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Profs and Pints DC presents: “Putin’s Image Crisis,” a look at how the Prigozhin mutiny has sparked a new battle for minds in Russia, with Ksenia Turkova, linguist, former news anchor in Russia and Ukraine, and guest lecturer at American universities.
The recent mutiny by Russian mercenary leader Yevgeny Viktorovich Prigozhin and his Wagner Group forces presented a crisis not just for Russian president Vladimir Putin but for the state media tasked with maintaining public confidence in their nation’s leader in the midst of a war with Ukraine.
Up until the last week of June, Putin had carefully cultivated an image of himself as strong, popular, invincible, and irreplaceable. Prigozhin and the Wagner forces waging war in Ukraine on Russia’s behalf were depicted in state media as heroes.
Then, suddenly, the world watched in disbelief as Prigozhin and the Wagner forces withdrew from Ukraine and rolled toward Moscow, calling for change in the nation’s miliary leadership and shooting down Russian aircraft on its way. Although Prigozhin was persuaded to call off that challenge to power, the situation in Russia remains fluid, and Putin’s hold on power appears much weaker than it had been just months ago.
Join Dr. Ksenia Turkova, a scholar of propaganda and veteran journalist for Russian and Ukrainian media outlets, for a talk examining the latest developments in Russia and efforts to control the narrative there. She’ll discuss how Russian state media covered the mutiny and how media outlets that had been hailing Prigozhin as a hero suddenly had to change their settings on the fly. She’ll also look at Kremlin efforts to repair damage to Putin’s image.
Among the questions she’ll tackle: How did the main messages of the Russian state media change after Prigozhin’s mutiny? What narratives does Kremlin try to push now? How did all this affect ordinary citizens’ perception of their nation’s leadership and the war? (Advance tickets: $13.50 plus sales tax and processing fees. Doors: $17, or $15 with a student ID. Listed time is for doors. Talk starts 30 minutes later.)
Image: Portrait of Putin by Victoria Regen (Pixabay). Photo of fire by Virginie Moerenhout (Wikimedia Commons).