A surreal new moment has taken place on Russian television, as one of the TV presenters belonging to Gazprom noted a paradox that prevented him from commenting on the withdrawal of Moscow’s armed forces from Kherson.
Presenter Andrei Norkin says he doesn’t want to go to jailPhoto: Capture video
“If you expect me to explain what I think about it, I won’t tell you. But I’ll tell you why. If I support the decision and say that the Ministry of Defense is doing the right thing by leaving Kherson, then I publicly call for the violation of the territorial integrity of the Russian Federation,” said presenter Andrei Norkin from NTV, a television channel bought in 2001 by Gazprom Media, the media division of the Russian energy giant.
“It’s in our penal code in article 280 paragraph 1. I precisely checked this morning. A few years in prison, ”explains Norkin.
“And if I do not support the decision and believe that the Ministry of Defense did wrong by leaving Kherson, then I am publicly discrediting the armed forces, which is also in article 280, but in paragraph 3, with roughly the same prison term,” he continues.
“I don’t want to go to prison,” said the Russian television presenter. “So let’s watch a report and then I’ll pass it on to our dear experts,” he concludes.
Russian TV host Andrei Norkin’s realization that his country lacks free speech:
If I support the decision to withdraw from Kherson, I will go to prison for questioning the territorial integrity of Russia
And if I oppose it, I will go to prison for discrediting the army pic.twitter.com/KRj0RsI00i
—Francis Scarr (@francis_scarr) November 10, 2022
“False” information about the army, illegal in Russia
As early as March, the Russian parliament passed a bill criminalizing the dissemination of “false” information discrediting the country’s armed forces, with the legislation later being extended to all Russian state institutions operating abroad.
The laws, however, allow defendants to get away with a simple fine, a situation that independent analysts have attributed to the fact that authorities in Moscow are still reluctant to imprison celebrities or popular public figures who do not pose a threat to the public. Kremlin.
For example, model and actress Kristina Asmus, once “the sexiest woman in Russia” according to Maxim magazine, was summoned to an administrative court at the end of August, risking a fine of up to 50,000 rubles, although she was charged on the basis of the article related to the discrediting of the armed forces.
Olga Valeeva, the winner of this year’s Miss Crimea beauty pageant, also walked away with a fine of just 40,000 rubles after being accused of defaming the armed forces by singing ‘Chervona Kalyna’, a song that became a symbol of Ukrainian resistance after the start of the Russian invasion on February 24.
Gazprom television is one of the most bellicose in Russia
Andrei Norkin’s short monologue is all the more remarkable as he is by no means a dissident who contradicts the official Kremlin propaganda line, falling instead into the category of propagandistic Moscow TV presenters, such as Vladimir Solovyov, Olga Skabeeva or Dmitry Kiseliev.
This was seen recently in one of his shows at the end of October, when a guest sociologist Alexei Roschin dared to say that Russia is waging a “brutal” war against civilians in Ukraine, directly referring to attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure. ‘Ukraine.
“I don’t understand what kind of order we could be talking about, as we destroy their power plants and infrastructure in Ukraine. This is cruelty and sadism, a war against civilians. This war is against the people .As a citizen, I am responsible, but I did not approve of the bombing of Ukrainian power plants,” he said.
“Supposing we have listened enough to your manifesto, do you have anything else substantial to say? I understand that you want to return to television, but I’m afraid you have taken the wrong path. Nobody cares what you have to say,” Norkin replied.
Also in October, NTV aired some of the most shocking Ukrainian video footage shown on Russian television since the invasion, showing attacks on Ukrainian towns and the dumping of lifeless bodies in a mass grave by Russian invaders.
The report aired as an introduction to Norkin’s show, “The Meeting Place,” presented as a panel discussion with guests.
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