Truth in the crosshair

Killed American journalist, blocked media, and Orwell-like reality – Russian efforts to block the objective information

Since the beginning of the occupation of Crimea back in 2014, the Russian government made several steps to block objective information for its citizens. All Ukrainian media and websites as well as most of the international outlets were cut for people of the occupied peninsula just after the so-called referendum and “official rejoining” to Russia. The same happened during the occupation of Donbas.

On the other hand, all this time massive propaganda was aired via all possible channels – Russian state TV channels, radio, internet, social networks, and messengers. Which not only affected a public opinion of occupied territories, but also Russia’s mainland. That enables a big number of so-called volunteer fighters for “DPR/LPR” in the very beginning of the war on the Donbas from all over Russian Federation and even some foreign countries.

All efforts of Kremlin’s propagandists were focused on the creation of distorted reality. In this “strange new world” existed “Ukrainian nazi”, “incapable Ukrainian Armed Forces of Ukraine”? “NATO fighters in Ukraine”, “training camp for jihadists” and even “secret American biolabs”. These topics have been repeated again and again without any evidence or proof since 2014.

Such a one-sided view on the situation in Ukraine has created conditions to mostly negative if not even aggressive sentiments toward Ukrainians among Russian citizens and people on the occupied territories. Actually, that enabled the current war. According to the recent public survey made by VCIOM on March 5, more than 70% of Russian citizens are supporting the ongoing so-called special operation in Ukraine. Same 70% are confident, that everything is going successfully according to the government plan. 46% of Russians think that the goal of this operation is to “defend Russia from NATO”.

Kremlin established censorship in state-controlled media. For example, since February, 26th it is prohibited to tell war instead of “special operation”. Information on Russian military losses is secret. In the first ten days Russian military authorities have denied any losses at all but later started to publish very understated figures. For example, according to American intelligence, Russian forces lost some 4-5 thousand soldiers, but Kremlin reported only 500. Same happened with the involvement of conscripts – Vladimir Putin denied this fact several times, but later speaker of Russian MoD Konashenkov on March, 9th confirmed that for the first time.

To prevent objective news from leaking, Moscow make changes in the Law on media on March, 4th and prohibited the publishing of “distorted information about Russian Armed forces” (which means, that they need to use only Kremlin’s data). After such a shift CNN, BBC, CBS, ABC, and Bloomberg stopped holding their activity in Russia.

To prevent objective news from leaking, Moscow make changes in the Law on media on March, 4th and prohibited the publishing of “distorted information about Russian Armed forces” (which means, that they need to use only Kremlin’s data). After such a shift CNN, BBC, CBS, ABC, and Bloomberg stopped holding their activity in Russia. Russian authorities also trying to impose bans on different social networks. For instance, since March, 14th Instagram was blocked all Russian users. Before that Facebook was recognized as an extremist organization. On March, 14th Russian authorities warned of possible blocking of YouTube.

Unfortunately, there are not only legal battles or virtual casualties. On March, 13 an American journalist Brent Renaud was killed by the Russian army near the city of Irpen (Kyiv region). The other colleague was injured. Ned Price, US State Department Spokesperson tweeted on that matter: “We are horrified that journalists and filmmakers—noncombatants—have been killed and injured in Ukraine by Kremlin forces. We extend condolences to all those affected by this horrific violence. This is yet another gruesome example of the Kremlin’s indiscriminate actions.” According to JFJ Fund, since the beginning of the Russian invasion, 3 journalists were killed, some are missed or even kidnapped, as it happened recently in occupied Nova Kakhovka city (Kherson region).

All these facts show that Kremlin tries to cut its own citizens from objective information. Its very easy to create an alternative reality in such an informational vacuum. Its vital for Putin to keep the Russians blind on what is happening in Ukraine, to have their approval for carnage.

But Russians have the right to know the truth. And the world must help them to know it.

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