he Kremlin issues weekly guidance to its state media for instructions on what themes to cover, and who or what should be given positive or negative coverage. These are weekly verbal meetings between media executives and Kremlin officials. But experts cautioned against attributing everything in Russian media as a direct message from the Kremlin. 'When Russian state interests are not directly at stake, there is always much less evidence of a coordinated script, and much more leeway given to media outlets and presenters', said Stephen Hutchings, Professor of Russian Studies at the University of Manchester.
'With a story such as the Coronavirus in which Russian interests […] coincide with those of other countries, there is little sign of a single, coherent narrative.' Dmitrii Simes, one of the moderators of 'The Big Game' on which the Porton Down claims were made, repeated several times during the programme that he did not believe the conspiracy theories surrounding Coronavirus.