Much has been said in the past few days of Russian television propaganda, but it might be hard for Westerners to imagine the scope. Except for Americans — here, the comparison is easy. Simply imagine that the major broadcast networks (NBC, CBS, and ABC), are all run by FOX News. Still, ideology might be one thing, but who are the men behind it?
Russia, like the US, has several odious talking heads to choose from. Until recently the most reviled of them was Arkady Mamontov, who has aired several investigations into the Russian opposition that were tendentious, to say the least. In the past year, however, a new man has come to haunt Russia's liberals. Dmitriy Kiselyov, formerly an ideologically middle-of-the-road news anchor, recently became the face of reactionary Putinism when he was appointed to head the reformed RIA News [Global Voices Report]. He is the complete package — xenophobia, conspiracy mongering, homophobia, you name it, Kisilyov's got it. He has famously, while on national television, called [ru] on the hearts of gay car accident victims to be burned. In a later interview he tacitly approved [ru] of hate crimes against homosexuals, if they acted “provocatively.”
Kisilyov's soft voice and ingratiating mannerisms might remind one of Glenn Beck, and, like Beck did, he spends much of his air-time on the moral failings of the Europeans. This why it was ironic when yesterday a Russian blogger photographed [ru] Kisilyov vacationing in Amsterdam. Besides the fact that Amsterdam is a “city of vice,” there is also the issue of the current international crisis, and Kisilyov's position on the European conspiracy to do away with Russia and turn all of it's children gay. Many Russian bloggers saw this irony.
Georgiy Alburov, an anti-corruption activist working with Alexey Navalny, tweeted:
Прекрасно. В перерывах между рассказами о прогнившей гомофашистской Европе Дмитрий Киселев катается на лодочке с семьей по Амстердаму
— Георгий Албуров (@alburov) March 6, 2014
Great. Between telling stories of a decaying, homo-fascist Europe, Dmitry Kiselyov is riding a boat around Amsterdam with his family
Another blogger made an explicit reference to Kiselyov's homophobia and the Crimean crisis:
Содомиты до сих пор удерживают семью Киселева в Амстердаме? Почему до сих пор не введены войска? pic.twitter.com/68Dood4MIt
— MIШАNЯ -18 (@mix_voronezh) March 6, 2014
Sodomites are still holding Kiselev's family captive in Amsterdam? Why aren't our troops already invading?
DemVybor party official Kirill Shulika also asked why such a proponent of Russia was vacationing abroad, and offered a morbid explanation:
А что он в Крым отдыхать не поехал? В Сочи? В Анапу? Или он типа напоследок в ожидании санкций решил на педерастов посмотреть?
Why didn't he go to Crimea? Sochi? Anapa? Or is it that he's waiting for [travel] sanctions, and wanted to take one last look at the homos?
Unfortunately the Russian opposition has little left beyond witty Twitter jabs to try to influence the Kremlin.