The main topic in the international newspapers this Saturday is consistent: the Wagner Group is advancing on Moscow.
But how is the issue covered in Russia, which is known for its poor press freedom and state-controlled media?
– It’s definitely an information battle, says Russian journalist and expert Amond Trelevecq.
People take it with them
He can refer to the headlines in several major newspapers in Russia, which tell about the situation.
Since Russia’s all-out invasion of Ukraine in February last year, a number of censorship laws have been introduced that prohibit Russian media from reporting on the “special operation,” unless they use official sources, such as the Russian Defense Ministry, Trelevik explains.
– The fact that official sources are now publishing information about what is happening in Rostov and other cities is a green light for reporting on this, also in the state-controlled media, he says.
Russia has closed down a lot of different media outlets over the years, Trelevik says, but has kept the social media Telegram open.
During Dagsavisen’s interview with Trellevik, he checked various Russian channels and said they are overflowing with videos about what’s happening in Rostov, Voronezh, and Moscow.
– Even the president makes a speech in which he talks about the armed struggle, where he says that the situation is difficult in Russia, he explains.
Russia has closed down a lot of different media outlets over the years, Trelevik says, but has kept the social media Telegram open. There, he says, it is overflowing with videos about what is happening in Rosnov, Voronezh and Moscow.
– People understand it, he says, and believes that the war has now brought the common Russian people closer.
The fact that ordinary Russians look out their windows and see the military in their city has major implications for Russian society. The war has returned home. He refers to it in the media.
Chef owns several media
Prigozhin says that, in addition to being the head of the Wagner Group, Putin’s “chef” and successful restaurateur, Prigozhin himself owns several media outlets – as well as dozens of Telegram channels.
– In the most important online newspaper he controls, the key issue is an interview with himself in which he says he is not a traitor, says Trelevik, while reading from an online newspaper.
In addition, since midnight, the Wagner leader has sent eight audio messages and a video interview on his personal Telegram channel, which has 877,000 followers.
At the same time, the Moscow mayor asked citizens to listen only to information from public sources, and there are newspapers that the state body for supervision and control of communications, Roskomnadzor, has given notice that it is possible turn off the Internet in the Moscow region.
– So there is a battle going on between the state media and the media controlled by Prigozhin, Trelevec says, describing the situation as sensational.
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