Putin’s Most Radical Supporters Turn on Kremlin News Agency Over ‘Cult of Trump’

Feb 15, 2017 — 18:26
— Update: Feb. 15 2017 — 15:34
Yevgeny Kurskov / TASS

A radical pro-Putin nationalist group called the National Liberation Movement picketed the office of Russia’s largest state-owned news agency on Wednesday, denouncing the “cult of Donald Trump in the Russian media.” Demonstrators even targeted Dmitry Kiselyov, the agency’s director and the star of Russia’s most-watched Sunday punditry show on television, accusing him of “Trumpomania.”

Something is amiss: the Kremlin's vatniki [nationalist chauvinists] are protesting against the Kremlin's news media. This never happened under Obama!

The protest took place outside the building of the Rossiya Segodnya, a national news agency created by Vladimir Putin’s executive order in December 2013.

One of the National Liberation Movement’s tenets, according to Yuri Kuznetsov, who organized the demonstration, is the belief that Russia is in fact a colony of the United States. “We have been their colony since 1991,” Kuznetsov told The Moscow Times.

“Americans drafted our 1993 constitution, specifically Article 13, which states that there can be no declared state ideology,” he explained. Russia’s courts, the Central Bank and other institutions are “in the United States’ clutches,” Kuznetsov said, adding that the obsession with Donald Trump is a logical continuation of that ideological slavery.

The activist was clearly upset about comments by the White House on Tuesday, and Kuznetsov even called Donald Trump a “very dangerous enemy” for Russia, accusing the U.S. president of “challenging Russia’s territorial integrity” by calling for the return of Crimea to Ukraine.

Kuznetsov isn’t wrong about the Russian media’s sudden and overwhelming preoccupation with Donald Trump. Last month, the U.S. president even eclipsed Putin in Russia’s news media coverage.

But not all members of the National Liberation Movement seem to share the organization’s skepticism about the Russian media’s “Trumpomania.” Maria Katasonova, a prominent member of the movement and an ardent supporter of Donald Trump, held widely publicized parties to celebrate both the U.S. elections result and the inauguration of the 45th president.

When asked about the discrepancy between the movement’s slogans and its members’ views, Kuznetsov said he wasn’t aware of Katasonova’s pro-Trump activities and promised to “rein her in,” if necessary.

When approached for comment, Maria Katasonova said the National Liberation Movement is not centralized and includes people of different beliefs. For now, she’s standing by Trump, arguing that he’s facing “unprecedented pressure” from the American media and the U.S. political establishment.

“We realize that relations between the U.S. and Russia can’t improve overnight, and we need to give him time,” Katasonova said.

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