Headlines from Pravda

I was searching the internet, researching a blog post I had in mind about the Duke Business School cheating scandal, when I stumbled onto the online version of the Russian newspaper Pravda (in English). For those who may not remember, it used to be the mouthpiece of the Communist Party.

Here’s a link to the front page. I have to say I was surprised at what I found there. At the time of this writing, the following headlines all appear on the front page:

Sex museums offer a wide variety of quirky exhibits

Attitudes to (sic) adultery vary in many countries of the world

Condoleeza Rice’s sexual worries in the White House

Future technologies may destroy sex

Celebrities who started as cheerleaders

Ten most beautiful Chinese actresses

Sex doll for dogs protects your legs from hump attack

Emergency workers use vaseline to help naked man glued by robbers

Is this what qualifies as news in Russia? Or is this what the Russians think Americans like to read about? If it’s the latter, it worked on me. Forget about Marginal Revolution; my new source of insightful commentary is Pravda.


Pepijn

Well well, that's pretty judgemental now isn't it! Pravda also invests in top notch investigative journalism! Just have a look at this high class scoop about how the upper ventral region of a mammals torso is portrayed in literature and the movies. -> http://english.pravda.ru/society/stories/07-05-2007/91047-breasts_madia-0

(actually that website is utterly unrelated to the original Pravda that was closed down in 1991. The paper mentioned in your Britannica link has a website at http://www.gazeta-pravda.ru/)

frankenduf

I would guess it's the 'westernization' of the media, namely that the media's essence is to sell papers rather than inform civil society

Andrey Terekhov

As correctly pointed out by Pepijn, this site has nothing in common with "Pravda" the Soviet-time newspaper.

By the way, "Pravda" is still being published in Russia, and it is still a communist, or at least, extreme left newspaper.

j.a.s.o.n

"The US Secretary of State released a coarse anti-Russian statement. This is because she is a single woman who has no children[.]"

"“Condoleezza Rice is a very cruel, offended woman who lacks men's attention. She needs to be taken to a company of soldiers and it would be just fine," Russian politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky believes[.]"

As terrible as Miss Rice has been in the Secretary of State role, Yikes!

David Peterson

I believe that since the fall of the USSR Pravda has been given the task of becoming the Russian version of Weekly World News. And criticizing Russia's news for what Pravda reports would be like a Russian going "Those silly Americans really believe that there is a bat boy?"

ajkrik

To inform a civil society . . . huh? Wouldn't it be nice to have an information source that was (relatively) free from spin and sales pressure that provided simple information that you could use in forming your own conclusions about subjects. Perhaps I display my ignorance.
But then Dubner would probably wonder why we'd bother with such "menial" efforts as forming our own opinions when opinions are so "pret a porte".
I suppose Levitt's source just shows we really did "win" the cold war.

zbicyclist

Sex: the real opiate of society.

Give them blondes and their hearts and minds will follow.

ashalynd

Pravda is currently one of the "yellow" newspapers, and there is a lot of BS they publish to survive.

The questions of sex are the ones that interest everybody in Russia who is not a child (the children start self-educating themselves pretty early nowadays too...), and "politically correct" way of putting things down is mildly despised as a demonstration of weakness and self-censorship. Hence the puissant streams of information related to sex in all but the very "serious" news sources down there.

maclure

"I like sex!" - Borat

Pretinieks

In Soviet Union, newspapers were heavily subsidized. 25 years ago, Pravda used to cost 0.03 roubles, a loaf of (also subsidized) white bread - 0.22 roubles, 0.5l of vodka - 4.70 roubles, I guess (I wasn't yet of drinking age then, so I can't remember exactly :) Average net salary in 1982 was kinda like 180 roubles/month according to official stats.
As a result, their readerships were immense. I have no data for the whole SU at hand, but for Latvia with ~2.5 mio population, the total circulation of all newspapers was 1.65 mio. Two biggest dailies had circulations of 230 and 190 thousand, respectively.

That's why their brands are still valuable today, even if one puts a quite different content in.

ashalynd

"Average net salary in 1982 was kinda like 180 roubles/month according to official stats."
I'd say 150 would be closer to reality, or even less. 180 roubles/month was a pretty good salary those days.

Elsa

Oh my goodness, I can relate. One of my TAs for a heavy duty political science course recommended Pravda along with the Economist, Stratfor, etc. as a good publication for students to read regularly!

Pretinieks

There are many other Soviet-era newspaper names still around. Some, like Sovetskiy Sport, might sound pretty pointless now - unless you're used to them.

On a different note, telegraphy quietly died off in most of the world some five years ago but there are dozens of Telegraphs still published... you aren't going to throw out a brand while there's still some goodwill to it.

@ashalynd: maybe 150 - I had to rely on stats for Latvian SSR and my memory, neither of which is representative of the whole SU; but the general point still holds.

frankenduf

lol to David Peterson and the WWN reference- have you seen Men in Black?- best movie reference to the WWN ever!

Raquologist

You can make an IQ map based on Pravda's (and its direct competitors) sales in various Russian regions. In case you need it for some research :)

Partly better stuff (Russian newspapers):

http://www.kommersant.com/

http://google.com/translate?u=http%3A%2F%2Flenta.ru%2F&langpair=ru%7Cen&hl=en&ie=UTF8

http://google.com/translate?u=http%3A%2F%2Fgrani.ru%2F&langpair=ru%7Cen&hl=en&ie=UTF8

And analogue of google news in Russia:
http://google.com/translate?u=http%3A%2F%2Fnews.yandex.ru%2F&langpair=ru%7Cen&hl=en&ie=UTF8

chancey

sex is good; sex sells universally, if governments give people freedom. our president frequently preaches, "let freedom reign." sorry, let sex reign doesn't sound as noble:)

ps, the on-line "people's daily" english version is mostly serious news (very light on entertainment), expressing the official position on various important issues. not much discussion or opposition voices. but the chinese version is almost the exact copy of pravda english. it's strange to see so much "sex news" appear on it. i guess serious news discussions and probings are limited in tightly controlled countries.

ivan

Stephen,

Check out eXile, the english language 'alt newspaper' from Moscow (home of War Nerd). One of Mark Ames regular columns discusses various encounters with Russia prostitutes, going into all manner of detail.

Jason Malloy

The original Pravda shut down. Some of the former writers formed another paper called 'Pravda', which is left wingy and tabloidy, while some of the other writers created an online paper called 'Pravda', which is right-wingy and tabloidy.

ethorad

The article which amused me was "Top 10 dream partners of Maria Sharapova"
http://english.pravda.ru/sports/other/27-04-2007/90546-maria_sharapova_partners-0

Number 3 on the list is President Putin ...

Balancer

You guys should read the "journalist" Timothy Bancroft Hinchey on Pravda. He is insane. Claims he was a Eurovision winner and he saves prostitutes from the streets in his spare time.