Defence Minister Calls for Censorship

On 25 March at the Council of the Federation, Russia’s Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, known for excessive boasting about his own achievements that has not escaped criticism, albeit veiled in the Russian media, has called for press censorship over defence issues. For him the freedoms accorded by the constitution were merely a luxury, a fleeting phenomenon of the 1990s.

That a Minister should go this far in public indicates that there is deep unhappiness within the structure of power about his own performance at the head of the Defence Ministry and not just about Russia’s military performance in Syria and the hideous foul-up by military intelligence in the attempted murder of Skrypal’ two years ago in Britain.

If there are, indeed, Western agents within the Russian press or even loose lipped journalists giving away defence secrets, is this not a job for the security services? Of course, it is not really about Western agents or voluble journalists. And, anyway, as has been pointed out in opposition to Shoigu’s ill-considered remarks, the Russian press employs intelligence officers among its postings abroad. On Shoigu’s part the idle boasting and the paranoia evidently go together hand in hand. This was not, perhaps, the most impressive indication of self-confidence we have so far seen from the military in Moscow.


27.03.2020 19:05:00

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