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Why on Earth Might Russian Media Be Changing Its Tone on Trump?

What coincidental timing.

russian-media

The Kremlin has told state-sponsored media outlets to pull back in its positive coverage of President Donald Trump, Bloomberg reported on Thursday.

While Kremlin spokesperson Dmitri Peskov declined to comment, saying this was an internal American matter, and other Russian lawmakers decried Russophobia, Russian state-backed media outlet Sputnik ran an article wondering if Moscow could ever trust Washington again.

The shift comes after Michael Flynn resigned Monday as Trump’s national security advisor, following revelations that he’d discussed sanctions with the Russian ambassador to the United States back in December and then lied about it. Also, contrary to claims by Press Secretary Sean Spicer, Russian officials had been in touch with Trump aides over the course of the campaign.

The Kremlin has told state-sponsored media outlets to pull back in its positive coverage of President Donald Trump, Bloomberg reported on Thursday.

While Kremlin spokesperson Dmitri Peskov declined to comment, saying this was an internal American matter, and other Russian lawmakers decried Russophobia, Russian state-backed media outlet Sputnik ran an article wondering if Moscow could ever trust Washington again.

The shift comes after Michael Flynn resigned Monday as Trump’s national security advisor, following revelations that he’d discussed sanctions with the Russian ambassador to the United States back in December and then lied about it. Also, contrary to claims by Press Secretary Sean Spicer, Russian officials had been in touch with Trump aides over the course of the campaign.

Members of Congress from both parties are now vowing to look into Trump’s ties to Russia. House minority leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) and Rep. Adam Schiff (D.-Calif.), the ranking member on the House intelligence panel, on Thursday requested a “comprehensive” briefing on the matter from the director of national intelligence.

Flynn’s departure has sparked concern in some circles in Moscow that with Flynn’s ouster, they have lost a potentially sympathetic conduit to the administration. Other Trump officials, including Defense Secretary James Mattis and U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley, have taken a tougher line on Russia.

All’s not lost, though, for Russian officials. Secretary of State — and Russian Order of Friendship recipient — Rex Tillerson met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Bonn, and Lavrov found the meeting productive.

The order is apparently effective immediately, with what observers call a “blackout” after months of wall-to-wall coverage.

Then again, Trump was more mentioned by the Russian media in January than Russian President Vladimir Putin — so it could simply be a case of strongman media envy.

Photo credit: ALEXANDER ZEMLIANICHENKO/AFP/Getty Images

Emily Tamkin is the U.S. editor of the New Statesman and the author of The Influence of Soros, published July 2020. Twitter: @emilyctamkin

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