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Russian propaganda slammed by correspondent who quit to protest war

Russian news broadcasts have become little more than a propaganda tool, telling the story of President Vladimir Putin and the people in his orbit, according to a Russian journalist who quit her job earlier this month in protest of the invasion of Ukraine.

“We only see the ruling powers,” said Zhanna Agalokova on Tuesday, during a Paris event sponsored by Reporters Without Borders.

Until a few weeks ago, she was the Paris correspondent for state-owned Channel One. “There is no country mentioned in our news. Russia does not appear in our news.”

A foreign correspondent for more than 20 years, her face is widely recognized in the country for her reports about life and viewpoints from abroad. She said those in power have killed off independent media, though many are still trying to provide reports.

“These are brave, unbelievably bold, industrious people whom I treasure endlessly,” she said on Tuesday.

But they are working against a propaganda machine that wants to distort facts and produce a lying version of reality.

“I don’t want the people to be turned into zombies any more,” she said on Tuesday.

“A free press is important for every individual society. And if people no longer see themselves in the news, then they don’t know to whom to turn. Their voices aren’t heard. That leads to suicide. To widespread suicide across the country.”

She said she was aware that she is now considered a traitor in Russia. “No one has paid me. I’m no spy,” she said in the video released from her Tuesday speech.

She also said she was sad that so many “Russian” things were being removed in Western society, amid widespread anger about the invasion. She said she has seen Russian items disappear from store shelves and Russian works removed from theatre schedules and social centres.

“You are suffocating and killing the Russian culture,” she said. “I don’t think that’s your goal, but that is an undeniable result of your behaviour.”

She also noted that Western sanctions against Russia will weigh the heaviest on the middle classes “who have always shared democratic values.”

That could lead to the West losing its allies in Russia and a country of 140 million people being lost to poverty and ruin, she warned. The fault would lie with Russia, she said on Tuesday, “but the West would also bear its responsibility.”

Source: GNA

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