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Pro-Kremlin media told how to spin either outcome of Ukraine’s offensive to Russia’s advantage – Meduza

Pro-Kremlin media told how to spin either outcome of Ukraine’s offensive to Russia’s advantage – Meduza
A leaked Kremlin media playbook explains to pro-government media how to soften the expected fallout of Ukraine’s offensive.

Meduza, an independent Russian media outlet, has reportedly obtained guidelines from the Putin administration instructing Russian pro-government media on how to report on Ukraine’s upcoming offensive. According to the document, media outlets are urged “not to downplay expectations for the NATO-supported counteroffensive that Ukraine has announced,” instead highlighting Western countries’ support for Kyiv.

The Kremlin’s strategy, Meduza sources close to the Putin administration suggest, is to spin either potential outcome to Russia’s advantage:

“If the offensive is a failure, [the Russian authorities] will be able to say that [Russia’s] army adeptly repelled an extremely powerful attack. The value of this victory will increase significantly. If Ukraine, with the help of weapons from the US and Europe, is successful and takes territory, the loss will be explainable.”

In the same document, the Kremlin advises propagandists “not to focus on the amount of money” spent from the Russian budget on rebuilding infrastructure in the occupied Ukrainian territories. Instead, the media is encouraged to talk about how “problems are being solved” in Russia, such as reporting on repairs in schools, kindergartens, and hospitals.

One source close to the Putin administration told Meduza that these spending cuts will inevitably impact infrastructure in Russia’s existing regions, causing public resentment: “Better not to show the specific amounts of money that were taken.”

This sentiment aligns with a 2017 survey by the independent Levada Center, which found that 41% of respondents believed that investments in Crimea were made at the expense of spending on education, health care, science, wage indexation, and pensions. Furthermore, 55% felt that authorities were wrong to allocate money to Crimea that could have been used for social programs in Russia’s regions.

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