Russian trolls targeted one of Vladimir Putin’s strongest media allies this week in a sign of growing defiance in the country. Kremlin’s top propagandist Vladimir Solovyov was discussing the war in Ukraine on his radio show Full Contact when listeners began asking why he was not volunteering to be on the frontline in the war. In extraordinary scenes for Russian state TV, Mr Solovyov starts demanding his production team ban the trolls before getting increasingly frustrated by the questions.
During the influx of questions about his own military service, Mr Solovyov says: “Get rid of these fools!”
He notes one user Elena33 for mocking him, responding: “Elena33, these cursed scumbags!”
He turns to his production team: “Ban the heck out of these cretins. Get rid of them and quickly!
“I told you to ban that fool Elena33. Why didn’t you ban her yet?
“Are you going to work today or just fool around?”
He accused his team of “sleeping” on the job, before reading a comment from user Konstantin who asked Mr Solvyov to show his own heroism on the frontlines.
The furious host responds: “I went there more than once, where are you? Where are you dirtbag?”
However, the Kremlin mouthpiece does not clarify the role he had during his visit to Ukraine.
Moments before the trolls attacked him, Mr Solovyov had demanded the death penalty for any Russian soldier who deserts their position on the frontline.
Meanwhile, President Putin appears to be losing his grip on former Soviet bloc allies as Russia’s influence wanes.
In a deliberate snub of the Russian leader, Armenia asked the French president, Emmanuel Macron, to chair peace talks with Azerbaijan.
Armenia has traditionally served as an ally to President Putin
The snub follows comments from another traditional ally Kazakhstan, whose president, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev criticised Russia’s war in Ukraine at the UN general assembly in September.