Putin’s Media Cocoon, Spun with German Help
Russian President Vladimir Putin was probably right to leave the G20 Summit early rather than face further humiliation. Back home both his press service and the media have ensured that most Russians learn nothing of the debacle. They hear plenty, however, of a German TV interview that provided exactly the gentle uncritical questions Putin has come to expect.
Anybody reading to the very end of Putin’s statement and
Government-controlled media have either said nothing or provided deliberately blurred information about the summit. LifeNews was as always most obliging with
The summit was enormously humiliating for Putin and in normal circumstances one might sympathise with attempts to soften the blow. The list of reasons why this cannot be the case here is long. It begins with the tanks and Russian military which Russia has been moving into Ukraine over the last weeks. High on the list must also be the success of overt propaganda and warmongering in the Russian media in shaping Russian public opinion.
According to a
Only 12% often read or see information which differs markedly from that on mainstream Russian media; 37% never do, with 43% of those considering them to be anti-Russian propaganda or false, and a further 9% not agreeing with such views and finding them irritating.
59% believe that the Russian media provides an objective image of events in Ukraine, while a further 13% believe that Russia is waging an information war against Ukraine, and that it is justified. Only 11% acknowledged such disinformation and thought it dangerous and harmful.
While the vast majority of Russians either have no access or see no need to refer to alternative information about events in Ukraine, independent media have positively come under attack. The latest of many offensives was against the radio station Ekho Moskvy which received a formal warning over supposed ‘extremism’ in a report on the siege of Donetsk airport.
Given the dearth of truthful information in the Russian media, it is frustrating that the
They should certainly draw their conclusions about the interviewer since in a number of places Putin openly lied. Either Seipel did not himself notice, in which case he had not done his homework for the interview, or he is dissembling and allowing his audience to be misled.
Putin’s attempt to compare the situations in the Crimea and Kosovo has been repeatedly slammed as untenable.
This claim is also left unquestioned although the scope for criticism of the so-called ‘referendum’ and its ‘observers’ from Europe’s most far-right, neo-Nazi and Stalinist parties was enormous.
Instead Seigel changes subjects and after asserting that “Ukraine is split” asks for Putin’s view of the country’s future. Perhaps it was reasonable to assume his audience will draw their own conclusions about Putin’s claimed “fears” of ethnic cleansing in Ukraine, or of the country descending into neo-Nazism. Unfortunately, a large number of totally false assertions are allowed to slip through, such as the claim that the people in Donbas “took to their weapons” after the Kyiv authorities began a wave of arrests in the night.
German media have responded with criticism of the interview and the debate that ensues may prove very useful for Germany. In Russia, however, the interview is yet another occasion for Putin, virtually unimpeded, to present the same distorted arguments and justification for Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. The German interview was an opportunity to get some hard-hitting questions asked. The questions might have been edited in the Russian version on the President’s site or in media reports. They might even have led to the interview being muffled like Putin’s disastrous day at the G20 Summit. Whatever the outcome, it would have been better than the disgrace of the questions not even being asked.