Over the past few weeks the Russian media has been gradually, but steadily, in waves, pumping up the narrative claiming that the Ukrainian Armed Forces are “plotting an offensive” in Donbas. Such a simultaneous and persistent circulation of the same statement by multiple outlets, in the absence of actual preparations for an offensive on the part of Ukraine, suggests that Russia could in fact provoke another escalation of conflict, for example, through some sort of violent act of sabotage.
Throughout this time, I’ve been closely watching the information flow seething in the hybrid media, its nature and structure. While previously their whole point was to distribute spins, so to say, remotely, trying to distance themselves, now they’ve started playing hard.
The thing is that Russia, in tailoring provocations, always acts by the same classical scheme. On the eve of the impending act of sabotage, journalists (read operatives of one of Russia’s intelligence agencies) are deployed in the designated area to appear at the scene at the right moment. During active hostilities in Donbas, not all Russian journalists worked by to this scheme, but only those who enjoyed a special status.
For example, Alexander Kots and Dmitry Steshin, could be called the two harbingers of trouble, as almost all settlements they visited would suddenly come under fire. And of course, they claimed it was Ukraine’s Armed Forces who were shooting. According to the investigation, in almost all such cases, the shelling came from the non-government-controlled territories, which testified to the acts of sabotage on the part of these wannabe “journalists”, who are in fact Russian military intelligence operatives.
I had to make such a lenghty preface to make sure readers understand that a Russian journalist today is not an enthusiastic professional craving to shoot a hot report and striving to get to the bottom of the truth. Actually, it’s not even a gear of a propaganda machine as many believe. In fact, a Russian journalist is more often a spy and/or saboteur. And one such figure working on the clandestine front of the media domain has recently surfaced in Donbas.
Yesterday, an interview was published with Denis Pushilin, taken by Russian journalist Daria Aslamova. The interview, in fact, deserved absolutely no attention, since it was replete with classic propaganda, lies and manipulation, including on the topic of some kind of an “offensive” being plotted by the Armed Forces of Ukraine in Donbas. But the interviewer does deserve our attention though. After all, even though Daria Aslamova hasn’t earned such a toxic reputation as Kots, Steshin, Pegov and other “journalists” throughout the years of bloodshed in Donbas, her contribution to subversive journalism was much greater than that of her mentioned colleagues combined.
Daria Aslamova is not just a journalist with the Komsomolskaya Pravda, a newspaper supervised by the Russian defense ministry, some of whose correspondents are officers on active duty. Daria Aslamova is not some cannon fodder, who no one would care to lose in the conflict zone as an expendable. The lady has been put on black lists in Ukraine, Turkey and a number of other countries as a spy, an exposed agent of the Russian military intelligence.
In 2017, traveling with a Croatian passport, she tried to fly to Moldova’s Chisinau via Romania’s Bucharest. She never went beyond the airport though, since she could not clearly explain the purpose of her visit. It is also known that Aslamova during an interview with the security and immigration spoke Croatian, claiming she had “forgotten Russian”!
Daria Aslamova’s husband is Croatian journalist Robert Valdeca, a Russian asset in Croatia, as well as a provocative element of Russia’s propaganda projects throughout Europe.
For example, it was he who sparked interreligious clashes in Paris, organizing and taking a direct part in putting up posters in support of the Marine Le Pen’s National Front (funded by Russia) in the Muslim quarters of the French capital. He also is a frequent guest of Croatian TV shows where he regularly criticizes the EU’s migration policy…
As they say, what a couple God’s created! Or, to be more precise, the GRU’s created…
This couple has already been spotted working toward destabilization in Spain through the crisis in Catalonia, in Sweden – as supporters of protests against “violent” migrants, and in Germany – as strong supporters of the rightist AfD party…
In 2020, she covered the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, making staged reports about the shelling of settlements by “Azerbaijani rocket artillery” and telling other sentimental stories about Azerbaijani “fascists”.
The appearance of Daria Aslamova in Donbas and the interview taken with Denis Pushilin suggests that at least the hawkish part of handlers of both Pushilin and Aslamova is serious about escalation in eastern Ukraine. And such escalation would be impossible without some act of provocation.
It is not yet clear whether it will be Aslamova who will cover this particular provocation. In any case, she doesn’t stay long in any hot spot as Kots or Pegov do. Her trips are of a short-term and high-precision nature. That is, if the goal is to have Aslamova cover the upcoming provocation, it will take place within two to three days. If, on the eve of such provocation, the goal was to interview Pushilin as a propaganda element for domestic use, then the task has been completed. But I don’t believe Aslamova would be deployed from her cozy home in Croatia to perform such a simple function.
In any case, whatever the developments will be in Donbas in the coming days, agent Aslamova has fulfilled her function before returning to Croatia, where local law enforcement and security agencies don’t seem to care that an actual Russian spy and saboteur lives in their country unimpeded.
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