“We’re not on TV right now — we can tell the truth,” says one of top Russian TV propagandists thinking she was off air at a propaganda show about Ukrainian elections. Note the Ukrainian flag used as a tablecloth. Screendump via Julia Davis.
In the middle of a live-streamed marathon coverage of Sunday’s elections in Ukraine, Russian state TV host Olga Skabeyeva told her co-host, Yevgeniy Popov:
“We’re not on TV right now — we can tell the truth.”
Was this a Freudian slip? A sincere confession? Or did the host by mistake think the camera was off?
Deny – and hide behind a joke
My fave part of this livestream was when Skabeeva told Popov:
"We're not on TV right now — we don't have to lie."https://t.co/wwntpsH8Wg
— Julia Davis (@JuliaDavisNews) March 31, 2019
The Rossiya 1 host reacted to Julia Davis’ comment with a tweet simply saying “little liar” – and a blinking smiley.
“Your turn to lie”
Nevertheless, Davis had heard right.
Ms. Skabeyeva’s comment echoed the whistleblower testimony of her former colleague on the state TV channel Rossiya 1, Leonid Krivenkov, who earlier this year told RFE/RL about how the network’s employees would joke by saying “your turn to lie” on the internal communication channels before switching over to a colleague.
In another classical case, an employee of the state-controlled NTV confessed on camera to having spread disinformation: The NTV journalist did not realize he was being recorded when he told a BBC correspondent that his network had reported the killing of a little girl in Ukraine, knowing that the killing had in fact never happened.
The Kremlin’s propaganda and its obsessions
It was already a well-known fact that the Russian state-controlled media prefers to ignore domestic affairs and compensates with almost obsessive coverage of what goes on outside Russia – especially in Ukraine.
What was less known – but is now clear thanks to the exchange on Julia Davis’ Twitter – is that the Kremlin’s propagandists pay so much attention to how their work is monitored and exposed abroad.
Follow this link to the EUvsDisinfo database for examples of disinformation appearing in Olga Skabeyeva’s and Yevgeniy Popov’s talk show “60 Minut” on the state TV channel Rossiya 1.
- Whistleblower shares insights on workings of Russian state-controlled media
- How to get a 146% election result: Background of Kremlin propaganda classic case explained
- Russian propaganda attacks Ukraine via Canada
- How Russian propaganda denigrates Ukraine with disinformation
- Top Russian state TV propagandists pick up this year’s Russian “Emmy Awards”
- Prime-time news show on Russian state TV: One lie per minute
- Russian TV is not about Russia: Ukraine, US, EU get six times more attention in last week’s most-watched shows