Panama Papers don’t deter Russia

Edited by Nelly T.

The so called Panama Papers revealed a mountain of knowledge supposedly revealing a number of individuals counting world leaders and public officials who might be involved in several forms of financial wrongdoing including money laundering and tax avoidance.

However, coverage in Russia was spottier.

Online media and Russia’s newspapers reportedly reveal that close associated of President Vladimir Putin was among those listed, they supposedly hid money offshore, yet appear to be divided along political lines with the clutch of liberal-minded independent outlets giving the findings generous coverage.

The Panama Papers incident was completely avoided by Russian television stations, such as state-run Rossia 1 and First Channel as well as private stations REN-TV and NTV who failed to mention any aspect of the report on April 4th.

Russian televisions stations which usually established the news agenda’s across the country’s 11 time zones, leading in its place with disclosures of a doping scandal in London, a fire in Tomsk, the Syria crisis and the migrant crisis in the European Union.

Vesti TV station did mention the ICIJ report in a news story on its website in the middle of the night however it was only in relation to allegations that soccer legends Lionel Messi and Michel Platini were implicated. The TV station only mentioned the scandal after the Kremlin reacted, sixteen hours after the news broke.

Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov commented on the report lashing out about “Putinophobia,” claiming the ICIJ staff comprises “many former representatives of the [U.S.] State Department, and the CIA, and other special services.”

Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko was one of the 140 leaders and officials that were linked to offshore dealings in the ICIJ investigation, however Petrov was quoted by Vesti saying that the attack was all about the west dealing a blow to Russia’s head of state.

“Although Putin does not figure factually, and although other countries and other leaders are referred to, and so on, for us, it is of course obvious that the main target of these leaks was and remains our president, especially in the context of future parliamentary elections, and in the context of the long-term prospects.”

Russia’s media started their coverage shortly after the comment was made. Formerly known as Russia Today, English-language broadcaster RT accused western media of purposely concentrating on Putin and Russia regardless of the naming of British Prime Minister David Cameron’s father in the ICIJ report.

“Sections of the British public have slammed their local nedia outlets for ignoring the fact Prime Minister David Cameron’s father was caught up in a massive data leak involving possible tax evasion,” was RT’s leading sentence.