Most Americans disapprove of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, according to a recent poll that was conducted shortly after the ruling. Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s mouthpieces on state TV have been utterly giddy about this development—but not because they oppose abortion.
The Soviet Union became the first state in the world to legalize abortion in 1920, and the practice has remained popular in post-Soviet Russia. Putin has resisted proposals from other government officials seeking to outlaw the procedure.
What thrilled Kremlin propagandists is that the ruling sharply divided American society—a bonus for Russia at a time when any distraction from its brutal invasion of Ukraine is relished.
“What’s happening in America right now is very interesting,” said Vladimir Solovyov during Monday’s broadcast of his show, The Evening With Vladimir Solovyov on channel Rossiya-1. Discussing the Supreme Court’s ruling, the host sniped: “America was proclaiming that it is winning, that its liberal values have triumphed, but suddenly, here’s this law that prohibits abortions.” Solovyov accused pro-choice activists of “satanism” and mimicked their cries, distorting his voice and his facial expressions to demonstrate his disgust as he yelled out the words: “My choice.” The contradiction of mocking both the law and those who oppose it seems perfectly reasonable in Moscow, where Western divisions are highly valued and America as a whole is loathed in pro-Kremlin circles.
Solovyov added: “Currently, the world is not only descending into war, but it is also descending into total dictatorship. Americans will have to tighten the screws on everything happening within their country. The next law to be revisited is the one about homosexual marriages.” The state TV host predicted that overturning additional rulings “will rip America to shreds.” In a message to U.S. conservatives, Solovyov said: “Tsk-tsk-tsk, we understand you so well. Come to us, we’ll give you a plot of land you can develop.” Immediately flip-flopping from supposedly agreeing with the stance of the conservatives, the host went on to criticize the ruling: “What do we see? The savage violation of all freedoms in America.”
Political scientist Sergey Mikheyev asserted: “I don’t believe that democracy ever existed, but if it did, I’m certain that we’re witnessing the era of its disintegration.” Betraying his distorted view of what democracy means, Mikheyev claimed that if Russia was a democratic country, Boris Yeltsin and other former government leaders would have been shot, or at the minimum be tortured and driven all over Russia in a cage for public viewing. In a crude tie-in to Russia’s current territorial pursuits, Mikheyev speculated that if the will of the people was ever in play, upon the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Russia would grab as many territories as it could. He opined: “Ukraine wouldn’t be left with much of anything except for Kyiv, and even that is questionable... We would have choked the Baltics and driven over them, back and forth.”
Mikheyev implied that the recent ruling is a deliberate distraction, artificially crafted by the Democrats to affect the outcome of the upcoming midterm elections, without attempting to explain the mechanics of his conspiracy theory. Alluding to the idea of a civil war that would split America, he proceeded to argue in favor of dividing the United States “into Southerners and Northerners,” and playing both factions against each other.
Political scientists pointed out that the topic of influencing popular opinion in the U.S. is a frequent one in Russian media circles: “We often question whether we should or shouldn’t influence things in the United States America.” Mikheyev suggested: “We should be telling the confederate Republicans: the Northerners are totally out of control... to the Northerners, we’d say, ‘Those backward confederates, they’re totally out of touch.’ If there is such an opportunity, we should be talking to all of them: the far right, the far left. Of course, it is very difficult and very expensive.” Mikheyev argued with his imaginary opponents: “Anything is possible, if there is a will to do it.“
Deputy dean of World Politics at Moscow’s State University, Andrey Sidorov was equally gung-ho for Russia to exploit America’s internal divisions: “When they talk about abortions, that is a much wider issue. That goes to states’ rights... I am in favor of states’ rights! The way they plan to split our country up, we should be supporting states’ rights... If that movement keeps going in the right direction, it won’t split into South and North, but into two coasts and the center.”
This idea isn’t new, as the Kremlin has been courting fringe, ultra-nationalist and secessionist parties to destabilize the U.S., NATO and the EU for years. Discourse over abortions merely provides another wedge to widen the societal divide in America.
“They will most likely perish. This demise won’t happen all at once, but the decline of the modern Roman empire is underway,” pundit Andrei Sidorchik concluded on Monday morning’s episode of 60 Minutes, adding that the “schizophrenic” West has no future.
In the same vein, during Solovyov’s show, Kira Sazonova of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration argued that “considering that today’s America is the front man of the world that is based on fundamental injustice, it’s logical to suppose that—whether it takes 3 years or 30 years—this colonial, exploitative system is going down.”
With smug satisfaction, Solovyov surmised: “They were all so concentrated on their confrontation with Russia, they didn’t even notice that they’re losing America.”