Two Russian reporters appeared to have published at least 30 articles on a pro-Kremlin news site, lenta.ru, on Monday criticizing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and his government’s crackdown on critics.
CNN reviewed articles – almost immediately deleted – some related to the 77th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s defeat of Nazi Germany, while others criticized the Russian leader for using it Victory Day To justify his bloody attack on Ukraine.
Journalists Igor Polyakov and Alexandra Miroshnikova made several allegations in their articles, including that Russian defense officials were “lying to their relatives” about those killed in the sinking of the Russian Navy. Major Black Sea Fleet Moskva He accused Putin of waging one of “the bloodiest wars of the 21st century”.
Polyakov and Miroshnikova posted on lenta.ru: “Putin and his circle are doomed to a court showdown after the end of the war.” Putin and his comrades will not be able to justify themselves or flee after losing this war.”
Polyakov and Mirochenkova are both trade editors at lenta.ru, a major pro-Kremlin Russian news website. The parent company of the outlet was recently acquired by Russian Sberbank, Which is subject to US sanctions because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
CNN reached out to journalists and lenta.ru for comment but did not immediately receive a response.
Russian Parliament He passed a law in early March Criminalization of what it considers lies about Russia’s war in Ukraine. Violation of this law can result in a fine of 1.5 million rubles (about $21,467) or imprisonment of up to 15 years. Putin and the state-owned media still refer to the large-scale ground war in Ukraine as a “special operation.”
Independent Russian news site Mediazone published What she said was a statement from Polyakov and Miroshnikova after the articles appeared.
“Putin is a megalomaniac dictator,” they were quoted as saying. Putin must go. He has started a meaningless war and is leading Russia into a ditch.”
Polyakov and Miroshnikova not only publicly rejected the government’s position on the invasion, but accused Putin of lying about his intentions in Ukraine from the start.
Putin repeatedly lied about his plans for Russia in Ukraine, first setting a goal and then a completely different one.”
They cited Putin’s call for “the liberation of Donbass,” “the de-Nazification” and “the demilitarization of Ukraine” as examples of what they described as hastily setting up justifications for a needless war.
One article in the duo’s Victory Day series focused on what they described as the Russian military lying to the families of the sailors who died aboard the Moskva. CNN previously reported Concerned Russian parents scramble for information on the fate of sailors aboard the ship that was sunk by two Ukrainian missiles sank last month.
The article claimed that the Russian Navy may have republished old photos of the Moskva crew to indicate that more sailors made it out of the ship unharmed than it actually did.
“The video of the Black Sea Fleet command and crew members distributed by the Ministry of Defense after the tragedy can be archival because a relative of one of the missing crew members already recognized him in the same video.”
CNN has not been able to independently confirm these claims.
Each article on lenta.ru began with the same urgent petition under the main heading.
Disclaimer: This material has not been approved by the state and therefore the presidential administration will delete it… In other words: take a screenshot urgently or it will be deleted.”
The duo also apparently walked away from lenta.ru saying, “We are looking for work, lawyers and possibly political asylum!”
And they continued in a clear call to action: “Do not be afraid, do not be silent. Resist! You are not one, you are many! The future is yours! … Peace to Ukraine!”
Criticism of the government is rarely reported in the Russian media – especially since the outbreak of war in Ukraine in February. The last major press presentation of the opposition from the state media was when he was a longtime editor of Russian television Marina Ovsianikova An anti-war banner is raised during a live broadcast on Russia’s Channel One in March. She was arrested and fined 30 thousand rubles.
Ovsyannikova is now reporting on a German-owned news outlet from Russia and Ukraine
“General web ninja. Total explorer. Problem solver. Unapologetic troublemaker. Coffee guru. Pop culture maven. Student. Organizer.”