Russian media are now criticizing the war in Ukraine, but it's not what you think

Russian state media have been authorized by the Kremlin to spin less and report on setbacks in the War in Ukraine, thus attempting to shore up support back home for the war front.

Russian Media are criticizing the War in Ukraine
© Mikhail Svetlov / Contributeur
Russian Media are criticizing the War in Ukraine

For months, Russian state media have reported nothing but battlefield successes in Ukraine, which have led to a growing public doubt about what has been perceived as state propaganda, Bloomberg reports.

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Reporting on retreats and losses without the usual spin

According to Bloomberg, there is a shift in policy, citing insiders who spoke on the basis of anonymity, and who are familiar with the Kremlin’s usual strict message management and positive spin of stories for Russia's best interest.

'Months of reporting nothing but success in Ukraine has unleashed a wave of unusual public criticism of the military’,

Bloomberg also cites Andrey Kartapolov, a former Russian general who now is a parliamentarian and heads the Defense Committee in the Russian Duma, who said publicly on a radio show,

‘we have to stop lying, and ‘our people are not stupid’.

The criticism of Russian State Media does not go as far as questioning the decisions by Vladimir Putin, however, a slight degree of a candid view from the battle-front, has the Kremlin believe it can prop up public support for the war efforts.

Massive losses and humiliating retreats made it difficult to stay on course with the propaganda

The recent decision to change the policy and spin tactics from the Kremlin comes also in the backdrop of recent victories from the Ukrainian side, and additional ones which might follow given the recent trends on the ground.

Russian Media are criticizing the War in Ukraine ablokhin

According to the AP, prominent hosts and pro-Kremlin journalists in general have had an incredibly difficult time, especially during September, to report on the news from the front in Ukraine in a way that is favorable to the Kremlin.
Especially with the surprising success of the Ukrainian counteroffensive which has captured swathes of land back, including territory and settlements that are now part of the recent annexation of land which Moscow claims as its own,AP reports.

The public outcry is generally based on criticism towards the actions of generals and the failures of the military, they are not directed towards the country’s leadership.

For instance, the AP cites,Vladimir Solovyov, Russian host of a prime talk-show on Russia 1, and one of the strongest supporters of the Kremlin, who commented on air the recent capture of the city of Lyman from Ukraine’s army, and which Russia claims as its own now,:

What happened on Saturday, Lyman – it is a serious challenge for us,
We need to pull it together, make unpopular, but necessary decisions and act.

Sources used:

-Bloomberg: ‘Kremlin Lets State Media Tell Some Truths About Putin’s Stalling War’

-AP: ‘Frustration with Ukraine war spills out on Russian state TV’

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