On 17 September 2014 Marek Miil will defence his doctoral thesis "Functioning of the Soviet propaganda system through everyday journalistic practices" in the Council of the Faculty of the Social Sciences and Education.
Professor Halliki Harro-Loit, University of Tartu
Professor Epp Lauk, University of Jyväskylä
Professor emeritus Seppo Zetterberg, University of Jyväskylä
The objective of this discussion was to describe and explain how the Soviet propaganda system used Soviet Estonian journalism in achieving its goals in the special conditions of Estonia's historic-cultural peculiarity. Challenges posed to the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Estonia by Estonia's historic-cultural peculiarities, and the way in which the Party used the press as one means of dealing therewith, confirm that the Soviet propaganda apparatus cannot only be looked at as a mere ideological "brain washing machine", blindly serving the Party. On the contrary, this dissertation provides additional subject matter to demonstrate the extreme complexity, multiplexity and multilayeredness of the Soviet propaganda system. Proceeding from the objective of the dissertation, collection of
analytical material focused on the following three principal research questions: (1) How were journalistic sources used to shape collective memory? (2) Which propagandistic means were employed by the Communist Party of Estonia to reduce the influence of Finnish TV in Estonia? (3) What was the impact of the Communist Party subdivision at ETV on ETV's propaganda activities? Mapping of the manner in which printed media used, in more than
forty years, a particular anniversary to shape the collective memory of the citizens of a Soviet republic provided a unique opportunity to analyze the interconnectivity of socio-political processes that occurred over the decades to daily practices of the Soviet propaganda apparatus and journalism. Study results also provided a new perspective to the history of Estonian journalism, describing and helping comprehend the role of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Estonia in the propaganda war of the Cold War era. Furthermore, the study opened a new take from the point of view of Estonian journalistic history as, for the first time, explanations were sought, by analyzing their activity at the level of the Party subdivision, to the behavior of television reporters that came from a specific historic-cultural background and were connected to the latter environment on a daily basis.