Kremlin media has launched a propaganda blitz claiming a Russian student in Scotland is being harassed because he supports Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine.

Major news outlets, including Moscow’s biggest tabloids, are running stories saying a young man called Andrey Komarov has been victimised at Edinburgh University.

In reporting which echoes official Kremlin talking points about Russians being bullied abroad, several major newspapers quote Mr Komarov alleging his marks had suffered thanks to his “patriotic positions”.

The stories, firmly aimed at a Russian domestic audience, come more than a year after the first reports of tensions between pro-Putin students and Ukrainians and their supporters at Edinburgh after the outbreak of full-scale war nearly two years ago.

Ukrainian students at the university as early as late 2022 said Russian claims of victimisation had been “incredibly upsetting and traumatising”.

Now latest headlines thrust the Scottish capital in the centre of a major propaganda narrative around the alleged mistreatment of its citizens abroad.

READ MORE: David Leask: We can help Russia, Ukraine and ourselves by tackling the flood of dirty money

Mr Komarov claims a campaign of harassment against him was orchestrated by Ukrainian students and Russians and others critical of the Putin regime who tried to get him expelled.

This came after he tried to celebrate Russia’s biggest military parade of the year and then denied some of the best documented atrocities of the conflict, the rape and murder of civilians in the town of Bucha outside Kyiv.

“The harassment began with two events,” Mr Komarov is quoted saying. “First I asked other students to watch the May 9 parade in the hostel and afterwards I had a discussion with a student from Lithuania in which I said that Bucha, in the way that it was represented in Western media, did not happen.”

Mr Komarov, according to the Russian reports, also said that he considered it “unacceptable to criticise my own country”.

The international relations student claimed he was subsequently misrepresented, with his critics suggesting he was trying to incite violence and hated gays.

He added: “I was harassed online and partly in real life.”

Mr Komarov claimed the university did nothing to protect him. He also, in further stories, was quoted saying a “professor” at the university had praised an essay he wrote from a pro-Putin position but had told him that “if you want a good mark you have to write differently”.

The Herald: Russian President Vladimir PutinRussian President Vladimir Putin (Image: free)

The University of Edinburgh did not respond to Mr Komarov’s specific allegations. A spokeswoman said it did not comment on individual cases.

However, she added: "We are committed to promoting a positive culture in which all members of our community treat each other with dignity and respect.

“We do not tolerate harassment of any kind and have processes in place to investigate reports made to us thoroughly.

“The university has robust academic standards in place to ensure that student work is assessed fairly and against the learning outcomes of an assessment.”

The Herald was unable to reach Mr Komarov for comment. The young man on social media demonstrates a significant interest in politics.

He boasts of acting as secretary and treasure of the Edinburgh Political Union, a student group, for a year during which he was in “constant communication with different MSPs and councillors”.

The student also said he had been volunteering for the Scottish Conservatives since March 2022 - shortly after Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

READ MORE: Revealed: Scottish "ghost firms" funnelling dirty money into Russia

This work included working at the party’s Edinburgh HQ. A Scottish Conservative spokesperson said Mr Komarov’s views were “completely at odds with the party’s unwavering support for President Zelensky and the Ukrainian people, so we are investigating this person’s involvement with the party”.

Ukrainians at Edinburgh University late in 2022 were upset after some Russians told a student paper they had been mistreated.

The Ukrainian Society issued a statement condemning some of the rhetoric. “This kind of conduct, the manipulation of facts, deliberate spread of disinformation, and tolerance to all of the mentioned, is precisely the reason why the illegal Russian full-scale invasion of Ukraine is happening today,” it said.

“These sentiments were routinely expressed and left unchallenged for years before, probing the kind of illegal violent escalation Ukraine has been suffering.”

Some Russian students, meanwhile, have said they cannot openly speak about the war without potentially serious consequences.

The Putin regime has criminalised criticism of the Russian armed forces or the so-called “special military operation” in Ukraine.

The Russian government has repeatedly claimed its citizens are under attack outside its borders.

The Herald: Prime Minister Rishi Sunak walks with President Volodymyr Zelensky (right) during a visit to the Presidential Palace in Kyiv, UkrainePrime Minister Rishi Sunak walks with President Volodymyr Zelensky (right) during a visit to the Presidential Palace in Kyiv, Ukraine (Image: free)

There have been some documented cases of Russians - or people mistaken for Russians - being abused or attacked in the UK since the full invasion.

But the “harassment of Russians” is a familiar refrain in Kremlin media, especially over the last two years.

Senior regime figures, such as foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, have accused western governments of oppressing Russian world views.

Echoing culture war narratives about free speech from the US right, Zakharova has said the “woke” West is cracking down on “alternative thinking”.

The remarks from Mr Komarov were initially made to a state news agency RIA Novosti and then carried in all major newspapers, including the major tabloids Argumenty i Fakty and Komsomolskaya Pravda.

It was RIA Novosti which kickstarted viral false claims that Scotland’s 2014 independence referendum was rigged.

The agency’s parent company was officially sanctioned by the UK Government in 2022 because of its “lies and deceit” over Ukraine. The agency itself is sanctioned in Canada.