This article is part of a series describing major players in the Russian government’s disinformation campaigns.
Once a critic of Kremlin policies, broadcaster Vladimir Solovyov now shills for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s policies. An uncritical Putin supporter, Solovyov uses his television platform to spread Russian government propaganda and disinformation. Although Solovyov previously enjoyed the reputation of an independent journalist, his recent work follows the Kremlin’s line.
In 2013, Solovyov described Crimea as “lawfully belonging to Ukraine.” Following Russia’s illegal occupation of Crimea in 2014, he changed his tune. “Crimea and Sevastopol,” he said, “are once again a part of Russia.”EUvsDisinfo, a European Union project created to monitor and respond to Russia’s disinformation campaigns, counts nearly 200 examples of disinformation on Solovyov’s programs since 2015.
Among Solovyov’s falsehoods:
- Ukrainians are killing their own civilians to frame Russia.
- The British are responsible for the mass civilian deaths in Bucha, because the city’s name sounds like the English word “butcher.”
- The United States intends to destroy Russia and seize its nuclear weapons.
- The poisonings of Sergei Skripal and Aleksey Navalny were Western provocations to blame Russia.
Dmitry Muratov, the independent Russian journalist who won a 2021 Nobel Peace Prize for his investigative coverage of the Russian government, called Solovyov’s methods “hate speech.”
YouTube blocked Solovyov’s channels because he violated the site’s policy on the promotion of violence. The United Kingdom and the European Union sanctioned Solovyov for inciting violence and undermining Ukraine’s sovereignty.
Like other prominent media personalities working for state-run outlets, Solovyov was rewarded for his loyalty. But his luxury real estate in Italy was seized in accordance with sanctions.