the US is portrayed as evil? If so then it was the Gov and the hero(es) who saved everyone was/were American too. So you could make an argument with that.

The only thing that can be attacked here is the “startups out of nothing”. Wiki (too lazy to do real research) says Netflix was founded back in the late 90s which contradicts the out of nothing theory.

So while the guy might seem a bit stupid for his propaganda speech imho it isnt worse than any other propaganda. i.e. Turkey didn’t shoot down a Russian aircraft and Russia made it up, yesterday Turkey said they are sorry for shooting down the aircraft.

As long as people think about what was said and dont just take it as true or false by default I guess we are good.

Anonymous Coward says:

Holy projection Batman!

He is part of the organization dictating permissible subjects for movies and he has the nerve to complain about mind control efforts? I’m not sure if he is trying misdirection or truly believes that Netflix is akin to his own organization and position and thus he has no issues with “mind control efforts” but with the “foreign” part.

Bob Dobson says:

Mind Control

A few years ago I met someone who said that he’d had a job as an audio engineer adding subliminal audio to television commercials for over 20 years. I asked him what type of ‘commands’ he had inserted into the audio. He replied, “Short 2 or 3 word commands.” I asked if it was possible to retrieve the commands after they were inserted. He said, “No, once they are buried in the lower frequencies they are impossible to retrieve with the technology we have available at this time.”

If corporate media has known about and used this type of audio technology for 2 or 3 decades or more, can you imagine how advanced the new methods of subliminal audio programming have become? It would not surprise me if some or all of the new Netflix series/movies/’programming’ (it’s called ‘programming’ for a reason) have subliminal audio content and other types of ‘conditioning.’ Search: MK Ultra – The Monarch Project, a CIA Mind Control program which began in the early 1950s.

“One believes things because one has been conditioned to believe them.” ― Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...