Russia’s propagandists are generally not known for their comedy wit, although they do try their best to mock their adversaries. One prominent propagandist expressed his doubts about whether that was convincing, although may have regretted those remarks.
The hypocrisy of defamation
On the popular Russian TV show Время покажет (“Time will tell”), host Artyom Sheinin said that while Russia used to make fun of Ukraine’s army and its capabilities, these kind of jokes are no longer very funny considering Russia’s failures in Ukraine.
The same happened with the Americans and the aid they provided, he pointed out, but that additional equipment that has arrived in Ukraine (such as the “HIMARS and 115 caliber howitzers”) have proved to be a real challenge to Russia’s war aims. This is apparent to everyone in the videos circulating on the Internet of how accurately Ukrainian troops are targeting the Russian army’s depots and headquarters.
Sheinin also added that, in the light of this, he no longer makes fun of the Estonians and idea that their troops are slow.
The clip quickly went viral online, although if anyone thought it might indicate a wider change of policy then news about Sheinin’s future quickly indicated otherwise. After the programme, his cooperation with the channel abruptly ended for unspecified reasons.
Many on social media speculated that he was fired due to his comments disparaging the effectiveness of Russian propaganda or – from those still supportive of that propaganda – his lack of patriotism. Sheinin rejected those claims and – without any self-awareness – warned that unscrupulous people were spreading misinformation.
Change of mindset
This is not the first time Kremlin propagandists have deviated from official narratives recently. Given Russia’s deepening failures, it is unlikely to be the last either. Propastop has recently written about how Russian propagandists are struggling to stick to the Kremlin’s script. Sheinin himself has previously highlighted Russia’s “weaknesses” before after multiple major defeats.