Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov published an op-ed on Monday that left many readers bewildered. “In a number of Western countries, students learn in school that Jesus Christ was bisexual,” Lavrov said. Aside from a single viral post on TikTok featuring a child’s ramblings, there doesn’t appear to be any suggestion – let alone evidence – that such a program is actually being taught.
Far from being simple it does not follow, Lavrov’s reflections appear to be part of a larger program. In fact, they seem to fit perfectly into the strategy pursued by the Kremlin’s elaborate propaganda ecosystem.
The topic of inappropriate classes taught in Western schools surfaced last week on the state television show The evening with Vladimir Soloviev. Margarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of state media RT, claimed to have personally helped several foreign families in the hope of settling in Russia. The reason for their desired move, said Simonyan, is what the children learn in school. Reminding the public of Simonyan’s status as a prominent Kremlin insider with direct access to the Russian president, host Vladimir Soloviev immediately hinted that Simonyan should speak directly to Putin to speed up the process.
In January, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told Soloviev that she had received a flood of inquiries from U.S. supporters of Trump imploring him to provide information on obtaining the Russian nationality. She seemed particularly impressed with communications from a certain blogger, who immigrated to the United States from the USSR and was now interested in returning to Russia, allegedly fearing “repression”. Zakharova did not say if she was talking about the Russian YouTuber who posted videos on Capitol Hill on January 6 and then went to Russian state television to blame “antifa” for the violence.
The Kremlin has long toyed with the idea of attracting Western supporters – and even potential emigrants – to side with Russia, and even settle there. A flood of Steven Seagals would fuel Putin’s claim that Western democracies have lost their credibility and appeal. In 2018, a photo of Trump supporters wearing T-shirts that read “I’d rather be a Russian than a Democrat” was proudly featured in Russian state media as proof of the growing popularity of the Kremlin to American Republicans. A recent opinion poll confirmed that Putin is more popular than President Biden among Republican voters.
– Vitaly Tretyakov, Dean of the School of Television at Moscow State University.
Simonyan enthusiastically said: “More and more people see our country – and Putin as its leader – as the epitome of where they can run, as the West was for the former Soviets. She bragged that her medium receives a lot of support from the English-speaking public, saying this proves the massive disenchantment of average Western citizens with their governments and popular ideologies.
Russia’s approach to wooing Trump supporters has proven to be fairly straightforward: appealing to their belief that so-called “political correctness” threatens their livelihoods and even their future. In developing their tactics, pro-Kremlin propagandists rely heavily on material broadcast by Fox News, with clips featuring Tucker Carlson appearing regularly on Russia’s most popular state television programs.
Without even trying to hide his joy about the divisions in Western countries, Simonyan said, “What is happening there honestly brings me joy. For the first time in Russian history, at least in the last 200 years, she has a unique opportunity to become the boss of her own local ideology, which we couldn’t accomplish with communism.
The RT chief explained in detail the permanent purpose of state propaganda: “Russia is becoming the last refuge of a normal person. She clarified that a normal and “healthy” individual is someone who does not agree with the liberal goals and ideas of Western countries, which she called “totalitarian liberal fascism”. “This is so absurd,” she moaned, referring to the American public discourse on cultural appropriation, systemic racism and LGBTQ rights. The host mockingly proposed the idea of a “straight pride” event, and Simonyan enthusiastically played the game. Ignore the damning statistics and contradict those of RT reports, Simonyan boldly asserted that no discrimination based on gender, ethnicity, race or sexual orientation exists in Russia. ” We are different. I hope we will continue to be different, ”she proclaimed.
Other great propagandists like Dmitry Kiselyov drew absurd parallels between the prosecution of the Capitol rioters and the suicide of John McAfee, claiming that McAfee committed suicide because he was so afraid of the corrupt American justice system. “America has forever lost its moral leadership in the world,” he argued in his Sunday program Vesti nedeli on the Rossiya-1 channel.
The program alleged that whites in America were “hated” and subjected to “mass humiliation”. Vesti nedeli featured Fox News clips featuring Tucker Carlson, who claimed that critical race theory amounts to racism against whites. Earlier in June, a popular tabloid Komsomolskaïa Pravda ruled that President Joe Biden “declared white Americans the main enemies of the United States” and vowed that Russia would not help the United States in its fight against supporters of white supremacy.
Shortly after the Capitol riot, the host of the state television show 60 minutes, Olga Skabeeva, described the death of Ashli Babbitt as an example of “the negroes lynching the whites”. In the weeks following the attempted Capitol uprising, Soloviev complained that unlike George Floyd, Babbitt was not buried in a golden coffin and pondered aloud why there was no movement. titled “White Lives Matter”.
With Russia positioning itself as the anti-revival empire, it is ready to attract more Western supporters by any means necessary. On Soloviev’s show last Friday, Vitaly Tretyakov, dean of the Moscow State University TV School, suggested: “It’s time to move on to more active measures – and I’m not talking about it. to send ships into their territorial waters. I mean send political ships. Do you want me to spell it?
Simonyan quickly intervened, preventing his fellow propagandist from divulging too much. “No need,” she said.