Trump Facing Down 'Coup D'Etat,' Says Russian State Media

The world according to Russian propaganda: Ukraine, the United States, and Russia's Bolotnaya protests

Dec 19, 2016 — 14:50
— Update: Dec. 19 2016 — 15:51
Dec 19, 2016 — 14:50
— Update: Dec. 19 2016 — 15:51

We continue with our weekly analysis of the main talking points of Russian TV’s Sunday news review programs. The three flagship shows — Voskresnoye Vremya [The Times on Sunday], Vesti Nedeli [Weekly News] and Sunday Evening With Vladimir Solovyev — are together watched by tens of millions every week.

Ukraine's Maidan protesters were probably high on drugs, the United States is financing liberal Russian politicians, and U.S. President-elect Donald Trump is already facing a “coup d'etat.”

At least that’s what the Kremlin's flagship news programs aired this week.

Dmitry Kiselyov dedicated a small segment of his Sunday night mainstay Weekly News to the fifth anniversary of the Bolotnaya protests.

The anti-Kremlin demonstrations, which erupted on Moscow's Bolotnaya Square in May 2012, resulted in clashes with the police and jail time for many protesters.

"The state has carefully cultivated the liberal opposition,” Kiselyov said, using the success of independent news outlets Ekho Moskvy and the Dozhd television channel as examples of the Kremlin's generous support.

“But all of these 'liberals' began quarreling among themselves, and we are yet to see anything sensible on the airwaves,” he said.

Dmitri Kiselyov on his show, Weekly News.
Dmitri Kiselyov on his show, Weekly News. Rossiya 24 / YouTube

Trump in Trouble?

Kiselyov dedicated much more time to one of state television's favorite topics: U.S. President-elect Donald Trump. The presenter said that protests against Trump were being financed by big businesses.

"Donald Trump has not had time to take office, but he's already faced with attempts to overthrow him. We are talking about a coup d'etat,” he said.

Kiselyov hailed Trump's social media attacks on military jet supplier Lockheed Martin as the start of the President-elect's battle against “American corruption.” Trump’s strong stance on eradicating corruption had pushed fearful U.S. firms to support Clinton, he said.

"Donald Trump has not had time to take office, but he's already faced with attempts to overthrow him. We are talking about a coup d'etat,” he said.

Kiselyov hailed Trump's social media attacks on military jet supplier Lockheed Martin as the start of the President-elect's battle against “American corruption.” Trump’s strong stance on eradicating corruption had pushed fearful U.S. firms to support Clinton, he said.

“[Electoral College] members are being told that Putin chose Trump [to be President.] Somebody is interested in pushing this theory, and this somebody has a lot of money. We are talking about large corporations and U.S. arms companies. They are for Clinton. She's compliant and quiet. These firms are not expecting any surprises from her,” Kiselyov said.

A correspondent for Rossiya 24 speaks to a Trump supporter in the United States.
A correspondent for Rossiya 24 speaks to a Trump supporter in the United States. Rossiya 24 / YouTube

Russia on 'the Right Path'

Kremlin news program Sunday Evening With Vladimir Solovyev continued with the anti-American tirade.

Solovyev himself claimed that the West was embroiled in an unprecedented “propaganda campaign” against Moscow.

“I've read American newspapers every day since 1975,” Solovyev said. “I've never seen anything like it.” The U.S. propaganda campaign against Russia “means that Russia is on the right path.”

The United States paid liberal Russian politicians to “claim that everything in Russia was bad,”  while independent pollster the Levada Center was also on the U.S. payroll to “falsify data on how Russians feel toward Putin,” the program alleged.

“[The United States] cannot understand that the free world has a new leader,” Russian writer and politician Vyacheslav Nikonov said. “Our country could destroy America ten times over!"

Panelists on Solovyev's show also agonized over an ongoing court case at Moscow's Dorogomilovsky court over whether Ukraine's 2014 Maidan revolution was in fact a coup.

Former Ukrainian Rada deputy Volodymyr Oliynyk said that the court's decision could “legitimize” Russian-annexed Crimea, “because there was no legal, constitutional government in Ukraine,” he said.

Oliynyk claimed that the Moscow court’s decision would be of great significance in the United States, as the ruling would supposedly block Washington from giving aid to Kiev. U.S. law prevents the White House from giving aid to governments which have seized power in a coup, Oliynyk said.

The United States was instrumental in the Maidan protests, the program additionally alleged.

“Non-violent confrontation” was a specially developed Western “technique” to destabilize governments, Solovyev said.

“It was a success in the Arab world, but failed in Russia in 2012 thanks to our law enforcement. The West took that into account, and realized that they would have to send real fighters into Ukraine who would arrange some bloodshed. It happened in Kiev."


Vladimir Solovyev hosts his Sunday evening program.
Vladimir Solovyev hosts his Sunday evening program. Rossiya 24 / YouTube

But Western agents weren't solely responsible for the Maidan uprising, Solovyev said. He also claimed that demonstrators had “mixed something in with their tea,” implying participants had taken drugs. Claims of anti-government protesters using narcotics have been consistently repeated in Russia all the way back to Ukraine's Orange Revolution in 2004. 

"How can anyone who hasn't been drugged stand there for 11 hours throwing stones,” said former Ukrainian politician Igor Markov. “Aren't they tired?”

“What have [Ukrainians] done to Ukraine just 25 years after independence?” Solovyov lamented. "In 1991, the Ukrainian economy comparable to that of Germany. Everything was well! Now Ukraine leads the world in immoral young women and child mortality."

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