Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Assassination Of Kremlin Critic Arkady Babchenko Coverage

Russia’s first line of defense in any situation which reflects negatively on Russia: deny, deny, deny.

Russia denies involvement in murder of journalist and Kremlin critic Arkady Babchenko

Then, doubling down in today’s Sputnik, Russian President’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov,

“We strongly condemn this murder. We hope for a real, rather than sham investigation to identify those behind this murder,” Peskov told reporters.

Kremlin Calls Ukraine’s Accusations of Journalist’s Murder ‘Cynical’

Not only does Russia deny involvement, they want to be involved in the investigation of Babchenko’s murder.  Talk about inviting the fox into the chicken coop. There is a reason why Russia is never invited to be a part of the team investigating probable Russian assassinations.

In other coverage.  This story is going to get much hotter as the accusations fly back and forth.

Russia, Ukraine blame each other for journalist killing

The list of journalists killed who were critical of the Kremlin in the past year or so is in the dozens, and that’s a conservative estimate,

A glance at Russian journalists attacked or killed

Probably the most balanced article, replete with Russian denials, is from Al Jazeera,

Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko shot and killed in Kiev

The propaganda war concerning Babchenko is extremely heavy.

The Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation issued a statement about Babchenko’s assassination, A criminal case was opened on the murder of Russian citizen Arkady Babchenko in Kiev

While I could not find an official denial of Russian involvement in Babchenko’s assassination, Western media is repeatedly reporting their denials.  What is clearly apparent, however, is that Russia is framing Ukraine as ‘dangerous for Russian journalists’.  Most of the reports cite this AFP article, Ukraine blames Russia for murder of anti-Kremlin journalist, where,

– Moscow denies blame –

Russian authorities furiously denied the blame, with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov saying it was “very sad” Moscow had been accused of murdering the reporter.

“The Ukrainian prime minister is already talking about how it was done by Russian secret services,” he said.

“This fashion of conducting international affairs is very sad,” Lavrov told reporters.

The official Russian transcript of this press conference is here but does not mention Babchenko, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to questions during a meeting with students and professors of Academy of Public Administration under the President of Belarus, Minsk, May 29, 2018.

The Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement, Comment by the Information and Press Department on the death of Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko. This does not include a denial, either.

Again, Russian actions appear to be easily deniable, which allows Russia to wage a low-level war against Ukraine. Until the investigation uncovers the actual assassin that shot Babchenko in the back three times, we will not know for certain and Russia will continue to deny. Again, Russia can use the tired phrase, “prove it”. Until proof is found or until Russia admits its involvement, this will remain a war of accusations without evidence.  The only real evidence is a body riddled with bullets.


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