Russian blogger says he was fired over mercenary boss interview


RIGA, Latvia — A professional-Kremlin political operative and blogger claimed Thursday that he was fired from an internet media firm after he printed an interview wherein the top of the Wagner mercenary group warned of a possible revolution in Russia and mentioned Moscow’s conflict in Ukraine had backfired.

The blogger, Konstantin Dolgov, labored for the Telega On-line video undertaking, which live-streams discussions of reports and politics with a pro-Russian slant on RuTube, an internet video-hosting web site. The Russian authorities tries to advertise the location as a substitute for what it considers “unfriendly” YouTube. YouTube is without doubt one of the few Western web providers nonetheless out there within the nation.

On Tuesday, Dolgov posted a prolonged interview with the mercenary boss Yevgeniy Prigozhin on Dolgov’s Telegram channel. Prigozhin delivered a harsher-than-usual tirade about Russia’s failures within the conflict, together with describing high commanders of the common navy as incompetent.

Prigozhin additionally decried the detachment of Russia’s rich elite, accusing them of not being sufficiently dedicated to President Vladimir Putin’s brutal onslaught in Ukraine. He mentioned that anger in opposition to the rich may boil over into a preferred rebellion akin to the Russian Revolution of 1917.

The interview was extensively seen as Prigozhin’s try to make use of his current victory in seizing the japanese Ukrainian metropolis of Bakhmut, the place his mercenaries served as a vital combating drive, to extend his home standing. He has been locked in a bitter private battle with the common military chiefs, together with Protection Minister Sergei Shoigu.

Dolgov posted a video on the Telega On-line weblog saying he had been fired over the interview. The clip, nevertheless, was rapidly deleted from the channel.

“The interview got here out late Tuesday night, and early Wednesday morning, I used to be informed that I used to be fired,” Dolgov wrote on his weblog. “Whoever made the decision was possible upset by Prigozhin’s statements, however they’ll’t do something to him, so that they determined to take it out on the interviewer and fireplace [me] from all over the place.”

Dolgov claimed that the Telega On-line undertaking was sponsored by the Web Growth Institute, or IRI, a Kremlin undertaking that produces on-line propaganda and states its mission as “aiding the dialogue between business, the state and society.”

IRI is run by Alexei Goreslavky, a pro-Kremlin journalist and media supervisor who is thought for dismantling a extensively influential unbiased on-line web site,, in 2014. That transfer was a precursor of the Kremlin’s broader crackdown on media that by 2023 left the nation with nearly no unbiased retailers extensively out there to extraordinary Russians.

IRI didn’t touch upon the state of affairs with Prigozhin or declare possession of the undertaking, however Dolgov has attended IRI-organized occasions and award exhibits

Dolgov, in his assertion, asserted that there’s “free speech in Russia, thank god and the president.”

“I don’t assume that Vladimir Vladimirovich [Putin] will likely be pleased to be taught that the anchor of Telega On-line was fired over an interview with … the Hero of the Russian Federation,” Dolgov mentioned, referring to Prigozhin’s state-awarded medal for his contribution to the conflict in Ukraine.

Dolgov’s employer denied that he had been dismissed, saying he had deliberate to go away “lengthy earlier than the interview with Prigozhin.”

“We perceive that hype at all times hits the viewers higher than any balanced place … however the ‘dismissal’ of our revered Konstantin [Dolgov] was under no circumstances as spontaneous as he claims,” Telega On-line mentioned in a press release. It accused Dolgov of self-promotion on the expense of the video present. Dolgov referred to as that assertion a lie.

The inner feud sheds mild on a broader battle Prigozhin and media retailers pleasant to him are waging as he finds himself in competitors with the Russian Protection Ministry over affect and function within the Ukraine conflict. Prigozhin has repeatedly complained that federal-controlled tv channels have stopped overlaying him and the Wagner Group, a departure from fawning studies broadcast final yr praising the mercenaries’ navy prowess.

Prigozhin warned in opposition to anybody who may attempt to silence him.

“I’ll, after all, assist Dolgov, however attempt to shut me up, and we’ll see the way you handle to do it,” Prigozhin mentioned in an audio recording shared by his press service on Thursday. “You might be idiots in case you assume you might be doing a service to the authorities. You might be really doing them a disservice. There’s a conflict occurring, and you ought to be occupied with how you can save the nation.”

He added, “So the degenerates who personal this Telegram channel, you’ll burn in hell.”

One yr of Russia’s conflict in Ukraine

Portraits of Ukraine: Each Ukrainian’s life has modified since Russia launched its full-scale invasion one yr in the past — in methods each huge and small. They’ve discovered to outlive and assist one another under extreme circumstances, in bomb shelters and hospitals, destroyed condo complexes and ruined marketplaces. Scroll through portraits of Ukrainians reflecting on a year of loss, resilience and fear.

Battle of attrition: Over the previous yr, the conflict has morphed from a multi-front invasion that included Kyiv within the north to a battle of attrition largely concentrated alongside an expanse of territory within the east and south. Follow the 600-mile front line between Ukrainian and Russian forces and take a look at where the fighting has been concentrated.

A yr of dwelling aside: Russia’s invasion, coupled with Ukraine’s martial legislation stopping fighting-age males from leaving the nation, has compelled agonizing choices for tens of millions of Ukrainian households about how to balance safety, duty and love, with once-intertwined lives having turn out to be unrecognizable. Right here’s what a train station full of goodbyes regarded like final yr.

Deepening world divides: President Biden has trumpeted the reinvigorated Western alliance cast throughout the conflict as a “world coalition,” however a more in-depth look suggests the world is far from united on issues raised by the Ukraine war. Proof abounds that the hassle to isolate Putin has failed and that sanctions haven’t stopped Russia, due to its oil and gasoline exports.

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