Russian media today, 25 April 2022

As I have noted previously, there is a firewall between what Western major media are reporting daily about the situation in the Russia-Ukraine War and more generally about Russia versus what one sees on Russian state television and reads in the Russian news agencies.  On the advice of a colleague in Washington, I will now as occasion requires post news developments from Russia that Western audiences otherwise are not receiving despite their importance as indicators of where East-West relations are headed and whether we are all likely to survive the coming weeks.

The top such news item in Russia today is the successful capture by the Russian state intelligence agency FSB of a gang of would-be assassins based in Moscow and acting under orders from Kiev to kill the leading Russian talk show host Vladimir Solovyov, about whom I have written these past few weeks.  And their ‘kill list’ went on to take in other leading personalities on Russian state television:  Dmitry Kiselyov (director of all Russian television news programming), Yevgeny Popov, Olga Skabeyeva and  Margarita Simonian (editor-in-chief of RT).

The gang, which appears to consist of White Power and other neo-Nazi elements, was interrogated before video cameras and the videos have been posted on the Russian internet by TASS and other state news agencies.

As might be expected, Russian media have been properly roiled by this news. I caught the discussion on Vyacheslav Nikonov’s afternoon edition of “The Great Game.”  His panelists saw this ‘terrorism’ as a new phase in Ukraine’s hybrid war that is being stage managed from Washington.  Panelists made the point that the West has been very lucky till now that Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, has shown great forbearance by not responding in kind to the vicious war being waged by Washington, which always remains one step short of kinetic war in the mistaken belief that these kinds of aggression are water-tight and mutually exclusive. The panelists stressed that at a certain point Putin will indeed respond and the response will be kinetic.  The message was addressed to Messrs. Blinken and Austin, who, following their meeting with Zelensky, said at a press conference at the Polish-Ukrainian border, that the goal of the U.S. in the  whole matter of the Ukraine-Russian war is to so weaken Russia that it will be incapable of similar actions in the future.  In simple English, what they are saying is that the U.S. ambition is to destroy Russia.  The masks have been dropped.

Another item in Russian news yesterday and today has been the screening several times a day of videos taken in the United States during Joe Biden’s latest trips across the country to sell his narrative on the economic travails America is now experiencing.  Two separate speeches end in Biden’s turning from the lectern and seeking to the shake someone’s hand when there is in fact no one around him. Biden then looks lost and makes a sad retreat from the stage. 

Nikonov remarked that these videos have not been aired on major U.S. television, have not been reported on in mainstream print media.  My friend in Washington confirms that this is so.  Meanwhile, the fact of Biden’s blatant disorientation was denounced by Donald Trump a day ago – so at least he has seen the videos which the Russians take as indicative of the mental degeneration of the U.S. President and a token of the degeneration of the entire U.S. political class. Trump commented that Biden’s disorientation is something the country has never seen before and that the Biden administration has put the U.S. on a path to hell.

Where will all this end?   It is not headed in a good direction

©Gilbert Doctorow, 2022

17 thoughts on “Russian media today, 25 April 2022

  1. Dear Sir,

    Thank you for your hard work and extremelly well researched op-eds. I have been following you for the last 2 months and I am impressed by your commentary and the breadth of knowledge on Russia and Eastern Europe.

    Kind regards from Poland, Andrew

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I second Andrew’s comment. And I second your concern about American leadership and nuclear risks!


      1. I would like to third this, if that is a proper expression.

        Thank you, Sir, for your commentary and insight. Deeply scary times for the world and a western political class that seems to know not what it does, to paraphrase the Biblical expression.

        They are huffing and puffing with no way to stop.

        Greetings from England.


  2. The U.S. wants to Iraq Russia. That’s all they know how to do. They are incredibly frustrated. They are getting more and more filled with blind rage, emphasis blind. But they are fundamentally cowards. They will huff and they will puff, but they will stop short of blowing the house down. Inferior intellects on parade.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I honestly cannot wrap my mind around the recent declarations from the US leadership. Do they really see Russia as a paper tiger? I understand Biden is not in top shape but he does not rule alone. If even the man on the street knows Russia’s arsenal is fully equipped and ready to be used, what do the Pentagon generals know that we don’t?


