MK Ksenia Svetlova (Zionist Union)
MK Ksenia Svetlova (Zionist Union)Miriam Alster / Flash 90

The Knesset Ethics Committee last week banned MK Ksenia Svetlova (Zionist Camp) from participating in Russian broadcasts under her pen name "Alexandra Kalinina" for the Sputnik radio station, according to several Russian-language Israeli news sites this weekend.

According to an NRG news report, several Russian-language news sites received a recording with a journalist named "Alexandra Kalinina" providing commentary on events in Israel, and her voice was very similar to that of the Zionist Camp MK. The "Sputnik" radio station is considered a mouthpiece for government propaganda in Moscow where anti-Israel positions are usually heard, such that Svetlova's broadcasts are kind of achievement for Israeli hasbara.

MK Svetlova was quoted on Israelinfo responding to the charge, saying that she indeed "participated in the station's broadcasts under my pen name without any compensation". She added that her 'Sputnik' appearances stemmed from patriotism and an aim to balance the one-sided positions of Russian commentators."

MK Svetlova has a record as a journalist, and before entering the Knesset Svetlova served as commentator and reporter on the Middle East for Channel 9, and also appeared on Sputnik broadcasts.

A statement on behalf of MK Svetlova says that "MK Ksenia Svetlova, a specialist in Middle East, provided commentary (free of charge) on the Middle East for 'Sputnik' radio who transmits, inter alia, to Arab countries, and so used her pen name several times. MK Svetlova believes that an objective view of Israel and what is happening here should be shown, and not only the position of commentators who think that Hezbollah is not a terrorist organization - an official position of the Russian government. As soon as the Ethics Committee ordered that it stop, MK Svetlova stopped immediately. It is unfortunate that now the Israeli position will be heard less".