It did not become Swan Lake, but Russian state television did not say much on Saturday about the uprising of Yevgeny Prigozhin’s mercenary army. During the 1991 coup against the regime of the last Soviet leader Gorbachev, state television broadcast hours of Swan Lake, one of Tchaikovsky’s most famous classical ballets. Swans entered the collective memory of Russians as a symbol of political turmoil. There were no swans on Saturday, although the state-run Channel One had a hard time acting out the events. First, there was the briefing on Wagner’s chief Yevgeny Prigozhin and the claim that his forces had been attacked by friendly fire. Subsequently, one of the channel’s most popular anchors explained that the latter was fake news.
Putin’s speech about Prigozhin’s “rebellion” and “stab in the back” was broadcast live, but then Russian viewers were shown a feature-length documentary about the life of Putin’s political friend Berlusconi, the recently deceased former Italian prime minister. The Guardian reporter stated that a documentary about caviar was shown on another channel.
Call to support Putin
In the afternoon, the main newsreel showed images from the streets of Rostov-on-Don, mainly intended to show that there was no need to panic and the Wagner Group’s mercenaries attacked civilians. Many authorities, such as former President Dmitry Medvedev and the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, have called on citizens to rally behind President Putin. Social media, where most Russians get their information, exploded on Saturday. There were also films from the streets of Rostov of civilians welcoming Wagner’s mercenaries.
On Sunday morning, the struggle of political doctors, who tried to explain the outcome of the deal with Prigozhin in a favorable way, was especially striking.
Films about Prigozhin’s “march” show battles with the military and jubilant townspeople
Army helicopters attack Wagner units, civilians welcome Wagner groups, block highway to Moscow: Twitter posts and videos show the chaos caused by the Wagner uprising.
“Pop culture enthusiast. Unable to type with boxing gloves on. Analyst. Student. Explorer.”