The Russian government ordered its state-run media to scale back favorable coverage of President Donald Trump amid rising unease among senior Russian officials that the U.S. administration may not be as amicable as expected.
The Kremlin said its decision to curb coverage of Trump was due to a lack of interest in his presidency among Russian viewers, an unnamed official told Bloomberg on Thursday. The official said that in reality the Russian government didn't want to promote Trump's ideas, including his call to "drain the swamp."
Last month, mentions of Trump surpassed those of President Vladimir Putin across state media, marking the first time since 2012 when the Russian leader was reelected.
“They won’t pour buckets of criticism on Trump, they just won’t talk about him much,” said Konstantin von Eggert, a political commentator for TV Rain, Moscow's only independent television channel. “The fate of Russia-American relations is much less predictable than it was just a few weeks ago.”
The order comes as Russia ramps ups provocations against the United States. Russian fighter jets on Wednesday buzzed a U.S. warship in the Black Sea and a Russian spy ship has been patrolling off the East Coast.
U.S. lawmakers and federal agencies are also pushing for investigations into Trump's ties to Russia.
Trump on Wednesday accused Putin of annexing Crimea from Ukraine under the previous administration, writing on Twitter, "Crimea was TAKEN by Russia during the Obama Administration. Was Obama too soft on Russia?”