The midterm elections in the United States were a hot topic in Moscow. Convinced that the “red wave” was coming, Russian propagandists rushed to take credit for the anticipated landslide victory that would ensure Republican majority in Congress and Senate.
On Tuesday, Russia’s Tucker Carlson, top propagandist Vladimir Solovyov, greeted his audience by wishing them a “Happy Interference in the U.S. Election Day.” Yevgeny Prigozhin, known as “Putin's chef,” who was indicted as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian election interference, likewise decided to publicly fess up to the allegations he previously denied.
This plan to discredit the U.S. elections and convince the Republicans that the mighty Kremlin hand covertly helped push them to victory had backfired. On Wednesday, state TV propagandists were scratching their heads about the wave that turned out to be but a trickle. During the broadcast of 60 Minutes, host Olga Skabeeva asked an expert: “How are our guys in America?” Political scientist Vladimir Kornilov clarified with a chuckle: “Our Republicans.”
Dmitry Abzalov, Director of the Center for Strategic Communications, noted that the outcome was much different than the predictions: “Even the Democrats predicted the red wave that will mow everything down, but it turned out to be quite modest.” Political scientist Vladimir Kornilov said, “The worst fears of the Democrats are now behind them. They easily won the states they were most concerned about.”
Co-host of 60 Minutes Evgeny Popov surmised: “Republican triumph or the tsunami did not materialize... Trump is already calling on Americans to protest ballot stuffing and not allowing his opponents to disrupt the elections.”
Russian state TV coverage focused on baseless allegations of various issues supposedly plaguing U.S. elections, featuring the footage of Kari Lake, candidate for governor of Arizona, and former U.S. President Donald J. Trump, complaining that the polling stations were “running out of paper” and experiencing various mishaps.
Skabeeva exclaimed: “Come out [in the streets], Americans! You are being lied to!” Abzalov pointed out that at least January should be “fun,” predicting that Republicans would attempt to impeach U.S. President Joe Biden. Skabeeva complained: “They will impeach but won’t be able to overthrow him. We’ve seen how it went down with our friend, our comrade Donald—and it happened more than once.”
Skabeeva went on: “We keep worrying about our guys, their results should have been better than this... Apparently, there will be no landslide victory for Republicans in Congress... Still, Donald Trump is planning to celebrate—it isn’t exactly clear what is there to celebrate.”
During the broadcast of a state TV show Who’s Against?, host Dmitry Kulikov noted: “The triumph of the Republicans didn’t happen... After these results, can Trump remain the leader of his party? That is in question... [Ron] DeSantis is rising, Trump will obviously challenge him. The main battles will be taking place within the Republican camp.”
Political editor Maxim Yusin concurred: “Republicans performed much worse than everyone had predicted yesterday... This is because of the Trump factor, this is clearly his fault. He butted into this electoral campaign too overtly and with his odious nature, pushed away those who were on the fence. Against this backdrop, the star of DeSantis is rising. He is only 44 years old. As we see by his surname, he is of a Latino-American descent—and there are more and more of Latino voters. Latinos voted for him in Florida.”
Yusin noted that DeSantis is similar to Trump in his conservative agenda and as a bonus, he does not possess any of Trump’s “weirdness” that “scares people away.” He said that the Democrats secretly want Trump to run for president and speculated that they will pause any legal pursuits to encourage the run of their favored “sparring partner.”
The guest predicted that if DeSantis is nominated, Republicans will win the presidential elections and get the majority. Kulikov agreed that Trump’s involvement made the battles easier for his opponents: “The Democrats are holding on because of their hysteria about losing democracy to the fascism on the other side. It played a big part. Trump allowed them to lean on that, basing their approach on him as a fascist specimen. The campaign of the Democrats, rooted in saving democracy from this monstrosity, turned out to be very productive.”
In addition to Russia’s mounting disappointments in the electoral battles of the United States, their invasion of Ukraine keeps going from bad to worse. During Tuesday’s broadcast of 60 Minutes, host Olga Skabeeva said, “Things are difficult. Nonetheless, we have to win on our own—it’s official. Republicans can hardly help us to retain the Kherson region or the city of Kherson.” On Wednesday, Russian troops retreated from the area.
Host Vladimir Solovyov started Wednesday’s broadcast of The Evening With Vladimir Solovyov by grimly noting: “We’ve been planning an entirely different program tonight. We were going to talk about American elections, but then we got the news from Kherson.”
Nonetheless, in the minds of the Kremlin’s propagandists, it’s all connected. Solovyov speculated that if the withdrawal was announced just one day earlier, it might have helped Biden and the Democrats: “[The withdrawal] was announced after Nov. 8, on Nov. 9, so it wouldn’t influence the U.S. elections.”