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 a web-based media firm after he revealed an interview by which the pinnacle of the Wagner mercenary group warned of a possible revolution in Russia and mentioned Moscow’s battle in Ukraine had backfired.

The blogger, Konstantin Dolgov, labored for the Telega Online video mission, which live-streams discussions of reports and politics with a pro-Russian slant on RuTube, a web-based video-hosting web site. The Russian authorities tries to advertise the positioning as an alternative choice to what it considers “unfriendly” YouTube. YouTube is likely one of the few Western web providers nonetheless accessible 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 battle, together with describing prime commanders of the common army 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 well-liked rebellion akin to the Russian Revolution of 1917.

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

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

“The interview came out late Tuesday evening, and early Wednesday morning, I was told that I was fired,” Dolgov wrote on his weblog. “Whoever made the call was likely upset by Prigozhin’s statements, but they can’t do anything to him, so they decided to take it out on the interviewer and fire [me] from everywhere.”

Dolgov claimed that the Telega Online mission was sponsored by the Internet Development Institute, or IRI, a Kremlin mission that produces on-line propaganda and states its mission as “aiding the dialogue between industry, the state and society.”

IRI is run by Alexei Goreslavky, a pro-Kremlin journalist and media supervisor who is understood for dismantling a broadly 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 broadly accessible to odd Russians.

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

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

“I don’t think that Vladimir Vladimirovich [Putin] will be happy to learn that the anchor of Telega Online 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 battle in Ukraine.

Dolgov’s employer denied that he had been dismissed, saying he had deliberate to depart “long before the interview with Prigozhin.”

“We understand that hype always hits the audience better than any balanced position … but the ‘dismissal’ of our respected Konstantin [Dolgov] was not at all as spontaneous as he claims,” Telega Online mentioned in a press release. It accused Dolgov of self-promotion on the expense of the video present. Dolgov known as that assertion a lie.

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

Prigozhin warned in opposition to anybody who would possibly attempt to silence him.

“I will, of course, support Dolgov, but try to shut me up, and we will see how you manage to do it,” Prigozhin mentioned in an audio recording shared by his press service on Thursday. “You are idiots if you think you are doing a service to the authorities. You are actually doing them a disservice. There is a war going on, and you should be thinking about how to save the country.”

He added, “So the degenerates who own this Telegram channel, you will burn in hell.”

One yr of Russia’s battle in Ukraine

Portraits of Ukraine: Every Ukrainian’s life has modified since Russia launched its full-scale invasion one yr in the past — in methods each huge and small. They have 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 battle 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 regulation stopping fighting-age males from leaving the nation, has compelled agonizing selections for tens of millions of Ukrainian households about how to balance safety, duty and love, with once-intertwined lives having develop into unrecognizable. Here’s what a train station full of goodbyes seemed like final yr.

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

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