Another Reality: How Russian State TV Is Spinning the War in Ukraine
The collaboration between the Kremlin and state broadcasters goes back more than two decades, said Gatov, a former Russian journalist and state propaganda expert. Every day, the Kremlin provides a list of talking points for broadcasters. The closely guarded document, known as a “temnik”, is given to senior officials of VGTRK and other organizations, outlining the issues the Kremlin wants to cover, positively or negatively, as well as the opinions to endorse and the people to criticize, said Mr. Gatov, who has seen copies.
The Kremlin’s tight control over the media has increased since the invasion of Ukraine, but people’s confidence in what they watch is diminishing as the war drags on and its violent realities become harder to hide, said said Vera Tolz, a professor at the University of Manchester who has studied Russian media for the British Parliament and the European Union. “There are cracks,” she said.
At the beginning of the war, what was not explicitly defined in the Kremlin orders was left to television producers to fill it.
The United States was a frequent target, according to the documents. Every day, emails circulated with long lists of news clips and viral posts that served as a palette to paint a clouded picture of the United States.
In early February, weeks before the invasion of Ukraine, producers flagged a clip of President Biden refusing to answer questions about sending troops to Poland, reinforcing the idea that America was eager to fight. . A New York Times article on Ukraine’s aggressive information war against Russia has also been rehashed as evidence of the country’s dishonesty. Another, taken from Britain’s Daily Mail, showed Mr Biden picking his teeth.
As the war dragged on, producers sought out US spinoff clips. One was from a local news program in northern Alabama about stickers placed on gas pumps that showed Mr. Biden saying, “I did that.” Another video, showing an American grocery store being emptied of food, comes from a viral Telegram post. This seemed to inspire a show soon after called “Oil Shock and Empty Shelves: Trump’s Dark Prophecy Come True.”
In March, Denis Davydov, a VGTRK reporter in Washington, pointed to a popular seven-year-old YouTube post that claimed the US and NATO had fueled Russia’s hostility to Ukraine. .