Almost four weeks after the murder in Berlin of the former Chechen rebel Zelimkhan khangoshvili edition of the German international broadcaster Deutsche Welle reviewed publications of Russian mass media about the murder and found a number of unfounded allegations.
Sensational murder case in Berlin, which on August 23 occurred in the Small Park Tiergarten in the centre of town, was dedicated a number of publications in the Russian media when the international investigative journalists has indicated that this murder can stand the Russian special services. Of a Georgian citizen of Chechen origin Zelimkhan khangoshvili was shot from a pistol with a silencer shot in the back and head. Killed was a field commander of the Chechen separatists, and fought against Russia in the second Chechen war. In Germany, he sought refuge after repeated attempts on his life in Georgia. In Russia he was wanted on charges of terrorism.
American intelligence agencies have stated that the murder are special services of Russia. This is with reference to sources in Washington told the newspaper the Wall Street Journal. In a joint investigation team of journalists from Bellingcat, the German magazine Der Spiegel, and edition of the Insider also proved his involvement in the murder of Russian security services. In the investigation it is noted that the suspect managed to get control on the border of Russia with phantom passport is not listed in any database of Russian citizens, and the specified address does not exist.
– Russian state-run media use the tactics of denigration, distortion, distraction and intimidation
There’s only two possible explanations, and both lead to the secret services: either “Vadim Sokolov” is the name specified in the passport of the suspect was known to the border guards in the field and they were pre-instructed to skip it across the border, either at the time of departure from the Russian Federation Sokolov was still in the database of passports of Russia and removed from it after. This is the scheme of Russian databases removed all traces of the suspects in the assassination of ex-GRU officer Sergei Skripal.
Russia of any involvement in the murder denies. Moreover, the press Secretary of the President Dmitry Peskov declared nothing official Russia two days before the release of the investigation journalists.
As for the Russian media, some of them from the very beginning tried to discredit the victim, according to Deutsche Welle. For this there were various versions – from the Chechen fights to accusations khangoshvili of Islamism. So, despite the absence of any evidence to the publication “Kommersant” on August 29, distributed the version about the guilt of the Chechens. From the evidence in favor of this version – only references to the opinions of unnamed “friends of victims” which “believe” that khangoshvili was a “victim of national violence.” They call the slain “authoritative action,” which could only be killed by a Chechen – Russian and “escaped to Europe ichkerians”.
Later this version with reference to “Kommersant” has extended news Agency “Interfax”.
Without evidence of spread to Russia and a version of the Islamist past khangoshvili. In Germany the victim was removed from the list of people representing the Islamist threat to the country. The list khangoshvili previously made on a tip from Russian intelligence. In the Bellingcat investigation also stated that there was no direct evidence that khangoshvili was supported by Islamic ideology. These charges were denied and the relatives of the deceased, claiming that such stigma on him, tried to put Russia to extradite him.
However, a number of Russian media persistently accused the victim of Islamism, with an emphasis on the ambiguity of his biography. For example, the “Islamist” killed called in the story RT, pointing to his “colorful” past – participation in military operations of the second Chechen war on the side of the field commander, Shamil Basayev, acknowledged international terrorist.
Instead of evidence in some Russian media there has been some speculation about who might be interested in inflating of scandal. Journalists of the Pro-Kremlin channel accused the Western colleagues in the conspiracy and the pursuit of sensationalism. For example, on August 28, the state TV channel “Russia 24” has accused DW of journalists and newspaper Tagesspiegel that both media have allegedly seen in the history of the “Russian trace” only because in this perspective it seems to be “interesting and challenging”. The presenter concluded that the German media “worked a typical Western agenda”, seeing “the Moscow trace in the assassination of Zelimkhan khangoshvili”. He described the coverage of the murder of Western mass-media as “the rapid transformation of journalism in the conspiracy”.
August 26, the Pro-Kremlin newspaper “Vzglyad” has accused the German media of spreading false information for the sake of sensationalism and scandals, explaining that the German newspaper “feel at the weekends the lack of hot material.”
The Russian media also there has been some speculation about when the Berlin murder with the “big seven” or the “Northern stream – 2”, although no obvious connection between this can not be traced.
In the plot of TV channel “Russia 24” commentator has put forward the version that the summit “big seven” German Chancellor Angela Merkel supposedly just needed a “strong case” to convince the members of this Association not to return to Russia in its composition.
In the story published on the website of the so-called “Russian News Agency”, suggested that in fanning murder case in Berlin interested the USA and other European States who allegedly tried to disrupt the construction of the gas pipeline “Nord stream – 2” from Russia to Germany. However, according to the authors, the attempt did not succeed because Germany “firmly withstand all the accusations and threats as is in need of pipe from Russia.”
Russian state-run media use the tactics of denigration, distortion, distraction and intimidation
As stated by the Director of the investigation division of the American analytical company Graphika Ben Nimmo, who reveals misinformation in social networks, “all of this sounds like an attempt to refute the evidence of what actually happened.”
The plot of “Russia 24”, in which she turns journalists the conspiracy theorists, believing the accusations against Russia, “another case of paranoia”, Nimmo calls the tactics of denigration. According to him, it is a direct insult to those who bring inconvenient to the Kremlin news. Them, for example, can be called “Russophobia”, citing fanning conspiracy theories and blaming unproven accusations, often without even considering the evidence.
The Bellingcat team, which conducted investigations on the murder and earlier – shot down in the skies over the Donbass Malaysian Boeing, is such the strongest irritant for Moscow. “The Kremlin has waged a long campaign to demonize the Bellingcat as a source. After all, employees Bellingcat very good at what they do,” explains Nimmo cause irritation of the Kremlin. The expert points out that Pro-Kremlin commentators regularly attack the Bellingcat team, urging the audience not to read it of the investigation and accusing the organization of Russophobia.
Tactics demonizing, according to Nimmo, only one of the four main responses of the Pro-Kremlin media unpleasant to the Russian government news or accusations. The other three are distortion, distraction, and intimidation.
“A distraction is when the Kremlin is being accused of something and he quickly replied that someone else did something similar and just as bad,” explains Nimmo rhetorical device, Recalling that experts, it has been known since Soviet times under the name of “whataboutism” (literally “canaccess”, an ironic name propaganda tactics, when the Soviet Union in response to Western criticism started the answer with “what about…” a similar event in the West).
However, to talk about the outbreak of the Russian side, large-scale disinformation campaign, such as in cases Skripal or MH17, it is too early, he said: “At this stage, the tactics look very similar, however on a smaller scale.”
According to Nimmo, in those cases, the campaigns were very consistent in their promises and lasted a long time. As soon as a new results of investigation, misinformation alive. This time the campaign in Russia will depend on, how will the German government. “If the German government, nothing is going to take and just gloss over the fact, capacity of disinformation can not be expected. But if they will follow the loud statements, then we will see a long campaign,” says Nimmo.