Concerns are swirling in the Kremlin and splashing on the screens of Russia’s tightly controlled state media. Moscow’s grueling invasion of Ukraine and Washington’s possible designation of Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism are at the top of the list, but the upcoming US election is also causing heart palpitations.
After recovering from their initial shock over the FBI’s search for Donald Trump’s Florida estate, Russian pundits and pundits began to dismiss it as a fuss over nothing, though it was a useful story they could use to help US to taint democracy. Now they sing a different tune. In the most recent broadcast of the state television program Sunday Evening With Vladimir Solovyovhost Vladimir Solovyov commented: “I’m very concerned about our agent Trump. They found everything in Mar-a-Lago, they got packages of documents. In all seriousness, they say he should be executed as a person ready was to pass on nuclear secrets to Russia.”
State Department spokeswoman Maria Zakharova appeared on Solovyov’s show and also raged against the alleged persecution of Moscow’s favored former US president. In a bizarre diatribe, she tried to link Mar-a-Lago’s search to Trump’s earlier statement that there are only two genders, male and female. ‘In the West you can’t call a man a man. You cannot call a woman a woman. You can’t call a child a man or a woman until it’s 2-3 years old,’ she bellowed. “In the run-up to the upcoming election campaign, Donald Trump steps in and says, ‘We’ve gone too far. There are only two genders: male and female.’”
Zakharova then suggested that the search of Trump’s property was somehow related to his stance on gender identity. “Immediately, practically momentarily, dozens of US intelligence cars, dozens – nearly hundreds – special agents, FBI and so on searched his house, confiscated boxes of some papers… and started saying he had broken the law… attention – on espionage! In five minutes this man could be declared an American spy.”
Solovyov came in: “[He could be declared] a Russian spy… Shall we try to trade him to get Trump to Russia? Will they include Trump on the prisoner exchange list?” The day before, the host had complained on his radio show about “repression” against Trump and complained about what a terrible mess the US had become. Nevertheless, the decorated Russian propagandist boasted that he was not sanctioned by the United States, even though his visa had recently expired. Pending a better political climate, Solovyov decided not to renew it yet.
Initially believing that better times were ahead and that Trump’s return to the White House was imminent, prominent Russian propagandists dubbed him “the Teflon Don” and predicted he would overcome the FBI investigation if just the final speed bump in his alleged “persecution by the deep state.” Now that more details have emerged, their views have become pessimistic Solovyov Live on Monday, Yevgeny Satanovsky, president of the Middle East Institute, grimly noted that — in light of the baggage carried by Trump — Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, known in Russia as “Number Two,” may have a better bet is for the Republicans. Right now, Russian talking heads aren’t quite sure whether DeSantis was as likely as Trump to befriend Russia and dump Ukraine — but that’s where their propaganda aimed at American voters would supposedly come in.
More than ever, Russian state media is emphasizing the need to influence Americans ahead of the midterm elections and future presidential elections. Kremlin-controlled talking heads hope out loud that Americans will see things their way, choose to focus on internal issues, abandon Ukraine and let go of sanctions against Russia.
In addition to their handy discussion pointsBacked by the likes of Fox News’ Tucker Carlson and former Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, Russian state media has also announced it wants to send news from Russia directly to the US. The evening with Vladimir SolovyovAmericanist Dmitry Drobnitsky said: “The key point of polarization is fast approaching. In November, people in the West need to hear the Russian news, especially given the growing interest… We need to break those barriers, why isn’t anyone doing it? That’s going to be a of the key components of our future success.”