Russia thinks the US government is using Netflix to get into its people's heads

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You might joke that Netflix is taking over the world, but to Russian Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky, it is no joke.

In an interview with news service The Rambler, translated by The Moscow Times, Medinsky suggested that the US government is funneling money to exert American power across the globe.

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"The White House fully understands that through Netflix, they can get into every home, every television and then — into every head, Medinsky said," according to The Moscow Times. "Do you think that these gigantic startups get going all by themselves? That if a student is sitting there with an idea that billions of dollars come raining down?"

The idea of using "soft power," and specifically American culture, to further the American political agenda is not a new one. But Medinsky seems to also fundamentally not believe that the Silicon Valley system of venture capital could exist.

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400303 03: Ready-to-be-shipped DVDs roll down an assembly line January 29, 2002 in San Jose, CA. The online DVD rental site Netflix.com has 500,000 subscribers who can rent, receive and return unlimited discs per month by mail. (Photo By Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
400303 01: Netflix.com Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastings holds a ready-to-be-shipped DVD January 29, 2002 in San Jose, CA. The online DVD rental site has 500,000 subscribers who can rent, receive and return unlimited discs per month by mail. (Photo By Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
400303 05: Packages of DVDs await shipment at the Netflix.com headquarters January 29, 2002 in San Jose, CA. The online DVD rental site has 500,000 subscribers who can rent, receive and return unlimited discs per month by mail. (Photo By Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings gives a keynote address, January 6, 2016 at the CES 2016 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK / AFP / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
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That said, if the goal of Netflix is to exert control over Russian minds, it might not be doing a particularly good job. Netflix launched in Russia in January, and research from UBS in April suggested that interest in the service might be lackluster.

Here is a look at how downloads for Netflix's app fell off after its Russia launch:

screen shot 2016 04 05 at 11.31.27 amWikimedia Commons

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