The Russian Presidency of Vladimir Putin has “ordered” state media to reduce their “fawning coverage” of new US President Donald Trump, according to a report by Bloomberg based on three different sources.
The Kremlin’s order is said to be a reflection of increasing worries in the Russian leadership that Putin’s Russia may not enjoy as good a relationship with the Trump Administration as originally expected.
Stopping the Fawning
The order to limit the flattering coverage of Trump in Russian state media was supported by the Kremlin with the argument that Russians were no longer as interested in the transition in the US Presidency as they were at the time of the 2016 US Presidential Elections and the January 20 inauguration, Bloomberg said citing one of the “three people familiar with the matter”.
The agency also cited Konstantin von Eggert, a political commentator for TV Rain, Russia’s only independent channel, as saying that the Trump Administration had raised new questions about the US-Russian relations.
“They won’t pour buckets of criticism on Trump, they just won’t talk about him much,” von Eggert said in phone interview.
“The fate of Russia-American relations is much less predictable than it was just a few weeks ago,” he added.
It is reminded that in January 2017, for the first time since reassuming the Russian Presidency back in 2012, Putin’s name was not the most mentioned one in Russian media, having yielded the first place to Trump’s.
The Kremlin order to Russian state media to stop the positive coverage of Trump is said to come amidst rising anti-Russian sentiments in the US capital, as US intelligence and law enforcement institutions are probing into the scope of connections that Trump’s advisers had with Russian government figures before and after the 2016 Presidential Elections in the United States.
Earlier this week, Trump’s National Security adviser Michael Flynn had to resign after revelations that he secretly discussed the US policies on Russia with Russian Ambassador in Washington, Sergey Kislyak, on December 26, 2016, the day when the Obama Administration announced new sanctions against Moscow over Putin’s alleged attempt to use cybercrime to sway the 2016 President Elections in Trump’s favor.
The US, together with the European Union, first introduced sanctions against Russia, after in 2014, reacting to the pro-Western Euromaidan Revolution in Kiev, Putin annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, and then possibly instigated a pro-Russian insurgency in the Donbass regime in Eastern Ukraine which has been in progress ever since.
Before Flynn’s resignation, in January 2017, the US intelligence community voiced its findings that the Russian President did employ hackers to meddle with America’s presidential vote, while a leaked report by a retired MI-6 officer alleged the Kremlin was in possession of compromising material that could be used to blackmail, extort, or otherwise influence the new US President.
It is noted that at the time of Trump’s, Russia’s leadership hailed the new occupant of the White House for the possibility of ushering into a “new era’ of Russian-American rapprochement, possibly at the expense of America’s commitment to its European allies.
However, the picture seems to have changed in the past couple of weeks, as the White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer made clear Trump’s expectation that Russia was going to return the Crimean Peninsula to Ukraine, which was later implicitly confirmed by the US President in a tweet stating that Russia had “taken” Crimea during the Obama Administration.
In addition to Michael Flynn, other Trump campaign officials who are investigated by the FBI and other US intelligence bodies over their Russian connections include former campaign chairman Paul Manafort who used to work for Ukraine’s ousted former President and Putin ally, Viktor Yanukovych, and energy consultant Carter Page who used to live in Moscow.