Russian media watchdog blacklists outlets linked to Wagner mercenary chief

1 July 2023, 17:04

Yevgeny Prigozhin
Russia Mutiny Mysteries. Picture: PA

The move came after an apparent insurrection by the group last week.

Russia’s media watchdog has blacklisted at least five outlets affiliated with Wagner mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin and blocked their websites in Russia.

The move came after Wagner fighters took control of a Russian military headquarters and advanced on Moscow in what appears to have been an attempted insurrection.

As of Saturday, websites of the RIA FAN news agency and four online news portals controlled by Mr Prigozhin’s Patriot media holding company – People’s News, Neva News, Politics Today and Economy Today – were listed on a register of blacklisted sites maintained by the communications watchdog, Roskomnadzor.

Unconfirmed reports in Russian news outlets on Friday claimed that Mr Prigozhin himself had ordered a shut down of St Petersburg-based Patriot.

Mr Prigozhin has not directly confirmed or denied the reports.

Wagner Group
Members of the Wagner Group military company guard an area as other load their tank onto a truck on a street in Rostov-on-Don, Russia. last Saturday (Kommersant Publishing House via AP)

Patriot, founded in 2019 to bring together Mr Prigozhin’s media and internet assets, included the Internet Research Agency, the so-called “troll farm” linked to Russian attempts to meddle in US elections.

Patriot director Yevgeny Zubarev said this week that the Internet Research Agency, which was tasked with conducting online influence operations to advance Russian interests, had operated under Mr Prigozhin’s control since 2009 before being brought under the Patriot umbrella.

In the run-up to the 2016 US presidential election, Internet Research Agency employees regularly posed as Americans to offer financial help to US protest movements tackling socially divisive topics, according to a 2017 investigation by Russian newspaper RBC.

The investigation, based on accounts from several Internet Research Agency employees, identified more than 100 Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts it said were used to contact US-based activists offering help with organising protests and events, focusing on race relations and gun rights among other front-page issues.

Mr Prigozhin admitted in November that he had interfered in the 2016 US election.

He and his fighters escaped prosecution and were offered refuge in Belarus last week after the president of Belarus helped broker a deal to end what appeared to be an armed insurrection by the mercenary group.

Mr Prigozhin’s media group encompassed dozens of media outlets, including RIA FAN, the news agency whose US subsidiary USA Really pilloried “mainstream media” and praised then-president Donald Trump in its mission statement.

By Press Association

Latest World News

See more Latest World News

Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories is unlawful, the International Court of Justice has ruled

Top UN court rules Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories 'unlawful', as Netanyahu slams 'false decision'

Shaikha Makhra announced her split on Instagram

Dubai princess announces divorce from husband via Instagram 'as he is occupied with other companions'

Evan Gershkovich, a Wall Street Journal reporter, was detained last March on spying charges

American journalist jailed for 16 years in Russia after being convicted of espionage

Dominic Reid and Prince Harry

Prince Harry's charity boss quits as head of Invictus Games days after duke sees backlash over veterans' award

CrowdStrike sign and logo at headquarters in Silicon Valley

What is CrowdStrike, the cybersecurity company ‘responsible’ for global IT failure? Microsoft outages explained

Keir Starmer welcomes Volodymyr Zelenskyy to Downing Street

Starmer greets Zelenskyy as Ukrainian President becomes first foreign leader to address UK cabinet since Bill Clinton

The outage is being felt across the world

Global IT outage LIVE: CrowdStrike outage could be ‘biggest cyber incident in history’ as GP surgeries and banks hit

Trump recounted the shooting on Saturday

'I'm not supposed to be here': Emotional Donald Trump recounts assassination attempt in first speech since shooting

Nancy Pelosi has said 'Biden can be convinced to quit the presidential race'

Nancy Pelosi 'says Biden can be convinced to quit race', after Obama says he 'must seriously consider' stepping aside

Obama tells allies Joe Biden must 'seriously consider' presidential bid

Obama tells allies Joe Biden must 'seriously consider' presidential bid as campaign hits back at 'baseless conjecture'

Six people were found dead at a luxury hotel in Bangkok died from cyanide, including Sherine Chong (left)

US woman insisted on making tea for victims before poisoning them in cyanide murder-suicide plot at Bangkok hotel

It follows a sharp rise in the number of abusive messages sent via the bank's app.

Santander bans swear words when sending money after abusers use 1p bank transfers to bypass restraining orders

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen reacts after the announcement of the vote at the European Parliament in Strasbourg

Ursula von Der Leyen wins second term as top EU leader

US President Joe Biden

Joe Biden ‘more receptive to standing down after senior Democrats turn on President’ as he battles Covid

Vance hailed Donald Trump as America's "best hope".

Donald Trump is the 'best hope for America', says vice-president pick JD Vance

Jessica Lawson drowned on a school trip in 2015

French lifeguard and local council found guilty of manslaughter after Brit girl, 12, drowned in lake on school trip