— Sputnik (@SputnikInt) February 25, 2019
Before reminding ourselves of the way the Kremlin exercises its media control, let’s have a quick look at who is actually speaking in this tweet.
“Russia Today” does not mean Russia Today
Together with RIA Novosti, Sputnik is a part of the state media giant Rossiya Segodnya, which in translation means “Russia Today.” But that does not mean that Rossiya Segodnya is the same as Russia Today (RT); these are two separate organisations. Nevertheless, the chief editor of Sputnik and of Russia Today happens to be one and the same person; her name is Margarita Simonyan.
To make things even more complicated, the CEO of Rossiya Segodnya is also the host of the show Vesti Nedeli, (“News of the Week”), on the state TV channel Rossiya 1. His name is Dmitriy Kiselyov.
And perhaps you already guessed the TV programme in which the story appeared, which Sputnik is so eager to deny was the result of state control? Of course, on Kiselyov’s News of the Week.
URGENT: This is ridiculous, says every state TV employee. https://t.co/YuingCFliJ
— Alexey Kovalev (@Alexey__Kovalev) February 25, 2019
The weekly meetings
Sputnik’s tweet is incorrect and an example of pro-Kremlin disinformation.
It is known for a fact that the Kremlin exercises direct control over the dominating Russian media; and more and more details about this system have surfaced over the last few years.
A recent investigation carried out by independent Russian journalists has thrown additional light on the weekly meetings with the Kremlin where chief editors receive these instructions.
So when Sputnik presents its denial of state control as “URGENT,” one can’t help thinking of the logic known from psychoanalysis: That if the client asserts something repeatedly and unusually strongly, it is often because the truth is the opposite of what the client is saying.
Top image: Screenshot from Sputnik’s tweet.