Russia Stands Up To American "Interference" In Elections, China Celebrates Space Mission

Russian Federation

#1: Gazprom Completes Nord-Stream II

Pro-Government

On September 10, state energy giant Gazprom announced the completion of Nord-Stream II, an undersea pipeline that will allow Russia to bypass Ukraine to reach European markets. Government aligned media met the announcement with a mix of celebration and gloating over Ukraine. Gazprom owns Russia’s largest media holding, and its outlets, such as NTV, the country’s 3rd most watched TV channel, called the move a “geopolitical victory for Russia” and paraphrased Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov as telling Ukraine to “stop begging and show some dignity.Tsargrad TV, a Christian broadcaster owned by Putin ally Konstantin Malofeev, portrayed Europe as desperate for more gas and secretly cheering the completion of the pipeline. 

Opposition

Northern Realities, part of the US-funded USAGM,  framed the completion of the pipeline as a geopolitical device to exert pressure on Ukraine and foster European dependence on Russia. BBC Russian highlighted the threat to Ukrainian energy security in an overview of the project’s history and court battles.

#2: Russian Leadership Stands Up To American Interference in Russian Election

Pro-Government

On September 10, Sergey Lavrov summoned American ambassador John Sullivan to the Foreign Ministry for excoriation over supposed American interference in the upcoming election, as reported by Zvezda, the TV channel of the Ministry of Defense and #9 most watched station, Channel 5 and Izvestia, both part of Putin ally Yuri Kovalchuk’s National Media Group, and state newswire TASS. Moskovsky Komsomolets, owned by Pavel Gusev, the chair of the Public Council of the Ministry of Defense, reported on the supposed discovery that the Smart Voting app, which allowed for organizing among opposition, was American funded. The Foreign Ministry expected the United States to take immediate action to rectify the situation, as reported in Gazeta, owned by the Central Bank, Channel One, Russia’s most popular TV channel and a joint property of the Ministry of Economic Development, National Media Group, and TASS, and TV Center, owned by the city of Moscow.

Opposition

Voice of America, part of the US-funded USAGM, reported on the Lavrov-Sullivan meeting in neutral terms. Radio Liberty shared Navalny’s instructions on how to use Smart Voting despite the official government ban.

#3: Minister of Emergencies Laid To Rest After Death In Accident

Pro-Government

Yevgeny Zinichev, the Minister of Emergencies, former deputy director of the FSB, and General of the Army, died in the line of service on September 8. According to official accounts, Zinichev died trying to save a filmmaker who was producing a documentary on the ministry’s exercises, as reported in Zvezda and Channel One. Moskovsky Komsomolets reported on spontaneous outbursts of memorial for Zinichev in Yakutia, Vladimir, and Chelyabinsk. Putin bestowed the title of “Hero of Russia” posthumously on Zinichev. as reported in Channel One, Channel Five, and Mir-24, part of the Russian-led Commonwealth of Independent States.  

Opposition

Meduza, an independent paper run by exiles in Lithuania, gave a biography of Zinichev which recounted his role in remilitarizing the Emergencies Ministry and the palace intrigue in which he participated. Caucasus Realities, part of USAGM, discussed the possibility that the funeral was a superspreader event as Putin is now in self-isolation.

People’s Republic of China

#1: Shenzhou Mission Returns Safely To Earth

Pro-Government

Chinese astronauts landed safely in Inner Mongolia on September 17 following three months on the International Space Station as part of Shenzhou 12 Mission. Government broadcasters published 263 pieces on the mission this week, led by CCTV, the national state broadcaster, which offered 3D animations of the missionlivestreamed the landing, and triumphant interviews with the astronauts. Coverage of the mission generated over 15M views for CCTV on Weibo over the past week. Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhou Lijian wrote a poem to commemorate the occasion as covered in local government outlets in Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Sichuan, and Zhejiang, among others.

Opposition

BBC Chinese also focused most of its attention on the SpaceX flight, offering profiles of the “inspirational” astronauts who were part of the first all civilian spaceflight crew. VOA Chinese also offered breathless coverage of the flight, giving stage by stage updates as the rocket reached orbit before returning three days later.

#2: The World Bank Conspires Against China

Pro-Government

The World Bank canceled its annual “Doing Business” report, which ranks countries based on ease of doing business, following allegations of undue pressure by the Chinese government. In a piece by Global Times, the tabloid of the Central Committee, reprinted in Hanqui, part of the State Council Information Office, emphasized China’s dedication to “optimizing the business environment, and the relevant achievements are obvious to all,” quoting Zhou. Local papers in Shenzhen, Beijing, and Zhejiang reprinted the same story. 

Opposition

VOA Chinese declared that “The World Bank had raised China's business rankings to increase capital” and quoted a US Treasury official who questioned the integrity of the rankings after the discovery. 

#3: CCP Takes Decisive Action Against COVID Outbreak in Fujian

Pro-Government

Litchi News, part of Jiangsu Provincial Committee’s Television and Radio Company, reported on an outbreak of 56 cases of COVID in Fujian Province as part of a single transmission chain. The outbreak comes after a similar outbreak in Henan led to the disciplining of several local party leaders. Beijing News reprinted a CCTV bulletin on the subject. China Radio International, part of China Media Group which also runs CCTV, offered little information. The government-run Shenzhen Hong Kong website declared “the situation is not optimistic.”

Opposition

Opposition media did not report on the new outbreak.

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