Vladimir Solovyov may be the most energetic Kremlin propagandist around today. Since 2010, he has served the Kremlin as a prominent radio and television presenter for the state-owned All-Russia State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company (VGTRK). Solovyov, his producers Dina Ayrapetova and Margo Krzhizhevskaya, and his guests flood Russian-language audiences with Guinness World Record-breaking diatribes of anti-Western and anti-Ukraine disinformation, hatred, and vitriol on a daily basis. Solovyov is also very active on social media, especially on Telegram, where he reportedly runs an affiliated network of 17 Telegram channels. In March 2022, YouTube blocked Solovyov’s channels for violating the company’s “incitement to violence” rules because of content “encouraged more bombings in Kyiv, including of civilian targets.” The United Kingdom and the European Union have both sanctioned Solovyov for undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty, and independence of Ukraine.
Novaya Gazeta, an independent Russian newspaper headed by 2021 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Dmitriy Muratov, described Solovyov’s main methods of work as “hate speech, screaming, personal insults and humiliation.” Legendary Russian musician Boris Grebenshikov ridiculed Solovyov’s ardent promotion of falsehoods on behalf of the Kremlin in a song loosely translated as “Evening Bull[crapp]er,” a reference to the “Evening with Vladimir Solovyov” television show.”
Some recent examples of disinformation and propaganda Solovyov spreads on his “Evening with Vladimir Solovyov” television show, the “Full Contact” radio show, and via social media include:
- March 16, 2022: Ukrainians are killing their own civilians to frame Russia, while Russia targets only military targets.
- March 12, 2022: Pentagon is developing biological weapons in Ukraine.
- March 6, 2022: Ukrainians are staging fake Russian attacks.
- February 2, 2022: The United States is planning to impose sanctions on Russian children and seeks to bring chaos to Europe.
- January 31, 2022: Anglo-Saxons dream of a war between Russia and Ukraine.
- January 30, 2022: The UK, Poland and Ukraine plan to attack Russia.
- January 29, 2022: President Zelenskyy is mentally ill, and Kyiv is preparing a massive terrorist attack on the Donbas.
- January 26, 2022: The United States is pushing Ukraine to war with Russia to destroy European economies and make them dependent upon U.S. liquified natural gas.
- January 25, 2022: Ukraine is a Nazi state.
As of March 21, the European Union’s counter-disinformation project EUvsDisinfo had documented 195 instances of disinformation originating from Solovyov’s programs, dating back to 2015.
Novaya Gazeta’s analysis of Solovyov’s career raises doubts about his current deep devotion to the values and the interests of the Kremlin. The newspaper points out that earlier in his career, Solovyov was a respected independent journalist, but he appears to have flip-flopped on certain issues to keep the favor of the Russian authorities. For example, in 2013 he rejected the idea of annexing Crimea, warning it could lead to an unjustifiable war and described the peninsula as “lawfully belonging to Ukraine.” Yet only one year later, after Russia occupied Crimea, he declared: “We did all we could to hasten this day. Crimea and Sevastopol are once again a part of Russia. Historical justice has prevailed!” Solovyov admits to owning luxury real estate in Italy, which was seized under recent EU sanctions, even while he tirelessly demonizes European values and charges the West with “Russophobia.” For his hard pro-Kremlin work, the Kremlin awarded Solovyov a state medal, commending his “objective coverage of events in Crimea” in 2014.