How does the Russian media present the Ukrainian crisis? | Ukraine-Russia crisis

St. Petersburg, Russia – In the Western and Ukrainian media, the reinforcement of arms on the border is a sign of Russian imperialist aggression, from Moscow trying to intimidate its smaller neighbor. In Russia, however, the situation is perceived quite differently.

NATO is a “cancer”, Sergey Karaganov, an influential Russian political scientist and warmonger, recently declared.

Comparing the standoff with the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, Karaganov said it was better for tensions to rise now than to “allow a repeat of June 22, 1941” later, referring to the Nazi invasion.

In other words, Karaganov sees NATO expansion on Russia’s borders as an existential threat best dealt with sooner rather than later.

Ukraine should be left alone to become a “real buffer state”, and after reaching this agreement, Russia and the West could become friends – as long as it is not ruled by the “LGBT cult” and ” ultra-feminism,” he added. .

However, he is not for a total invasion.

“Occupying an economically, morally and intellectually castrated country, a country with destroyed infrastructure and an embittered population, is the worst scenario,” he continued, echoing the position of pro-government media and experts – which Russia does not understand. want war, and all hostilities will begin on the other side.

Western powers fear that Russia, having massed thousands of troops on the Ukrainian border, is planning an attack. Russia has said its actions were aimed at protecting its interests and accuses NATO of undermining the region’s security.

In December, Moscow issued a series of ultimatums to the United States, a key NATO member, chief among which was a promise that NATO would never allow Ukraine membership. The United States and NATO have rejected this request.

“Donetsk has been surrounded! Horlivka was cut! Ukrainian and NATO cyber troops have already started a new war in Donbass,” reads a recent headline in tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda, while state-run TASS news agency reported the claims of pro-separatists. reports that Ukrainian forces were carrying out reconnaissance on their positions. , preparing an attack.

Most Russians still get their news from TV, but social media apps like Telegram are growing in popularity.

Economist and political analyst Yevgeny Satanovsky recently wrote on his Telegram channel: “The background noise of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which is about to begin, is not so much about saving it (Ukraine ) of the diabolical Moscow government, but to disguise its own preparation for aggression.

“Everything will start, of course, with Crimea and Donbass.”

Satanovsky compared Ukraine to a cow that Germans and Americans are trying to milk.

Russia, on the contrary, would let her graze in peace, as long as she too remained quiet.

Referring to the White House press secretary and President of the United States, Satanovsky continued: “Which softens somewhat for Moscow the impression of [Jen] PSAKI’s temper tantrums, [Joe] Biden’s rhetoric and the nonsense the US State Department utters at all levels is the current crumbling state of America’s political elite and the failures of their foreign and defense policy.

“After Afghanistan, threats from the United States are hard to take seriously.

Other pro-Kremlin commentators are also downplaying Russia’s role in the crisis.

Talk show host Vladimir Solovyov, one of the best-known faces of Russian television with his own radio shows and YouTube, told his audience that Russia was capable of destroying Ukrainian forces “without even crossing the border”.

“We have enough firepower for the complete annihilation of Ukraine’s military infrastructure without the incursion of forces into Ukrainian territory. But we are not preparing to do that,” Solovyov said on his YouTube show, Solovyov LIVE, which has nearly a million subscribers.

Soloviev also recently interviewed Ukrainian separatist leader Denis Pushilin, who said that “NATO is injecting weapons into Ukraine”.

Last week, the ruling United Russia party formally called on the country’s leaders to openly arm the separatist, pro-Russian people’s republics of Donetsk and Luhansk.

State Duma member Alexei Chepa told independent TV channel Dozhd that sending weapons to separatists was the “right answer” to Americans, and the failure of the 2015 Minsk accords to bring back the peace.

The interviewer pushed back, arguing that Russia was responsible for the crisis by provocatively placing its troops on the border, but Chepa said it was necessary to convince Ukraine to reconsider its position and avoid any further escalation .

But that in itself was risky and could backfire, another guest told Dozhd.

Ukrainian political scientist Volodymyr Fesenko, director of the PENTA Center for Applied Policy Studies in Kiev, said Ukrainians believe Moscow has mobilized its forces to plunge “Washington, Kiev and European capitals into a psychological stupor”, rather than launch an invasion, and that it will subside once the Winter Olympics begin in Beijing in February.

He warned that sending more weapons into the hands of the separatists would make another war more likely.

Similarly, an article in the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta on the buildup of tanks and other military equipment at the border suggested that, because it is being conducted in full view of NATO, the press world and even social media, the main goal was to pressure the West during the negotiations, rather than planning an invasion.

The Novaya Gazeta article also warned, however, that these war games could spin out of control.

Writing on the website of the independent Echo Moscow radio station, Lev Schlossberg, a politician and member of the liberal Yabloko party, said he believed Russian President Vladimir Putin was playing an incredibly dangerous game with NATO, because the alliance is unlikely to back down.

“What was the purpose of Russia’s ultimatum, to which the answer could only be an inevitable refusal?” he wrote, adding that Putin could be trapped because if the Russian leader wanted to use rejection of NATO as a pretext for war, he would raise the stakes “higher than resources allow”.

Schlossberg urged Putin to reach a compromise in “real negotiations, where you will have to take into account everyone’s interests, not just your own.”

Some in the Russian opposition believe that rising tensions with Ukraine and the West is in itself the goal, and that having an external threat to point to benefits Putin.

In another article published on Echo, journalist Anton Orekh said the crisis was an example of how Putin is using East-West tensions to gain popularity at home.

“There is no foreign policy in Russia, only internal. Therefore, the point of all this back and forth and bickering is to have it all on the air, 24 hours a day.

“If NATO suddenly compromises, then we will cry that a great victory has been won… Our interest is not that the crisis be resolved, but that it exists.

“The Kremlin’s interest is not in a settlement, but in constant tension.”

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