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Article

How State-Controlled Media Can Set the Agenda on the Internet: Coverage of Three Tragedies on Different Types of Russian Media

December 19, 2016, witnessed three tragedies that could not go unnoticed by the Russian media: dozens of people died as a result of a surrogate alcohol poisoning in Irkutsk, a Russian ambassador was killed in Turkey, and a terrorist attack took place at the Christmas market in Berlin. In this article, we use the network agenda-setting theory to analyze how these tragedies were covered by different types of mass media. We show that ties between the tragedy and a network of other acute issues are more important than objective circumstances, such as the number of victims or the geography of the event. The context in which the events were examined led to greater attention to the killing of the ambassador and less attention to the surrogate alcohol poisoning. We believe that the state can exercise indirect control over the agenda by creating a network of events that will correctly guide discussions about tragedies.