The Kremlin’s mouthpieces are drawing comparisons between Donald Trump and tortured Russian dissidents following news of the former U.S. president’s indictment.
Aug 5, 2023
Photo Illustration by Luis G. Rendon/The Daily Beast/Getty
The latest indictment of former U.S. President Donald Trump remains one of the hottest topics in Russia. In the past, Moscow’s top propagandists frequently voiced their hope that in 2024, Trump will return to the Oval Office and immediately halt military aid to Ukraine, which would boost theKremlin’s failing invasion.
Seemingly caught off-guard by this development, state media mouthpieces are resorting to outrageous comparisons between the pending criminal cases against Trump and the Kremlin’s treatment of dissidents like opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who was poisoned, jailed and today sentenced to an additional 19 years in prison on charges of alleged “extremism.” The talking point was apparently considered valuable enough to circumvent the unspoken rule of not mentioning Navalny’s name on Russia’s tightly controlled state TV networks.
During his Thursday’s morning show, Full Contact, decorated pro-Kremlin propagandist Vladimir Solovyov was joined by Dimitri Simes, former president of The Center for the National Interest, who was previously featured in the Mueller report. Solovyov told Simes, “Just recently, America was screaming at Russia and other countries, ‘How dare you touch Navalny and others?’ Meanwhile, they were saying things that were much more seditious than what Trump said!”
Simes blamed Trump’s former attorneys for the charges he is now facing and added, “When it comes to political repressions, Biden’s regime is capable of anything.” Solovyov chimed in to add, “You can get to a civil war this way!”
Solovyov bitterly pointed out that U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan, who will preside over the trial for Trump’s four criminal charges, had also sentenced Maria Butina. Simes expressed his dissatisfaction about Butina’s prosecution, claiming that it raises questions about Chutkan’s “qualifications and judicial temperament,” bemoaning the fact that Trump is stuck with this particular judge.
Appearing on Thursday’s broadcast of The Evening With Vladimir Solovyov, political scientist Dmitry Kulikov used Trump’s prosecution to argue that a fascist dictatorship is being established in the United States by the deep state. Karen Shakhnazarov, Director of Mosfilm Studios, concluded: “They are correct in realizing that Trump will quickly destroy their system, but they want to keep it going.”
Former State Duma member Elena Panina said, “Why are they moving against Trump? Because Trump is a striking representative of white America that still remembers some of its traditions and would like to preserve them… Trump is a strong person, they will keep trying to finish him off! I remember meeting him in 1996, I met with him here in Moscow. He is a strong person, a striking personality! But, as they say, he is a racist, a sexist and does not conform to their LGBT agenda.”
Pundit Dmitry Drobnitsky added: “I understand, Trump had already been recruited by then.” Panina giggled, “Perhaps he was recruited.”
Solovyov claimed that the snowballing of criminal charges against Trump means that Russia should disregard any comments from the United States about law and order. “What is currently happening in America signifies the death of American jurisprudence as a whole!,” he fumed.
Solovyov and his fellow panelists were visibly annoyed by the video clip posted to President Joe Biden’s Twitter account, referring to his alter-ego, “Dark Brandon.” In the clip, Biden takes a sip from a mug, then says: “I like my coffee dark.” Solovyov described the clip as a symbol of Biden’s re-election campaign and expressed his displeasure about its light-hearted nature: “Just pretend there are no problems! Then it will no longer matter what the Russians are doing.”
Meanwhile, on Friday, Navalny was ordered to be imprisoned in one of Russia’s “special regime” colonies, notorious for extremely harsh conditions and brutality towards inmates. The conditions there are so dire that even some pro-Kremlin talking heads were shocked by the sentencing.
“This term is completely staggering! Even people who are unquestionably loyal towards the government were stunned, because this is not just 19 years, but 19 years of a special regime!,” Sergey Mardan, who hosts his own show on the propaganda network Solovyov Live, said on Friday. “No letters or visits for the first 10 years, either solitary confinement or the prohibition on talking to any prisoner sharing the same cell; during any movement on the territory of the colony, prisoners have to maintain a bent over position and remain handcuffed, a bright light is constantly turned on in their prison cell… These are maximally harsh conditions.”