Russian officials and state TV have made almost no mention today of the six-month anniversary of the start of Russia’s “special military operation,” as the Kremlin likes to call it.
It’s possible that the authorities are not keen to emphasise the extent to which the campaign has become drawn out – certainly for much longer than the Kremlin intended.
State TV channels were leading their news bulletins on Ukraine, but, as usual, the coverage focused on alleged Ukrainian ‘crimes,’ such as shelling of civilian areas, and Russia’s diplomatic efforts to resolve the situation around the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant.
Western countries have accused Russia of endangering the site. There was, though, some mention of Ukrainian Independence Day today.
On one of the main political talk shows on Russian TV, 60 Minutes, host Olga Skabeyeva remarked on Ukraine’s independence, bellowing that Kyiv in fact “totally and completely relies on the US,” and is therefore, apparently, not independent.
This is a common narrative in Kremlin propaganda – that Ukraine is a puppet of the West, used as a weapon against Russia.
The authorities also chose today to arrest Yevgeny Roizman. The former mayor of the city of Yekaterinburg was one of the last remaining prominent opposition politician in Russia – all others have either been jailed, killed or have fled abroad.
Roizman has been highly critical of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. A source told Russian news agencies that a criminal case had been opened against the former mayor for ‘discrediting the Russian armed forces,’ a common charge used against anti-war activists here.