    1. The fact that Russia has tried throughout to minimize civilian casualties (and during the first couple of weeks, even casualties among the Ukrainian regular armed forces, excluding the nazi formations) has been used as evidence of weakness. There seems no recognition that the Ukrainians have been treated with kid gloves, at least to begin with. The danger is the politicians believe their own hype. Certainly a lot of public opinion in the West now thinks Russia is weak. We can only hope the military know the real situation, but even there a lot of appointments to the general staff have been made for political reasons rather than on the grounds of military competence.
      The West keeps raising the stakes with more and more arms deliveries and, at first covert, now overt assistance to the Ukrainians. I don’t think that has made too much difference to the Russian campaign so far and we better hope that it doesn’t. If it does start to seriously threaten Russia, that’s when all hell will break loose.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. All these elites are deeply ideological. Many of them have made their careers by always failing upwards. And, they are convinced down to their core that if they just double down one more time, they could make the actual reality match their pretend-reality. It is horrifying to behold, but this is what we get for decades of voting for the lesser of two evils.

      I think that there are many intelligent, level-headed, and knowledgable people in the US and in Europe. The problem is that they are being actively pushed out of all polite society. Look up Col. Doug Macgregor and Col. Jacques Baud. Both of them have recently done interviews at The Grayzone, but also have been speaking and writing more broadly. Like our host, these two are examples of retired professionals who have the time and the freedom to say what they really think. And, they do say a lot of interesting things.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. Quote from an article on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s website, 2022-04-26

      When Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, its apparent goal was the capture of Kyiv, the capital. But the Ukrainians, with the help of Western weapons, thwarted the push and forced Putin’s troops to retreat.

      Given this level of insightful analysis some may see Russia as a paper tiger. Others simply see this as an opportunity to weaken Russia. They think they can create another Afghanistan. Biden’s foreign affairs advisers are not particularly well-informed or competent. I am pretty sure they think of Russia as it was in the 1990’s not as it is now.


      1. As I am typing this comment, I am attending a university talk on Ukraine/ Russia, so I’m echoing what you wrote with what one of the experts said. They admitted that the major issues of the US and UK in the last ten years is that the government lacks people with adequate education in history, languages, and other important disciplines to understand countries like Russia. That is not good news given what they are handling now.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Everyone in the USA before the Russia invasion believed the hype about Russia having a very strong military, and Putin being an evil genius. People here have been genuinely shocked by Russia’s inability to take Ukraine in the first week or two. And this has led them to reassess Russia’s strength, very much downward. Let’s be honest, this military reassessment has happened everywhere, in Europe, in America, in Asia, even in China.

    Russia has held up better than expected economically, though. Before the invasion, Americans genuinely believed that Russia was a joke of an economy, smaller than Spain or whatever the nominal GDP comparison was. Now I think people understand that Russia is systematically important. Russia’s strong position as a grain producer for example was not widely known even among educated people. And European dependence on Russian energy with no real alternatives was also not widely known (in the USA).


    1. “People here have been genuinely shocked by Russia’s inability to take Ukraine in the first week or two.”

      Has it ever occurred to you that the first push had a different goal?

      “Crucially—the Russian’s blitz on several axes pre-empted an imminent UKRAINIAN blitzkrieg. The AFU had been about to invade the Donbas. This was the immediate motivation for Russia’s invasion: To beat them to the punch and scuttle Ukraine’s imminent invasion—which they did.”

      What the Russians initially wanted was to:

      Short-circuit the imminent Donbas invasion – which they did.
      Scare the Zelensky regime into negotiating a political settlement – which they failed to do.
      Kiev had no intention of negotiating a ceasefire because of orders given to them from Washington: “Fight Russia to the last Ukrainian!” Also, the Neo-Nazi goons around Zelensky threatened him if he negotiated and surrendered because they are terrified of the Russians.”

      But then the goal changed when that did not materialize. Still holding back to protect infrastructure, civilians, and even the regular army as much as possible? Your info, solely obviously supplied by the usual MSM suspects, is rather limited because of reliance on what are basically NATO propaganda outlets.
      Since Ukraine and its master NATO seem incapable of negotiating earnestly, but really hope for a Russian defeat, I think Russian strategy from now on will be to destroy as many soldiers and equipment as possible, with no mercy.


