Critical thinking is one of the most important features for a person in the modern society. Due to the development of propaganda techniques, it is necessary to differentiate the facts from the bias and the needs of mass media to show the situation from a particular perspective. For this paper, I have chosen an event that took place in Ukraine last week and the discussion of the occurrence from the point of view of Ukraine, the Russian Federation, the United States, and Georgia. The four articles describe the resignation of Mikheil Saakashvili from his post of Odessa oblast governor. All of them contain different opinions on the situation due to the bias that exists in the society and the hidden agenda of the local authorities.
Mikheil Saakashvili is a Ukrainian local government official, in the past—President of Georgia. He used to be a popular politician in Georgia, but then, due to the loss of his political party, Saakashvili left Georgia and took Ukrainian citizenship. The Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko suggested Mikheil Saakashvili take the post of the governor of Odessa oblast. After becoming President, Poroshenko tended to invite foreign experts to work in the Ukrainian government. Those appointments aimed to reform the corrupted governmental structures in the country. The local population optimistically perceived the election of the politician, who proclaimed zero tolerance to corruption, promised to transform the regional beaches from private to common-use, and vowed to reform the work of the court system in the oblast. The new governor changed the leaders of the district authorities. For the first time in the region, the officials were elected with the help of an open contest.
In his office, Saakashvili tried to overcome the corruption in the region. At the same time, the activity taken by the former Prime Minister Arseniy Yastenyuk and the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov did not allow Saakashvili to access the key instruments for the reforms. The activity of the Ministers during the National Reform Council showed the lack of respect of the politicians towards foreign representatives. At one of the meetings, Avakov poured water on Saakashvili and insulted him. It means that the two ministers inhibited the reforms of Saakashvili in Odessa oblast. Also, there were other violations that did not allow the governor to carry out the planned actions. Due to this fact, in November 2016, Saakashvili stated that he resigned the office.
The resignation of Saakashvili caused different reactions in various countries. In Ukraine, the newspapers stated that the resignation had been planned by the Ukrainian official since August this year due to the inability of Saakashvili to cope with the tasks that were outlined. The Ukrainian press states that on his post of governor, he was connected with numerous conflicts and scandals. According to the Ukrainian press, Saakashvili had clashes with all the representatives of the Ukrainian government except the President. However, in his resignation speech, Saakashvili accused the President of the support of two clans in Odessa and proclaimed inability to struggle with the corruption in the country in such conditions (Sukhov, 2016).
Due to this approach to the event, it is possible to state that the Ukrainian mass media support the President of Ukraine and his activity. Due to this fact, Saakashvili is shown from the negative side as a conflictual person who tries to accuse everyone around him of the incorrect behavior and does not pay attention to personal failures. Also, the paper states that Saakashvili battled not only with the rivals but also with people who had earlier supported him (Sukhov, 2016).
One of such facts mentioned by the Ukrainian press was the statement that Saakashvili also was in conflict with the Ukrainian oligarch Kolomoisky. Saakashvili stated the Kolomoisky had the monopoly control overthe flights in Ukraine due to the ownership of the Ukraine International Airlines company. This company inhibits the presence of low-cost companies on the Ukrainian market and setsthe pricing. At the same time, Kolomoisky stated that he financed the elections of Saakashvili in Georgia. Thus, according toUkrainian mass media, it meant that at first the governor did not care about the origin of the money he took, and thenhe suddenly changed the opinion.
One more important issue mentioned in the paper is that the Ukrainian experts consider that the resignation of Saakashvili is connected with his orientation towards a personal political career in Ukraine. They think that Saakashvili has decided to participate in the parliamentary elections with his own political party. The recent activity of Saakashvili means his readiness to begin the preparation for the possible elections in March 2017. Due to this fact, it is evident that the Ukrainian mass media considers Saakashvili to be a potential rival of Poroshenko in further elections and tries to do best to demonstrate all of Saakashvili’s failures (Sukhov, 2016).
The Russian press views the resignation of Saakashvili as a sign of failed reforms in Ukraine. The Russian mass media are concentrated on neglecting the success of the Ukrainian government that does not support the policy of the Russian Federation. Due to this fact, in the situation of Saakashvili’s resignation, the Russian press states that the main reason for it was the inability of the Ukrainian politicians to overcome corruption (Peleschuk, 2016).
The article states that at first, the Georgian team was promised the freedom of activity in the reforms. It was expected that the experienced professionals invited to Ukraine would apply efforts to carry out the reforms using the expertise gained in their country after the Rose Revolution. However, according to the article, the influence of the corrupt Ukrainians was higher than expected, and the foreign experts had to leave their offices (Peleschuk, 2016).
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The article accents the fact that when announcing the resignation, Saakashvili promised to begin a new phase of struggle. Most likely, it meant the creation of a new party. One of the main statements of the paper is that Saakashvili was criticizing the President of Ukraine, who had appointed the governor to the post, and compared the latter to the ex-President Viktor Yanukovych (Peleschuk, 2016). The fact that Saakashvili accused Poroshenko of lies and falsifications is convenient for the Russian mass media as it helps prove the failure of the Ukrainian political system.
