Freedom of the press, a question of perspectives. The Russian government returns to lash out against Maurizio Molinari . According to Maria Zakharova , spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry, a recent editorial by the director of the Republic would be “a delightful nonsense”. It dates back to five days ago, and is called “Putin’s grip on the European Union”.
Molinari lined up the fronts of tension between Europe and Russia: the migrant crisis in Belarus, used by the dictator Alexander Lukashenko as a means of pressure against the EU; the maneuvers of 90,000 Russian soldiers near the Ukrainian border; the gas match, with the Gazprom Nord Stream II pipeline now completed. That of Vladimir Putin, explains the journalist, it is “a hybrid threat” and has the intention of “generating parallel crises to squeeze the European Union in a vice”.
Moscow did not like the analysis, not even one bit. In fact, it doesn’t happen every day that Sergei Lavrov ‘s powerful spokesperson spills a river of ink to “deny” the editorial of a foreign newspaper. In the long ejaculation, Zakharova alternates journalism lessons with very hard jabs against Molinari and Repubblica.
A selection: for the Kremlin the article by the director of the Rep would be nothing more than a “shameful mission”, a “rant”, “nauseating slander”, “blatant lies”, “an illusion” built to “enter the good graces of russophobic politicians “.
Between one insult and another, the spokesperson draws up a real manifesto of Putin’s foreign policy. Which does not seem to disprove the reconstruction at all. Thus, when Molinari stresses how the massing of Russian troops in Yelna, 260 kilometers from the Ukrainian border, presents a situation not unlike that which preceded the invasion of Crimea in 2014, Zakharova does not deny, indeed, he claims. “I really liked the expression ‘keep him in check’ that you use in reference to Russian politics in Ukraine and personally to Vladimir Zelensky . First of all it is a beautiful expression. Secondly, it doesn’t seem to me that chess is forbidden, true
Or only if the Russians don’t win
Or again, when Molinari recalls the obvious, namely that Nord Stream II “will increase Europe’s dependence on Russian gas imports”, the spokesperson bursts into a rant: “Doctor Molinari, you don’t like Russian gas
very well. I have a great idea: in protest, Maurizio warm his house with copies of La Repubblica ”.
These are harsh tones, too harsh for those who know the etiquette of Russian diplomacy. In all similar to those that, a little more than a year ago, the Russian Defense Ministry used against a special of La Stampa – then directed by Molinari – on the expedition of military-virologists to Bergamo, the column of military tanks marching on the Pontina , the Russian Secret Service officers present in the delegation. It was April 3, 2020, in the midst of the pandemic, and a furious Igor Konashenkov, General of the Defense, closed a flood of insults with an eloquent warning, Qui fodit foveam, incidet in eam, “whoever digs a pit for his neighbor will finish it sooner”.
Zakharova’s response met with considerable success in the social bubble. The tweet of the Russian Embassy in Rome obtained almost 800 retweets in less than a day, most of which from anonymous contacts – so-called trolls – who lash out at Molinari. But the article had an extraordinary rebound: according to Crowdtangle – social analysis program – on Facebook alone it reached an audience of one million people.
A constellation of Russian pages – including the ministry – and a series of pro-sovereign pages, such as “We are with Putin’s Russia” and “Friends of Matteo Salviniin Spain”. There is no shortage of institutional endorsements to the attack by the Russian government. This is the case of Vito Petrocelli , president of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Senate of the 5 Star Movement, who is convinced that the director of Repubblica wants to “crack the relationship between Italy and Russia”.

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