How stupid! Kremlins move to ban Zelensky interview with Russian TV backfires on Putin

Zelensky calls on world to show support for Ukraine

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Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky gave a lengthy 90-minute interview with four Russian media journalists today in a move to speak directly to the Russian people. However, before it was even published, the Kremlin scrambled to ban the interview and ordered other outlets not to report on it. The Russian state media regulator, Roskomnadzor, issued a warning to Russian media earlier today not to even discuss or quote the interview, without providing a reason.

The regulator warned the press not to publish the interview and confirmed that “an investigation has been started in order to identify the level of responsibility and what response will be taken” in relation to the journalists that carried out the interview.

Max Seddon, from the Financial Times’ Moscow Bureau, tweeted: “Russia’s media censor is warning a group of Russian journalists not to publish an interview they just did with Zelensky.

“They don’t even bother to think of a reason why this isn’t allowed, but vow they will punish the journalists anyway.”

Despite the warning, President Zelensky himself shared the entire hour and a half interview on Telegram, a popular messaging app in Russia.

The interview took place with journalists from Meduza, Dozhd TV, Novaya Gazeta and Kommersant.

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Meduza and Dozhd are both already blocked in Russia and Dozhd has suspended all journalistic activities.

Russia recently passed new laws restricting the way in which Russian media can report on the war in Ukraine.

However, some experts suggested that the move to ban the interview could backfire on the Kremlin.

Taras, the founder of Ukraine’s Mezha.Media, tweeted: “Russia banned Zelensky’s interview with Russian media even before it was published.

“Apparently, they hadn’t heard of the Barbra Streisand effect.”

The Streisand effect takes place when attempts to censor information actually increases awareness of it.

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Kevin Rothrock, an analyst who monitors Russian media, tweeted: “How stupid are the bureaucrats at @roscomnadzor to ban an interview with Zelensky just before it’s released?

“Better PR is simply unimaginable. The people running the Russian police state are idiots.”

Another person @Ari_K1000 joked: “My question is, what sanctions can Roskomnadzor apply for showing Zelensky’s interview to the media, which are already blocked on the territory of Russia? Double blocking?”

BBC Eastern Europe Correspondent Sarah Rainsford tweeted: “Independent Dozhd and Meduza were banned in Russia as part of the censorship of media who call a war a war.

“Today they interviewed Ukraine’s president Zelensky. Now Russia’s regulator is warning the (blocked) media not to publish; it’s investigating them.”


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During the interview itself, President Zelensky said Ukrainian forces are still in control of part of the besieged southern city of Mariupol.

He also said that Ukraine was prepared to discuss adopting a neutral status as part of a peace deal with Russia but insisted any deal would have to be put to a referendum.

President Zelensky also revealed that Ukrainian forces found Russian parade uniforms in the early convoys sent during the invasion – a further indication that President Putin thought it would be a swift invasion.

He added: “It’d be funny if it wasn’t so tragic. A tank parade on the Maidan on the third or the fourth day of the war.”

The Ukrainian leader also urged Russia to collect its war dead, saying: “We’ve asked Russians to come to pick up their dead troops. They aren’t doing it.

“Even dead cats and dogs are treated better. I hate them because they invaded, but you have to still be human. What are their parents thinking?

“This is scary because if this is how they treat their own, how will they treat others?”

He also shared his “deep disappointment” that a large number of Russians appear to back the war effort, while he praised “honest journalists” in Russia for speaking out. 

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