Accessibility links

Police Shootings: As US Grieves, Russian Media Gloats

  • Charles Maynes

FILE - Dmitry Kiselyov, head of the official Russian state news agency Rossiya Segodnya, gestures during a press conference in Moscow on May 26, 2014.

FILE - Dmitry Kiselyov, head of the official Russian state news agency Rossiya Segodnya, gestures during a press conference in Moscow on May 26, 2014.

With the U.S. in turmoil over a series of deaths involving African-Americans by police - and, now, five policemen at the hands of what appears to be a lone African-American sniper in Dallas, Texas, last week - Russian state TV's chief messenger is letting viewers know the Kremlin feels America's pain, with a bit of lecturing sprinkled in.

"President Obama acknowledged racism in America exists," said Dmitry Kiselyov, anchor of the influential national weekly news program Vesti Nedeli and director of Rossiya Segodnya, the official Russian state news agency.

“American culture has its glossy version of itself”, continued Kiselyov. "The one spoken by politicians, in magazines, and on television and in movies.”

The recent violence had exposed “real America,” he said.

Kiselyov argued while "killing blacks," the United States continued to force American ideals on others - "especially countries whose resources America is after. " He projected the number of those killed at the hands of police would double by year's end.

"Russian police act differently," Kiselyov concluded. "Far from ideal but on average, much better."

Russian political analyst Fyodor Krasheninnikov says the direct comparison was telling.

"Russia has so many problems today that the government can no longer ignore them and continue to tell people everything is fine," he said.

"And so the Kremlin's response is to remind Russians that whatever our troubles at home, it's even worse in the West," Krasheninnikov added.

A man lays on the ground after yelling "Don't shoot me" at police during a rally in Dallas, Texas, July 7, 2016 to protest the recent shooting deaths by police of two African-Americans.

A man lays on the ground after yelling "Don't shoot me" at police during a rally in Dallas, Texas, July 7, 2016 to protest the recent shooting deaths by police of two African-Americans.

Deja vu

While anti-American rhetoric on Russia's airwaves has become increasingly routine in recent years – in 2014, Kiselyov used his program to warn that Russian rockets could turn the United States into "radioactive dust" - the focus on America's recent racial troubles was also reminiscent of Cold War propaganda battles.

Faced with criticism over their own human rights record, Soviet authorities regularly deflected criticism by lambasting the U.S. for discrimination of African Americans.

"And you are hanging blacks" went the standard Soviet response of the day, to the point of parody. Soviet citizens - known for biting if not always politically correct humor - took to applying the phrase as a comeback to just about any problem they faced in their own daily lives - from buying bread to being stuck in traffic.

But in coverage of the tragedies in Texas, Louisiana, and Minnesota, Russian state media once again appeared to gloat over racial tensions in the US.

"Obama came to power with the now forgotten slogan "Yes, We Can", concluded Vesti Nedeli reporter Valentin Bogdanov in his TV segment from Dallas.

Now, Bodganov added, Americans were hearing a new message from their president:

"No, we can't."

XS
SM
MD
LG