News Brief

Russian Media On Mute Over Trump-Putin Meetings

Revelations from The Washington Post that President Trump has concealed details of his meetings with President Putin, which have triggered renewed speculation that the American leader may be a “Russian asset,” were quickly dismissed by the Kremlin-backed RT network as “the latest gossip piece.”

Overall, though, the reaction in Russia’s state-aligned media to the story has been muted. featured only a short news summary, while an NTV news broadcast devoted barely thirty seconds to summarizing American reporting of the story over stock footage from the Putin-Trump meeting.

The Russian government and its media proxies strongly deny any Russian involvement in American politics, and routinely ridicule those who accuse them of meddling.

The independent Novaya Gazeta, for its part, summarized the Postreporting and added that “There is no publicly available evidence that Trump secretly contacted Russian officials.” As The New Yorker reported in 2017, independent Russian journalists are often less interested in the Trump-Russia scandal than their American counterparts.

Meanwhile, a fake news law proposed in the Russian legislature is encountering some resistance. After lawmakers submitted a package of bills on December 12, both the prosecutor’s office and the ministry of communications expressed reservations.

A representative of the Prosecutor General suggested the bills might pose “an unreasonable restriction of the constitutional rights of citizens to the free flow of information.”

But it’s possible that this apparent government pushback might be part of a bargaining strategy. After proposed pension reform sparked protests back in August, Putin stepped in and offered a softer versionof the plan.