'Putin is Caesar': Russia's Media Reacts to Syrian Airstrikes

Russia's pro-Kremlin media have gone into overdrive in covering Moscow's ongoing airstrikes in Syria against ISIS and other groups, with the Ministry of Defence holding press briefings twice a day to broadcast updates on its operations.

Russia's main state news channel Perviy Kanal cited security sources in its evening broadcast declaring "the rebels are helpless against Russia's aircraft, their camouflage and dated ground missiles are useless, they cannot move in the dark hours."

The news anchor boasted that "every few hours the militants lose parts of their infrastructure."

In the early hours of Friday morning, state-owned daily Rossiyskaya Gazeta published praise of Russian airstrikes from local Tatar Muslim leaders who assert that they "fully endorse" Russia's actions in fighting ISIS. The piece runs with the headline "A Real Step" above an image of a Russian airstrike.

As it enters its third day of airstrikes, the Russian Ministry of Defence has made images and videos from its operations readily available. The first of these videos gathered 4 million views after being online for just over two days.

Popular Moscow independent daily newspaper Moskovskiy Komsomolets has been reporting each update from the Ministry of Defence, including its boasts that Russia is hitting ISIS groups from heights of 5,000 metres.

Pravda, the successor publication to the once infamous national Soviet daily, questioned the success of allied airstrikes, begging the question "did Washington willingly spare the terrorists or was the U.S. air force simply in no condition to handle the situation?"

Meanwhile national daily Komsomolskaya Pravda, once a proud mouthpiece of the Communist Party's youth wing during the Soviet Union and now one of Russia's biggest tabloids, took on the international opposition to Russian airstrikes.

Reporting on Thursday's objections by the U.S., Saudi Arabia, France and other countries that strikes appear to be hitting civilian and non-ISIS targets, the paper runs the headline "The West Fears Russia's Blitzkrieg in Syria."

Moskovskiy Komsomolets published its interpretation of U.S. warnings that Russia's previous airstrikes had hit northwestern Syria, where ISIS have no discernible presence with the headline, "The White House Casts Doubt Over Russia's Success in Syria."

Independent publications such as Vedomosti, a sister publication to the Financial Times and Wall Street Journal, and liberal newspaper Novaya Gazeta were more critical. Novaya Gazeta's front page on Friday questions whether Russia hit terrorist targets during its first few strikes in northwest Syria with the headline "Off target?"

While independent business daily reported Kommersant, which is sometimes critical of the government, largely focused on Friday's talks in Paris, it published an account of Syrian journalist Mudar Heyerbek, who stresses the positive response to airstrikes by the Syrian people in Latakia.

"All Syrian people are rejoicing," he told Kommersant's online radio. "On the streets everyone is happy, they're all saying 'Russia is great. Putin is great. Putin is Caesar.'"