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regular-article-logo Thursday, 20 June 2024

Moskva gives Kremlin a headache

At least 10 families have publicly voiced their frustration about getting conflicting reports about whether their sons are alive, missing or dead

Neil MacFarquhar, Alina Lobzina Published 22.04.22, 02:48 AM
The Moskva, sank last week, the authorities said that the entire crew of more than 500 had been rescued

The Moskva, sank last week, the authorities said that the entire crew of more than 500 had been rescued File Picture

Russia’s biggest military loss so far in the Ukraine war is also becoming something of a liability for the Kremlin’s propaganda machine.

After Russia’s flagship in the Black Sea, the Moskva, sank last week, the authorities said that the entire crew of more than 500 had been rescued. But there has been no official update since, and families of missing crew members are demanding answers about their fate in increasing numbers.

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“They don’t want to talk to us,” Maksim Savin, 32, said in an interview about the quest to find the whereabouts of his youngest brother Leonid, 20, a conscript. “We are grieving; they drafted our little brother and most likely will never give him back.”

At least 10 families have publicly voiced their frustration about getting conflicting reports about whether their sons are alive, missing or dead. Their demands, made on social media or to news organisations, could hurt public support for the war effort ordered by President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.

The official silence on the fate of the Moskva’s crew is part of a larger campaign by the Kremlin to suppress bad news about the invasion and control the narrative that Russians receive on its progress. Putin has blocked access to Facebook, and enacted a law to imprison anyone spreading “false information” about the war.

The cause of the sinking was disputed, with Russia claiming that an ammunition magazine exploded and then the damaged ship sank while under tow in rough seas.

New York Times News Service

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