It has been a difficult week for the Kremlin.
For one, a devastating attack on a Russian air base in occupied Crimea had government officials and state media outlets scrambling to convince citizens that Ukrainian forces weren’t responsible for the explosions that rocked the Saki air base, as an exodus of frightened tourists clogged the Crimean bridge and other roadways that connect the occupied peninsula to the Russian mainland.
To make matters worse, the EU has been urged to introduce a travel ban on Russian tourists. The only bright side to that announcement was that at least 69 percent of Russians don’t travel abroad. “The majority of Russians won’t even notice it,” said economic observer Tatiana Remezova during Tuesday night’s broadcast of the news hour Vesti.
And then there’s the Kremlin’s unsustainable spending spree on its war against Ukraine, which, coupled with crushing Western sanctions, contributed to the catastrophic collapse of budget revenues, as reported by Russia’s finance ministry.
Naturally, news from America has served as a welcome diversion for Russian state media in the past few days. The search of former U.S. President Donald J. Trump’s Florida estate provided yet another opportunity for the Kremlin’s top propagandists to besmirch the United States. Russian state television incorporated endless clips of Trump and his allies on Fox News and Newsmax, using them to corroborate their longstanding narrative that American democracy is a sham.
In a surreal twist, news of the raid even prompted some state media bullhorns to suggest that America’s “failing” democracy should be placed under Russia’s wing.
“We need to officially tackle the American democracy, American society, American economy,” Evgeny Popov, the host of state TV show 60 Minutes who also happens to be a member of Russia’s State Duma, said in his Wednesday segment. One of his guests, military expert Igor Korotchenko, proposed that Russia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry should “form a special group that would prepare reports evaluating the status of democracy in the U.S., like statements that used to be created by the U.S. State Department.”
Popov then graced Russian airwaves with his own bizarre suggestion on how to “help” America.
“There are more homeless children in America than anywhere else in the world. These are the official statistics. There aren’t that many impoverished neighborhoods, with medieval levels of poverty, not seen anywhere else—not even in Somalia,” he said. “Clearly, we have to help Americans to deal with this disaster. Of course, we can take those homeless children and raise them—normally, without gays and transgenders, in normal, classic culture. We need to start dealing with this right away.”
The desire of Russian propagandists to “help” the United States was also expressed in their concern for Trump’s well-being and safety. Korotchenko, who previously informally endorsed Trump’s candidacy in the 2024 presidential election, claimed to believe that the former president’s life is in grave danger. In reality, he was simply regurgitating a point made by former New York police commissioner Bernard Kerik on Newsmax, one day earlier. Kerik baselessly suggested to host Eric Bolling that he was worried about the potential “assassination” of Trump in the event he runs for president in the next election.
“This campaign of fomenting hatred in certain circles of American society against Donald Trump can later be converted into a campaign of the political assassination of Donald Trump, at the hands of those who will carry out the orders of the influential circles, which aren’t interested in his return to power. This is a bad scenario, we know the practice of political assassinations in the United States of America,” Korotchenko said. Popov chimed in: “We should ask [Russia’s] Federal Security Service to start protecting our Donald.”
Host Vladimir Solovyov opened Wednesday’s broadcast of The Evening With Vladimir Solovyov by praising Trump’s refusal to answer questions during his deposition by the New York Attorney General’s Office. The host beamed with pride: “Well done, Trump!” Solovyov added: “This is the only good thing I can tell you about the United States of America.” In a theme that was covered all over Russian state media—as though it was the networks’ top assignment for the day— Solovyov condemned American democracy as an “ultra-totalitarian system.”
Vitaly Tretyakov, dean of Moscow State University's School of Television, agreed with Solovyov and asserted: “We [Russians] are the last free generation of humanity.” He claimed that in the West, admitting that you are a Bible-carrying believer is dangerous and could lead to the said person being pelted by rocks. Tretyakov speculated that the new Iron Curtain, enforced through visa bans for the Russians, would turn into the modern-day Berlin wall—with Westerners trying to break through and immigrate to Russia as the last remaining bastion of freedom in the world.
Disingenuous posturing aside, at one point during Wednesday’s broadcast Popov dropped all pretense of a make-believe concern for America. Addressing the United States, he said into the camera: “We ran out of goodwill a long time ago. What we do have is a great desire to rip your horns off.”