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Putin in Mariupol: City Tour in “Paradise”


After his trip to Crimea, Russia’s president also visited occupied Mariupol, according to the Kremlin. The state television releases a propaganda film – in which the destruction of the port city is not an issue.

By Christina Nagel, ARD Studio Moscow

It is a visit that the Kremlin stages in a special way: not as a classic report, but in the style of a documentary. “We are on the territory of the airport,” said Deputy Prime Minister Marat Chusnullin: arrival in Mariupol.

A camera is there as the Russian President and Deputy Prime Minister drive through the city at night. Putin at the wheel. Chusnullin with project descriptions on his lap: “We work around the clock here,” he says.

New roads, new social facilities, new infrastructure, new neighborhoods. Stay tuned for 40 minutes to hear how much the Kremlin is doing to rebuild war-torn Mariupol. Better, more beautiful than ever. “It’s a little piece of paradise that we have now,” says a young woman who meets Putin in Mariupol. He promises her to expand it.

Filmed from the back seat: the Russian President and his Deputy Prime Minister. The photo is from the film released by Russian television on the Mariupol visit.

Image: AP

Briefing on the playground

Surprised, deeply grateful residents meet a humble president – who apologizes for showing up so unexpectedly while allowing an elderly gentleman to show him around one of the new build apartments. “Thank you for coming – we appreciate it,” says the man.

It is a staging in which there is little to see due to the darkness – but which offers everything to bring the decisive message to the people. Even an old school desk in a new children’s playground so that Chuznullin and Putin can study plans for further development. “The heat supply is currently being completely rebuilt,” says Chusnullin, for example.

The people who meet Russia’s president in the film appear happy and grateful.

Image: AP

Another visit to a command post

On the ninth anniversary of the annexation of Crimea, which violates international law, it is important for the Kremlin to once again underline what the Russian state is doing for what it describes as the “liberated areas”. Be it in Crimea or in the port city of Mariupol, which has to be rebuilt because it was reduced to rubble during Russian attacks. However, the latter is not an issue.

The “special military operation,” as the war in Ukraine is called in Russia, continues in all brutality. How and on which front sections, Putin was also informed during the night – during a visit to a command post in Rostov-on-Don.

Putin in Mariupol

Christina Nagel, ARD Moscow, March 19, 2023 12:30 p.m