“Vesti Nedeli,” the flagship weekly roundup of Kremlin-controlled television news, recently portrayed a long history of predatory Western powers coming to grief when they invaded Russia: Sweden in the 18th century, France in the 19th, Germany in the 20th.
Enemies now seek to reverse those losses, said Dmitry Kiselyov, the show’s host, blaming the West for the war that Russia instigated in Ukraine. The goal to finish off Russia is “centuries old and unchanging,” he said. “Here we are on the defensive.”
In the six months since Russia invaded, the state media’s emphasis in reporting the war has gradually shifted. Gone are predictions of a lightning offensive that would obliterate Ukraine. There is less talk of being embraced as liberators who must “denazify” and demilitarize Ukraine, though the “fascist” label is still flung about with abandon.
Instead, in the Kremlin version — the only one most Russians see, with all others outlawed — the battlefields of Ukraine are one facet of a wider civilizational war being waged against Russia.
The reporting is less about Ukraine than “about opposing Western plans to get control of Mother Russia,” said Stanislav Kucher, a veteran Russian television host now consulting on a project to get Russians better access to banned news outlets. The United States is the main antagonist, with Europe and NATO its lackeys. [Continue reading…]