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This report tests basic assumptions used by Western analysts in interpreting the Soviet media by bringing to bear new information, derived from emigre interviews, about the structure and inner workings of Soviet media and the political mechanisms by which the media are controlled. Section II reviews the mechanism of Party and state control over Soviet media, in which formal censorship in fact plays a secondary role. Section III looks at the crucial role of the chief editor and the editorial processes he presides over. Section IV analyzes types of discussions, debates, and controversies in Soviet media and considers their relationship to institutional, personal, and policy conflict. Appendix A contains a fuller description of the study approach. Appendix B provides a selective review of media-related assumptions in a variety of Western Sovietological writings. Appendix C examines a presumptive "doctored photograph" incident. Appendix D provides a profile of one of the seemingly unorthodox Soviet journals, Literaturnaia Gazeta.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Report series. The report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 1993 that represented the principal publication documenting and transmitting RAND's major research findings and final research.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.