Ukraine crisis: Putin awards pro-Kremlin journalists medals for their 'objective coverage' of Crimea

The Russian president secretly signed a decree awarding the prestigious "Order of Service to the Fatherland" medals

The Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree honouring more than 300 journalists for their “objective coverage” of the events leading to the seizure of Crimea from Ukraine.

The annexation of the southern region has been widely condemned as illegal by the West, with the Prime Minister David Cameron describing the move as “in flagrant breach of international law”.

But Mr Putin has since secretly awarded prestigious "Order of Service to the Fatherland" medals to pro-Kremlin journalists in what is being considered as an escalation of Russia’s propaganda war over the Ukraine crisis.

Mr Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told The Moscow Times: "I can confirm that such a decree was signed, but we usually do not publish them. Now, since this information has become public, we do not plan to add any details about it."

The awards have been received by some executives of Russia's major state-owned television channels and Margarita Simonyan, editor of the pro-Kremlin English-language channel Russia Today (RT), talk-show host Arkady Mamontov and the head of the Federal Mass Media Inspection Service, Aleksander Zharov, whose organisation reportedly blocked access to several popular opposition blogs.

In comparison, no journalists from the independent television channel Dozhd or the radio station Ekho Moskvy, which are more critical of the Kremlin's policies, received the award.

In March, Liz Wahl, the American news anchor for RT resigned live on air in response to the station’s “whitewashed” coverage of events in Ukraine.

Abby Martin, a journalist also working for the network, also made headlines when she went off script to denounce Russia’s military presence in Crimea.

Her remarks led to the station releasing a statement saying they would be sending her to Crimea “to give her an opportunity to make up her own mind from the epicentre of the story”.

Russia Today anchor Abby Martin voiced her personal views live on air Russia Today anchor Abby Martin voiced her personal views live on air However, Russian media deny they are part of a propaganda campaign and accuse Western journalists of bias, a charge that has found fertile ground in eastern Ukraine where some reporters have already been taken hostage or beaten.

Russia's well-organised and well-financed state media have portrayed events in a style reminiscent of the Soviet era, peppering their reports with the message that Ukrainians, as during World War Two, may be cooperating with fascists.

Several Russian newspapers used the same photo on Monday on their front page, showing a man with flames licking up his sleeve as he throws a Molotov Cocktail into the burning trade union building in the Ukrainian city of Odessa, where dozens of pro-Russian separatists died in violent clashes on the streets.

Blaming Friday's trouble on far-right Ukrainian groups, the popular Komsomolskaya Pravda ran a banner headline declaring: "Dirty scumbags!"

A protester walks past a burning pro-Russian tent camp near the trade union building in Odessa A protester walks past a burning pro-Russian tent camp near the trade union building in Odessa Some Russian media also likened the blaze to a World War Two Nazi massacre when all the residents of a Belarussian village were burnt alive.

Other allegations by officials that only drunks and drug addicts follow the pro-Russians have also fallen flat, leaving it to Ukraine's bloggers to vent the widespread frustration with not only the pro-Russians but with their new leaders as well.

"At the time of war, everyone lies," said a post on the ‘Odessa on fire’ website, in a bid to defuse debate over who was responsible for the more than 40 deaths on Friday.

But while much of the Ukrainian blogosphere undermines their leaders, Russian media coverage is helping to boost support for Mr Putin, whose ratings last week hit 82 percent - the highest since 2010.

Sport
The giant banner displayed by Legia Warsaw supporters last night
football
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
News
news
Sport
footballPremiership preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's matches
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
News
Angelina Jolie with her father Jon Voight
people
Arts and Entertainment
Tulisa as a judge on the X Factor in 2012
tvLouis Walsh confirms star's return
Life and Style
fashionClothes shop opens on Bill Clinton Boulevard in Pristina
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
News
i100
Life and Style
life
News
Melissa and Joan Rivers together at an NBC event in May 2014
peopleDaughter Melissa thanks fans for 'outpouring of support'
Life and Style
tech
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SAS Developer - DI Studio - Banking

£450 - £500 per day: Orgtel: SAS Developer, Chester, Banking, DI Studio, £450-...

Recruitment Consultants - Banking & Finance

£20000 - £30000 per annum + OTE £40 - £50K first year: SThree: SThree Group an...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £30000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Do you feel you sales role is li...

Nursery Room Leader

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: JOB DESCRIPTION - NURSERY ROOM LEADER...

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone