Russian hacktivist group Anonymous International has posted what it claims is a gagging order (or tyomnik) issued by the Kremlin as guidance for Russian news broadcasters in their treatment of Crimea.
The list of themes instructs broadcasters to justify Russia's recent annexation of Crimea, celebrate president Vladimir Putin's efforts to develop the region, and to advertise Crimea's tourist season, on which the local economy heavily depends, with "nearby, safe, among your own people" to be pushed as the region's main appeals.
"Cleaning the Augean stables left by Ukrainian authorities cannot be accomplished overnight, but the work is underway, and Crimeans will be seeing it every day," is identified as a key angle for stories, reports Global Voices.
Journalists are instructed to paint a picture of the rest of Ukraine as "spinning out of control", and run by fascists and crooks.
Ever since protests broke out in Kiev in February, Russian media have launched a concerted attempt to portray the revolution negatively, and Russian actions in a positive light.
Dmitry Kiselev, new head of RIA-Novosti, the state news agency, and one of its main anchors, has recently been subjected to EU sanctions.
Before the last two years a marginal figure, he has spearheaded much of Russia's recent homophobic and anti-western rhetoric.
In a recent broadcast he declared that Russia was the only country capable of turning America into "radioactive ash".
The propoganda push culminated in a live broadcast a speech Putin gave in Red Square, Moscow on 18 March, in which he declared: "After a long, hard and exhausting voyage, Crimea and Sevastopol are returning to their harbour, to their native shores, to their home port, to Russia!"
Below are extracts from the alleged leaked documents
Topic — Crimea
1. It should be clarified that 23 years within an independent Ukraine largely degraded Crimea, and the authorities in Kiev are to blame. The goal of Russian authorities now is ensuring the emergence of a new life on the peninsula, bringing Crimea up to Russia's national standards of quality of life.
Cleaning the Augean stables left by Ukrainian authorities cannot be accomplished overnight, but the work is underway, and Crimeans will be seeing it every day.
By order of Vladimir Putin, a number of key ministers will visit Crimea and Sevastopol. Next week, several other members of the cabinet are expected to make the trip, as well.
2. Please make an active effort in your work to promote the summer vacation season in Crimea: it's nearby, safe, among our own people ["у своих"].
Topic — Ukraine
The bottom line for informational work:
- there is an atmosphere of lawlessness and growing chaos: nazis occupy key government posts, the Interior Ministry is paralysed by fear (all the tough talk after the death of [Right Sector general] Aleksandr Muzychko has remained only words), crime is rampant, stupefied by its own impunity, and rising under the guise of "Maidan" activism.
- the economy is spinning out of control: money that was drying up before [Maidan] is still absent; a rise in taxes in the very near future has been announced, along with cuts to welfare benefits and a government budget sequester.
- in this context, bickering over power looks especially cynical.