State-controlled media outlets have been banned from quoting the head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, who has been active on social media since the war began, Proekt quotes two TASS employees as saying.
According to the journalists, they have received a strict order to publish news about Kadyrov's statements only after getting authorization from their superiors. Previously, they were free to choose the statements of the head of Chechnya, but now they need the permission of the deputy head of the news agency. In turn, the deputy head of the news agency consults with the authorities on whether the quote is newsworthy. According to the newspaper, that's the reason TASS did not publish Kadyrov's report that 260 Ukrainian Marines had surrendered.
Journalists noted that TASS publishes news on other topics, including economic ones, with delays. Any reports mentioning the war, its consequences for Russia, and the sanctions are discussed for two hours or never released. For example, a piece stating that the idea of accepting payment for gas in rubles would have a «neutral» effect was rejected by the bosses - instead, another commentary was released that boasted of «a blow to the dollar system as such.»
On February 25, a day after the beginning of the war, Kadyrov gathered about 10,000 men in uniform in Grozny to be sent to Ukraine. He also demanded an apology from President Vladimir Zelensky. For more than two months, the head of Chechnya has been making statements about military actions with videos of Chechen fighters, including those from Mariupol, which appear on his Telegram channel.
In March, Kadyrov said Chechen fighters were «liberating building after building in Mariupol» and published footage of his soldiers shooting up a residential building. He also commented on the situation at the Azovstal plant, talking about the extermination of «Azov and Nazis.» In addition, Kadyrov criticized Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov during the war for refusing to denounce as traitors the actors who had left the country and Vladimir Medinsky for his statement on the withdrawal of troops from Kiev. «We won't be making any concessions, Mr. Medinsky has made a mistake, his wording is wrong,» he said.