(JustPatriots.com)- According to an American think tank, Moscow may have tried to curry favor from Russian war bloggers when it invited them to attend the Kremlin’s New Year’s Eve television broadcast.
In its report last Monday, the Institute for the Study of War suggested the Kremlin may have co-opted certain military bloggers “who are willing to sell out in exchange for political prestige” when it invited Alexander Sladkov and Yevgeniy Poddubny to the Kremlin’s “Goluboy Ogonek 2023” primetime broadcast in Moscow.
The broadcast, which aired after Russian President Vladimir Putin’s annual New Year’s Eve speech, featured members of Russia’s cultural elite and Kremlin politicians. It was reported Putin also attended the broadcast.
According to the institute, it is significant that Sladkov and Poddubny attended the event since both have recently criticized the Russian military’s failures in Ukraine.
The institute’s report also noted that other Russian bloggers who once supported the war in Ukraine have also voiced criticism over the recent battleground losses as well as the Kremlin’s efforts to curb such criticism.
According to the institute, the creators of the Telegram channel Rybar claimed to have received offers from Kremlin officials to create an open-source intelligence program “to benefit Russian private businesses and force structures” around the time Rybar gave a lecture at a state-run institution of higher education that is part of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Russia’s military also received criticism online after a Ukrainian rocket attack killed 63 Russian soldiers in the Donetsk region on December 31, an attack that was confirmed by the Russian Ministry of Defense.
According to the institute, the criticism was likely prompted by the Ministry of Defense’s “vague acknowledgment” of the December 31 attack. Bloggers affiliated with the paramilitary Wagner Group accused the Russian military leadership of making such strikes by Ukraine easier.
In its report, the institute said “profound military failures” like the attack in Donetsk “complicate Putin’s efforts to appease the Russian pro-war community and retain the dominant narrative in the domestic information space.”