Russian state media follows the US midterm elections with great interest, but the mood in the Moscow studios had deteriorated noticeably compared to the fun episodes of the years leading up to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. While the pundits and hosts are still rooting for the Republicans, they’ll stop promising the public total rescue even if the GOP is back in charge. Even the most seasoned propagandists can’t hide the fact that Russia’s war on Ukraine – and the global consequences that followed – are only going from bad to worse.
Appearing on the state television program 60 minutes Dmitry Abzalov, director of the Center for Strategic Communications, noted on Tuesday: “Of course we are dependent on the US elections. Anyone who doubts that should take a look at today’s dominant news topics. Every field commander reports that they are involved in US elections and plan to monitor them overnight. Why should they stand by when everything is decided here?”
Even the expected return of former President Donald Trump to the political scene did little to cheer Putin’s mouthpiece. During the show’s broadcast on Sunday, Sunday Evening With Vladimir SolovyovPro-Kremlin propagandist Vladimir Solovyov described a video clip of Trump’s rant against President Joe Biden as the opinion of a “smart person who openly says everything many Americans think.”
Andrey Sidorov, deputy dean of world politics at Moscow State University, bitterly complained about the Biden government’s attempt to force Russia to negotiate with Ukraine. The host and panelists recoiled, wondering what the point of the negotiations would be. Sidorov explained that the US wanted Russia to withdraw from the territories it occupies in Ukraine. Solovyov asked incredulously: “Where to retreat?” Head of RT Margarita Simonyan blurted out: “To Siberia.”
“After the midterm elections, we see a glass jar full of poisonous American spiders tearing each other apart. Go ahead and eat each other!”
— Sergei Luzyanin
The topic of withdrawal struck a chord as Russian forces are rapidly losing Ukrainian territory to the Ukrainian military. Negotiating at this point would mean cementing their losses and acknowledging Russia’s defeat. Sidorov then turned to America: “You just showed Trump. Of course I am a big fan of this former president. I even like his colors, the colors of the Republican Party.” Sidorov talked about Trump’s dealings with the Jan. 6 Committee, adding that they will step up their pressure. Solovyov interrupted him: ‘Lord, so let them pressure him. Let them marry each other, cut each other to pieces or kill each other.”
Sidorov clarified: “We don’t care what they think about each other, but Trump generates a lot of hatred in American society. From my point of view, the more they hate each other, the better it is for us.” He distilled the main topic of conversation that came up on multiple state television programs: Regardless of which party may come to power in the United States, Russia is in dire straits in Ukraine. The best move suggested by state television pundits was to stir divisions in the US in the hopes of jeopardizing continued aid to Ukraine.
During Monday’s broadcast of the state television program 60 minutes, Sergei Luzyanin, a professor at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations under the Russian Foreign Ministry, lamented the bipartisan “Russophobic consensus” in the US Congress and Senate. Luzyanin said, “A possible Republican victory in Congress and perhaps in the Senate will mark the beginning of a political Halloween.” He predicted that over the next two years, Republicans will pursue a myriad of legal disagreements, lawsuits, and accusations, all of which will exacerbate pre-existing societal divisions and conflicts among the elites.
Luzyanin predicted: “After the midterm elections, we will see a glass jar full of poisonous American spiders tearing each other apart. Go ahead and eat each other! It will be a terrifying political process… It could also lead to tactical or strategic changes in their foreign policy… Grab plenty of popcorn and let’s see.”
Host Olga Skabeeva noted that she would rather rely on Russia’s own power, rather than hope that its enemies will decimate each other: “We keep hoping it will happen, but they have yet to destroy each other.”
Political scientist Vladimir Kornilov explained that Republicans would turn Biden into a lame duck, blocking his defense budgets, among other things – which would negatively affect US aid to Ukraine and thus help Russia. He added: “With regard to driving in the wedge, we should definitely try to destabilize the situation in the United States of America… as well as their allies.”
To cheer viewers on, a clip was repeatedly played during the show of Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), promising last Thursday that “not a cent more will go to Ukraine.” Military expert Mikhail Khodaryonok, a retired colonel from the Russian army, couldn’t hide his irritation, as he noted: “Let’s ignore the cries of certain marginalized representatives of Trump’s wing. Broadly speaking, they do not represent voting within the Republican party. Military aid to Ukraine will continue.”
Skabeeva agreed: “The situation will not change for the better and we must rely only on ourselves, on the Russian army. Republicans can’t help us hold Kherson.” Later on the show she added: “There are not many chances that the size of the funding will change, but an everyday Russian continues to hope and believe. They’ve never watched the midterm elections so closely… We trust and believe in the Republicans. Do we have any other allies?”