      1. You are just offering the standard Russia-friendly cope. Russia attacked along so many axes as a psychological shock & awe campaign. They hoped the Ukrainians would collapse against such an aggressive multi-pronged campaign. I expected the Ukrainians to collapse. The US military expected the Ukrainians to collapse.

        Kyiv was most certainly not a feint. Russia sent around half its manuever force to Kyiv. It didn’t work, Russia learned, and is now trying something else. Even if it works, the damage to Russia’s military reputation is done. All that prestige gained in Syria, even in the short and very competent intervention in Kazakhstan, gone.


      2. I am not so sure that bombing people is all that more sophisticated than shelling them, to be candid. Pictures of Mosul and Raqqa look less clinical too than the Russian activity in Mariupol. It costs more though, and that suits western military industrial complexes.

        Believe we need to have a historical perspective to this conflict. Not so many wars are won in under eight weeks. Even the Franco Prussian War ended up being nearly a year in total. My perception is that Russia hoped for a quick coup de main from the Ukrainian Army surrendering. A bit like an opening gambit in chess. Worth a try. It did not come off and it did not cost them so much so they reverted to Plan B, which is a war of attrition and which I am sure was in their scenario planning. Including the fixing of Kiev. The west uses air power to initiate a war of attrition: Russia does it more cheaply. Arguably, the Russian approach might even be better. Civilian casualties seem far lighter as a percentage of deaths than when the west bombs everything into the ground. The civilians in the Donbass where most of the war is fought are also mainly sympathetic to Russia it seems, so even more reason their side to be careful.

        Given that Russia does see de facto Ukrainian participation in NATO as an existential threat then it seems to me that they would still have intervened even knowing what they know now. For Russia this is not like the classic wars of choice that the US / the west have waged almost casually over the past thirty years. This is why western comments that Putin did not bank on it this being so difficult are disingenuous: he would probably still have felt the need to intervene. But we would have been prevented from waging one of our wars of choice if we needed to pay such a price. There is a clear asymmetry in what war means between the casually aggressive US fighting wars far from home and a power fighting on its own doorstep.


      3. I personally expect the Russians to prevail in their current Donbas campaign. But then again, I could be wrong, since I expected this war to already have been over in their favor by now. But the way the Russians are currently doing it, slowly grinding down Ukrainian entrenched forces with heavy artillery, comes across as “primitive” to Americans. We would do it much more quickly and effectively with our air power. Apparently the Russian Air Force (sorry Aerospace force) seems to be mostly for decoration.

        The other thing, Russia clearly took very heavy losses in the first part of their campaign. And I am discounting American media, even Russia-friendly but realist sources suggest very heavy losses. This is not what anyone expected from the “world’s 2nd strongest military” fighting Europe’s poorest country.


  5. Russia is actually fighting their own battle, unlike the U.S., and therefore stands to learn much more. They are already benefiting from what they learned with their victory in Syria over the US supported rebels there.

    The American/Ukraine strategy seems to be fight guerilla warfare in the cities. Russia is countering this by refusing to engage in the cities (except Mariupol) but rather to surround the cities. The initial foray toward Kiev was perhaps wisely redirected back to the east. Again, this just shows an ability to adjust to the situation which is all one should expect at this stage of the conflict.

    So how has Russia underperformed expectations, as Sean claims? Obviously, some expectations, including Sean’s, were off the mark. The truth is Russia could destroy Ukraine but has held back, and is adjusting as circumstances require/permit. The U.S. failed in Afghanistan over the course of 20 years, yet Russia has only been fighting in Ukraine for 2 months.

    The important failure is by the West with regard to strategy. The objective of weakening Russia invites a lose-lose outcome at best. More likely is that time is on the Russian’s side as they are more heavily invested in Ukraine and more likely to stay the course to an eventual successful outcome. The US will shift their attention if the Ukraine conflict does not go well, as we have seen in the Middle East and Afghanistan. Russia will come out stronger as they have in other proxy wars in the Putin era.


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