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A Kremlin ‘Reset’ – Putin from ‘Defender of the Russian World’ to ‘Peacemaker’

Staunton, July 10 – Russian public opinion “is being prepared for a change in Kremlin policy” toward Ukraine, Moscow commentators say, with central government media now downplaying the need for and utility of force and playing up the ways in which Vladimir Putin can serve as “peacemaker.”

But this shift in tone, which reflects increasing popular skepticism about Moscow’s approach to Ukraine and elite fears about sanctions and international isolation, does not represent a change in strategy as a shift in tactics because the Moscow media continue to attack Ukraine and Putin equally clearly wants to weaken Kyiv and re-subordinate it to Moscow.

Instead of continuing to set the stage for Russian intervention, an article in yesterday’s “Nezavisimaya gazeta” says, state-controlled media and especially television have shifted the tone and even content of their coverage of events in Ukraine and thus reinforced Russian fears that the situation might be headed “out of control” ( 

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