In this just published Sputnik interview, I am pleased to share the podium with Fred Weir of the Christian Science Monitor. Fred has been one of the most level-headed journalists in mainstream media.
The subject of the interviews was Vladimir Putin’s annual press conference on Thursday. My own remarks to Sputnik are in line with what I wrote on my website the same day. Now I can add the observation that major media like The Financial Times chose to report what they wanted, not what they heard and saw. By that I mean they sensationalized Putin’s response to a question from Sky News about the Ukraine crisis, and made it look as if that was the breaking news of the event, when all he did was reiterate what he had been saying the preceding week. The only “new” element Putin introduced was confirmation that Russian presence on the border was to counter an anticipated Ukrainian assault on Donbas. And that would have been knowable to any viewer of Russian state television reporting these past several weeks when it was stressed that half of all the Ukrainian armed forces were now concentrated just to the West of Donbas.
As I noted, the way Western reporters were ignored from the dais while the microphone was given almost exclusively to representatives from the regions and the President’s concluding phrase to Sky, that the United States has responded positively and talks are being scheduled for January, all of this was to play down the present wrangling with Washington and not do or say anything to put at risk the coming talks.
However, I post this link to Sputnik not for the sake of my contribution but to direct attention to the remarks of Fred Weir as regards change being afoot on the US side thanks to Russian firmness and the ongoing reevaluation of Russian military capability. Fred’s reference to the talks his colleagues had with generals in NATO headquarters bears special notice.
©Gilbert Doctorow, 2021