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.
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Filed Under: american culture, culture, mind control, movies, russia, tv, vladimir medinsky
Companies: netflix


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  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 27 Jun 2016 @ 11:53am

    Netflix the villain? Where do I sign to the Dark side of the Force? O wait, I'm already there.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Jun 2016 @ 11:59am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Jun 2016 @ 12:01pm

    Last night I watched a show on Netflix and it told me that everything that Russian officials say is a lie. Therefore I will ignore anything that comes from the mouth of the Russian Minister of Culture.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    James Jones (profile), 27 Jun 2016 @ 12:10pm

    Russia and streaming content servers

    Why am I reminded of Canadian Content laws?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 27 Jun 2016 @ 12:17pm

    The first thing...

    If Netflix is funded by the CIA, it's the first thing I find worthwhile that they've done.

    I would like to see them increase their streaming propaganda content however.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    mcinsand, 27 Jun 2016 @ 12:25pm

    the culture minister could have a point

    I've watched enough of House of Cards to think that it is an overly sunny and optimistic presentation of how our government works. Maybe Netflix is a US propaganda operation.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      bob, 27 Jun 2016 @ 1:06pm

      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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        JMT (profile), 27 Jun 2016 @ 5:16pm

        Re: Re: the culture minister could have a point

        Except Netflix didn't "creep" into my television, I invited them in willingly. And into my computer, iPad and phone. Because that's what I decided I wanted. The implied insidiousness falls a little flat when you remember that.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          bob, 27 Jun 2016 @ 9:46pm

          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. :)

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jack Warden, 27 Jun 2016 @ 12:40pm

    I think this Russian minister might be right. Despite the high pay and other incentives I provide my mostly-male employees, lately many of them have been shunning work in favor of watching women in prison beat each other up.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    DB (profile), 27 Jun 2016 @ 12:49pm

    I'm pretty sure that Netflix does engage in mind control.

    Because I think of them in a very positive way. They charge a tiny fraction what I pay my effectively-a-monopoly cable ISP, yet deliver a big chunk of the value I get from the Internet.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Jun 2016 @ 1:13pm

    Interestingly...

    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!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    New Mexico Mark, 27 Jun 2016 @ 1:55pm

    Phhhhpt... mind control

    They are so full of crap about Netflix and mind co.... Oops, gotta go home and binge watch season 3 of Agents of S.H.I.E.LD. TTFN

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Jun 2016 @ 2:05pm

    Yeah like Putin isn't involved in mindcontrol, passing laws designed to convince people he isn't gay.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Mark Wing, 27 Jun 2016 @ 3:21pm

    In Russia, Netflix streams you.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Jun 2016 @ 6:56pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Jun 2016 @ 8:18pm

    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.

    tl:dr
    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Jun 2016 @ 8:57pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    techflaws (profile), 27 Jun 2016 @ 9:52pm

    "These aren't the droids you're looking for"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Jun 2016 @ 1:52am

    Things aren't looking good for "Orange is the New Red" then?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Jun 2016 @ 4:58am

    Remember kids - shiny side out!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Jun 2016 @ 10:07am

    sad part is people in the USA have commented on missing things on netflix , my guess is he is right its just another propaganda stream

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Bob Dobson, 2 Jan 2017 @ 7:48pm

    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

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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