Hindustan Times (Delhi) - - HTINSIGHT - Reuters let­ters@hin­dus­tan­

MOSCOW: The Krem­lin wants good news.

The Rus­sian lead­er­ship has told ma­jor com­pa­nies to sup­ply it with news sto­ries that put its stew­ard­ship of the coun­try in a pos­i­tive light, ac­cord­ing to doc­u­ments seen by Reuters.

A seven-page doc­u­ment spelled out the kind of ar­ti­cles re­quired, with a fo­cus on new jobs, sci­en­tific achieve­ments and new in­fra­struc­ture, es­pe­cially those in­volv­ing state sup­port. It also de­tailed how the sto­ries should be pre­sented, and gave a weekly dead­line for sub­mis­sions.

The in­struc­tions were sent last month by the en­ergy min­istry to 45 com­pa­nies, in­clud­ing Ros­neft, Lukoil and No­vatek, ac­cord­ing to a sec­ond doc­u­ment, a re­ceipt.

The drive co­in­cides with the run-up to a pres­i­den­tial elec­tion in March next year, when Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin needs a strong man­date with high turnout to main­tain his grip on power.

“Life for the ma­jor­ity of peo­ple has be­come calmer, more com­fort­able, more at­trac­tive. But many such ex­am­ples of­ten escape the me­dia’s at­ten­tion,” said the first doc­u­ment.

“Our task, through a cre­ative and painstak­ing ap­proach, is to se­lect such top­ics and sub­jects and of­fer them to the me­dia.”

That doc­u­ment, which did not men­tion the elec­tion, said the news items to be supplied were to feed a “pos­i­tive news wire” and should cor­re­spond to two themes: “Life is get­ting bet­ter” and “How things were; how they are now”.

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