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With Moskva Warship Sunken, Russia Disinformation Faces a Test (1 Viewer)

Rogue Valley

Lead or get out of the way
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Apr 18, 2013
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With Moskva Warship Sunken, Russia Disinformation Faces a Test


Putin on the deck of the Moskva in 2014.

Families whose sons were listed as missing after the Russian flagship in the Black Sea sank a week ago are demanding answers in increasing numbers as the Ministry of Defense and top government officials stay silent about the fate of the crew. At least 10 families have come forward publicly, on social media or to news organizations, to voice their frustration that they have been told by different officers or others that their sons were either alive, missing or dead. Yet there still has been no official update to the initial announcement that the more than 500 crew members on the cruiser, the Moskva, were all rescued. “They don’t want to talk to us,” Maksim Savin, 32, said in an interview about his search for his youngest brother Leonid, 20, a conscript who served on the Moskva. “We are grieving. They drafted our little brother and most likely will never give him back.” The official silence on the fate of the Moskva’s crew is part of a larger campaign by the Kremlin to suppress bad news about the war and control the narrative that Russians receive on its progress. Many of the missing crew were conscripts, which has been a sensitive subject in Russia since the war in Chechnya, when young soldiers with little training were often thrown into battles and died in droves, souring public support for the war.

Independent Russian news outlets based outside the country have reported that about 40 men died and another 100 were injured when the warship was damaged and sank. Those reports quoted an unidentified official and the mother of one sailor who died. Mr. Putin has said repeatedly that conscripts serving a year in the military would not be deployed in Ukraine, a statement contradicted by battlefield casualties. The Union of Committees of Soldiers’ Mothers of Russia, which dates back to the Chechen wars, confirmed that it is receiving requests to search for missing soldiers. The organization declined to comment further, citing a law against sharing information about soldiers with foreign organizations. Parents of crewmen on the Moskva, named after Russia’s capital, have expressed outrage at what they described as an official runaround. “We, the parents, are interested only in the fate of our children: Why did they — being conscripted soldiers — end up in this military operation?” said Dmitry Shkrebets, whose son Yegor, 19, worked as a cook on the Moskva. Maksim Savin said that the family could not reach any officers from his brother’s unit by phone. His mother texted one number and got a response that her son Leonid was missing. “It looks like the officers are trying to make everyone shut their mouths,” Mr. Savin said.

Ever since the Wars in Chechnya and the horrific revelations by Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya (later assassinated), Russian society has been very sensitive about using 'green conscripts' in a hot war zone.

Thus the Kremlin is doing everything possible to hide the high usage of conscripts in its 2022 Ukraine invasion.


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