The Russian press also includes the facts that are not taken into consideration by the Ukrainian media: the resignation of other experts from abroad. The article states that among the first experts from Georgia who left the office was Jaba Ebanoidze, who left the country when he did not receive the promised office in the Ministry of Justice. Then, Kvitashvili announced resignation because of the accusation by the leading party of the failure to perform the healthcare reform. Also, Eka Zguladze left the office in the Ministry of Internal Affairs in May (Peleschuk, 2016). This information is also used for accenting the inability of the Ukrainian government to cope with the corruption in the country.
Due to the fact that Saakashvili does not support the policy of the Russian Federation, the Russian mass media states that the current activity of Saakashvili is directed towards obtaining power in Ukraine (Peleschuk, 2016). The statements of Saakashvili may be supported by the population of Ukraine that is not satisfied with the presidency of Poroshenko and the activity of the current government. These statements are used to strengthen the conflict between Saakashvili and the Ukrainian government.
The press of the United States had a moderate reaction towards the events. It did not give the evaluation of the conflict and only reflected the statements that had taken place due to the event. The article states that the office of Petro Poroshenko accepted the resignation of Saakashvili (Nechepurenko, 2016). At the same time, it informs that other foreign officials were forced to leave the office due to the inability of the representatives to carry out reforms. The American press does not show support to any side of the conflict but mentions the high level of corruption in Ukraine and the need to overcome it.
As for the Georgian press, it does not pay particular attention to the resignation of Mikheil Saakashvili. The article does not give the evaluation of the activity of Saakashvili and provides information about a high level of corruption in Ukraine. As the current Georgian government is opposed to Saakashvili, the Georgian press accents the criminal charges of the ex-President in Georgia. It makes the readers think that the decision of Saakashvili to participate in the political life of Ukraine is most of all motivated by the fear of being brought before the Georgian court. Also, the article mentions the resignation of other Georgian politicians but does not discuss that topic.
Thus, the articles describe the same fact of the resignation of Mikheil Saakashvili, the former President of Georgia, and the governor of Odessa oblast. The important events that take place are the resignation itself and the statements of the officials. However, the articles have a number of divergences. The Ukrainian article tends to accuse Mikheil Saakashvili in the conflict that occurred. At the same time, it mentions the facts of the confrontation that existed in the society, but in the current situation gives preference to the President of Ukraine. The Russian mass media blame the Ukrainian government for the failure of the reforms and states that not only Mikheil Saakashvili was forced to leave office, but it also happened to other Georgian officials that carried out successful reforms after the revolution in their country. Also, because of the unfriendly relations between Russia and the former President, it mentions that Saakashvili decided to participate in the elections. The article is The New York Times is the most unbiased one because it describes the events that are taking place but does not support any side of the conflict. The article by the Georgian mass media does not pay particular attention to the event itself; however, due to the influence of the current government that does not support Saakashvili, it mentions the criminal charges of the politician in Georgia (“Saakashvili Resigns”).
When making news, journalists are often affected by the local authorities and the policy of the country. Due to this fact, the messages often hide parts of the information. It is done with the aim to support the national policy. For example, in the situation of Saakashvili’s resignation, the Ukrainian press does not mention the success of Saakashvili in the office and states that the resignation was planned by the President, and Saakashvili’s public statements were only an excuse for the inability to achieve the success during the reforms. At the same time, the article does not mention other foreign specialists who were forced to leave the country due to corruption. The Russian mass media mainly focuses on the failures of the Ukrainian government to show that the aim of the reforms will not be achieved. The press of the United States mentions the high level of corruption in Ukraine but also expresses hope that these problems will be solved in the future. The Georgian press demonstrates disinterest in the events; however, this indifference masks the purpose of the article, which is to remind the readers about all of the faults of Saakashvili and to ruin the reputation of the possible political rival of the current government.
Owing to the investigation, I realized that the impact of mass media had the power to form the opinion of the society. The process of news making may be influenced by different factors such as the bias in the society, the preferences of the audience, and the strategy of the national governments. For example, the Ukrainian press supports the President’s policy, and the Russian mass media is influenced by the informational war carried out against the other nations. Ethnocentric perspectives or national interests also influence the way in which the information is presented because the Ukrainian, Russian, and Georgian papers tend to present the information from one side while due to the democratic directedness of the United States, the local press tries to investigate all aspects of the event. Thus, onefact that took place in a certain country may be discussed from different points of view by various observers that may or may not be objective in their judgement. A person may not even notice that the information provided reflects only one side of the event and supports a particular member of the conflict. The course work showed that in such situations, it is necessary to compare the data reported by several sources. Only in this case it is possible to receive a reliable image of the event.
The course paper allowed me to understand that the opinion of mass media may differ depending on the country and the bias of the local population. It is necessary to investigate different sources to be able to differentiate the facts from the bias. Only when comparing the information taken from various origins is it possible to figure out the key events and not to be influenced by propaganda.