Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Moscow TV Navigates Between Russia’s Trumpophobes and Its Trumpophiles, Mitrofanov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, October 20 – Russians who follow Donald Trump closely divide into two camps, the Trumpophiles who consider like most US Republicans that he speaks for right of center policies they want to follow in Russia, and the Trumpophobes who view him much as US Democrats do as the destroyer of the international order, Sergey Mitrofanov says.

            What is interesting, the Moscow commentator says, is that Russian television commentaries rather than sending a clear message veer from one of these positions to the other on a regular basis in an attempt to create an image of the American president in between (

            Moscow television doesn’t promote pure Trumpophilism because “Russia today is hardly a republic,” although many on air celebrate parts of his agenda, including hostility to immigrants and intellectuals.  At the same time, it sometimes sounds like the Trumpophobes as when it condemned his letter to Turkish President Erdogan. That isn’t how foreign policy is conducted. 

            Russian TV like the Kremlin may be pleased with the consequences of Trump’s actions -- his sacrifice of the Kurds and his antagonism to Turkey works to Moscow’s benefit – but it can’t avoid making negative comments about how the US leader does so, Mitrofanov continues.  And that divide opens the way for some intriguing comments.

            One of the most interesting of these comes from a political scientist with the striking name M. Sinelnikov-Orishak. “He is a master of the unexpected comparison and this time he has compared Trump with Gorbachev but of course not in a complimentary way.” Instead, he suggested in one recent broadcast that to be like Gorbachev is to fail at everything one touches.

            And that in Sinelnikv-Orishak’s view is exactly what one needs to say about Trump, however much Russians agree with him or however much the Kremlin benefits from what he does.

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