By Gilbert Doctorow
On these pages, I have frequently made reference to the country’s premier political talk show, Evening with Vladimir Solovyov, and to its premier news and analysis show Sixty Minutes for their indicating the thinking of Russia’s political and social elites and thereby demarcating the limits within which the Kremlin can exercise its power domestically and in foreign policy. I have also at times suggested that the hosts of these shows were acting on behalf of the Kremlin to send unofficial but authoritative messages to the West.
All the while, I have been well aware that major U.S. and British media regularly denounce the hosts of these programs as pernicious propagandists. Solovyov has been declared persona non grata in Italy for reportedly being a close confidant of Vladimir Putin, an allegation that is quite exaggerated, with the consequence that his villa there was confiscated by agents of the Italian government. Meanwhile it also is to be noted that a little more than a month ago Solovyov was re-elected as president of the Russian Union of Journalists, which is a better indicator of why he is under sanctions.