In Russia, multiple indictments of former U.S. President Donald J. Trump prompted intense coverage and detailed discussions in the Kremlin-controlled state media. Russian propagandists and analysts speculate that the criminal prosecutions won’t hurt their favorite candidate, but only bolster his popularity. Encouraged by their belief that most of the GOP’s top contenders would limit or stop U.S. aid to Ukraine, Russian talking heads nonetheless prefer Trump himself.
Referring to Trump’s booking record in Georgia, reporter Valentin Bogdanov, who is based in New York City, told the audience of 60 Minutes, “Our strawberry blonde! There is only one like him in the United States.” In his report for the evening edition of Vesti on channel Rossiya-1, Bogdanov showcased Trump’s mugshot along with that of Frank Sinatra, Michael Jackson, and Elvis Presley. He mused that in his legal struggle, Trump likely sees his rightful place alongside Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela, like someone “who suffered for the sake of truth.”
During his Saturday show on channel Solovyov Live, Yevgeny Satanovsky continued the same train of thought, lionizing Trump alongside some of the most prominent historic figures: “He is like Nelson Mandela, like Martin Luther King Jr., he is being persecuted by an evil shadow government!” Satanovsky feverishly claimed that Trump might be assassinated, like Abraham Lincoln or John F. Kennedy.
Sentiments aside, Putin’s mouthpieces are considering Trump’s runners-up, in case he is unable to reach the finish line. The Russians initially placed their hopes in Ron DeSantis, whose Russian nickname is “Number Two,” but another contender captured their attention after the first Republican debate. Vivek Ramaswamy became an overnight success in Moscow, because of his geopolitical naiveté and statements about cutting U.S. assistance to Ukraine.
Friday’s broadcast of 60 Minutes included a montage of Ramaswamy’s debate performance set to Johnny Thunder’s 1968 song, “I’m Alive.” Multiple clips of his statements were peppered throughout the segment and featured all over Russian state media, including RT.
Political scientist Vladimir Kornilov pointed out, “What’s most important—the most telling moment—did you hear the excitement in the audience when Ramaswamy said he wouldn’t support continued U.S. aid to Ukraine? There was an ovation in the auditorium! This shows that Ukraine will certainly experience problems!”
Despite being pleased with Ramaswamy’s rhetoric, Kornilov surmised: “The debate has demonstrated that Trump has no real competition within the Republican party.” [Continue reading…]