Russian state media stars pushing Putin’s official war story exempt from fighting in Ukraine

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Vladimir Solovyov on his show “Moscow. Kremlin. Putin” in May 2022елеканал / Moscow. Kremlin. Putin / YouTube

  • Employees of the Russian state media are exempt from Putin’s last military service.

  • Russia tightly controls what can be said about the war, aided by a largely compliant media.

  • It means that the TV stars who give a distorted view of the war don’t have to face reality.

Russia’s Defense Ministry released an exception list Friday from President Vladimir Putin’s latest military mobilization, and it includes the media figures who are helping to sell the war to the Russian public.

The staff of “information and communication organizations” in approved outlets do not have to fight in Ukraine, the ministry said in a Telegram message.

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Other key industries to be exempted include IT and telecom professionals and bankers, the post said, “to ensure the functioning of certain high-tech industries and the financial system of the Russian Federation.”

Putin’s announcement on Wednesday that he would send as many as 300,000 reservists to battle lines in Ukraine — something he promised he wouldn’t do — was followed almost immediately by reports of Russian men rushing to evade conscription.

The decision to exempt state-approved journalists ensures that the media figures who spread a distorted state narrative about the war in Ukraine do not have to face reality themselves.

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State-approved media — which are strictly controlled — have been a major factor in maintaining public support for the war through misleading and distorted information, Insider’s John Haltiwanger reported.

And some Russian media stars thrive in an environment that rewards blatant propaganda — often going beyond the Kremlin itself.

Propagandist Olga Skabayeva, nicknamed the “iron doll of Putin TV”, reinforced the rhetoric after Putin’s announcement, suggesting that the readiness of Russia’s nuclear arsenal is “no bluff”.

olga skabeyeva

Russia-1 host Olga Skabeyeva has played a key role in the Kremlin’s propaganda strategy during the war in Ukraine.YouTube/UATV English

On Skabayeva’s “60 Minutes” discussion show, regular guest Vladimir Solovyov directly advocated hitting the UK and Germany with nuclear weapons. Skabyeva herself lightly suggested that Russia should have bombed the Queen’s funeral, which took place on the same day as the broadcast.

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Alexei Navalny’s anti-corruption foundation estimates that Skabeeva and her husband have a real estate portfolio worth $4 million, while Solovyov – who is under US sanctions as a propagandist – is estimated to have at least $1.18 million in assets.

Independent news media in Russia have all but disappeared, thanks to a years-long crackdown that accelerated Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

By law, the war in Ukraine may only be referred to as a “special military operation,” with severe penalties for those who disseminate unofficial information or “discredit” the military.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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