Former finance minister says Moscow wages information war against its own citizens
Alexey Kudrin, Vladimir Putin’s former finance minister and head of the think tank Civil Initiatives Committee, says the Russian government is waging an information war against its own citizens.
“We are witnessing an information war. When war is waged not even for the country’s image abroad but against its own citizens, it leads to destructive processes in society,” Kudrin said at a presentation of his organization’s new report on the mass media in Russia.
According to Kudrin’s group, the Russian authorities’ pressure on journalists has gotten much worse in the past year. He pointed out that TV Rain, one of the country’s only independent news channels, was “practically forced out of the information space,” and the television station TV-2, one of the most respected regional networks, was taken off the air in Tomsk.
Kudrin also complained about Russia’s “law on bloggers,” which created a state registry of various “popular” bloggers and saddled these individuals with new regulations, and noted the nontransparent procedure the Kremlin’s media watchdog, Roskomnadzor, uses to issue warnings to media outlets.
“The turning of the screws makes no sense. There’s a danger that the authorities will withdraw from society and miss some important signals, listening only to the positive assessments,” Kudrin said.
According to Reporters Without Borders, Russian freedom of the press currently ranks 152nd out of 180 countries. Last year, Russia ranked 148th in this category.
In its most recent report, Reporters Without Borders concluded that the freedom of the press has deteriorated worldwide, thanks in part to the conflict in Ukraine and the so-called “information war” that has followed.