Reflections and Conclusions on Media Coverage of Vladimir Putin

Two months ago, I began reading newspaper articles about Vladimir Putin and taking haphazard notes. I wanted to see how he was portrayed by American news media over the years, and I had a hypothesis. I already knew the events of his reign pretty well, and that they were, from the beginning, frequently authoritarian or cruel. I assumed, though, that we could see this fact in hindsight but that it would not have been so clear at the time. I thought that in 1999, there would have been some hope, that this refreshing new face would have seemed a possibly beneficial change. Over time, I believed, that perception would shift, on a gradual downhill trajectory.

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Third Term: Media Coverage of Putin May 2012-May 2016

On May 7, 2012, Vladimir Putin became the president of Russia—again. After a four year stint as Prime Minister, he was back in the Kremlin. If you’ve been reading these posts, then you know the drill: I’m going to lay out a timeline of the most significant events in news media coverage of these four years, and then I’m going to tackle the prevalent themes I noticed.

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Putin the Prime Minister: Media Coverage of Putin May 2008-May 2012

Dmitry Medvedev's 2008 inauguration, with Putin standing on his right. Image via New York Times.

Dmitry Medvedev’s 2008 inauguration, with Putin standing on his right. Image via New York Times.

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Second Term: Media Coverage of Putin May 2004-May 2008

In general, I consider myself an optimist; spending my summer delving deep into the events of Vladimir Putin’s Russia, however, is hardly conducive to such a world view. In this blog post, I’m going to present what I saw as the most crucial events, in terms of American media coverage, of Putin’s second term. Then, I’ll outline the broader trends I saw from 2004 to 2008. Again, this will be a bit lengthy. In the interest of some brevity, I won’t go into too much detail about the events I discuss. I think of this project more like calculus than algebra: I’m not making a graph, I’m describing the trend of the graph. And this graph begins in May 2004, when Vladimir Putin was sworn in for his second term.

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