That anti-American atmosphere in Russia ins out of the charts, and now the Americans who had the misfortune of ending up in Russian captivity are being used as peasants in the Kremlin’s cruel game. Basketball star Brittney Griner, detained in Russia on alleged drug charges, as well as two US veterans captured by Russian troops in Ukraine last week—Alexander Drueke and Andy Huynh– are portrayed by the Kremlin-controlled state media as negotiators in Russia’s crusade to the West.
When Griner’s incarceration was extended, the U.S. State Department reclassified her status as “wrongfully detained,” meaning her case was placed under the supervision of the special presidential envoy for hostage affairs. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov objected to the designation, telling NBC News: “She violated Russian law and now she is being prosecuted. It is not about being held hostage.”
Despite the Kremlin’s denials, the Russian media machine has changed tone when it comes to Griner. Tuesday hosted a state-funded TV show 60 minutes Olga Skabeeva said: “Right now we also have an American basketball player taken with drugs, so we have something of an exchange fund.” Back in May, without mentioning its source in the public oversight commission for the Moscow region, TASS reported that negotiations to swap Griner for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout are actively moving forward.
The Kremlin has long been determined to free certain Russians in American custody by arresting Americans who could later be swapped. In July 2018, the Russian legislator Leonid Kalashnikov commented on the arrest of convicted Russian spy Maria Butina on 60 minutes, and suggests, “Let’s we arrest an American here, and that’s it … They arrested Butina, let’s immediately arrest some Americanashka here.” The same idea has been repeatedly flown up in various state media television programs.
During Tuesday’s broadcast of 60 minutes, member of the State Duma Aleksey Zhuravlyov deliberately pronounced the surnames of Drueke and Huynh in a manner similar to obscene terms. Zhuravlyov described U.S. prisoners of war captured in Ukraine as “stupid Americans,” Zhuravlyov said he could care less about their fate: “They should either be liquidated or exchanged for [Viktor] Match. We need to get our citizens out of America. Thank God we have such opportunities. ”
Back in 2019, after the release of Butina from US custody, state TV host Evgeny Popov told The Daily Beast that Viktor Bout and Konstantin Yaroshenko would soon follow suit and be returned to Russia. Yaroshenko was sentenced to 20 years in prison for conspiring to smuggle cocaine into the United States. In April 2022, he was exchanged for a prisoner of war with former US Marine Trevor Reed, who was imprisoned in Russia on charges of assaulting police.
Aside from being mentioned as a lever to extract the coveted Russian prisoners from the United States, seven-time WNBA All-Star Brittney Griner received very limited coverage in Russian state media. She personifies the trifecta of prejudice that is often exhibited by the Kremlin’s state television mouthpieces, including racism, homophobia, and outspoken anti-American inclinations. For example, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre is routinely described by state television propagandists as a “dark-skinned lesbian” with state television host Evgeny Popov predict that in a few months she would be replaced by a “white, heterosexual man.” Vladimir Solovyov, host of a popular state television program The evening with Vladimir Solovyovalong with his guests, he routinely refers to Jean-Pierre as “Chunga-Changa,” a small, racist reference to Soviet comics. depiction of black islanders.
During Wednesday’s interview with Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, Solovyov, wearing a red sweatshirt adorned with the Soviet hammer and seal, complained: “Western hysteria does not stop for a moment. The world has never seen such an insane level of Russophobia. “Zakharova agreed, adding:” Evil is not omnipotent. They will get a hard answer in return. In the past, we were held back by diplomatic correctness, but now we are responding in ways that benefit us, first and foremost … First, we want to think about our own citizens … [Westerners] are sick, they are infected with xenophobia, racism and nationalism. “
“The Americans and the British started this fire and they have to burn in it.”
Tensions boiled over Wednesday morning 60 minutesduring a discussion about a diplomatic staff member at the U.S. Navy Attaché in Moscow, who reportedly took a picture of Russia’s “Z” symbol representing the invasion of Ukraine, along with a gesture using the extended middle finger. Lawyer Zhuravlyov shook: “Let this bitch step out one more time. We have to find him. Get out of the embassy, drive out. I will personally explain to you, bastard, what kind of country you are in and how to deal with these symbols. Zhuravlyov continued: “This is a direct threat from me, a direct threat … I could spit on his [diplomatic] immunity.”
puts their hopes to Trump and U.S. Republicans, Russian lawmakers, and top experts repeatedly stressed theirs wish to see the GOP force the Democrats out in the midterm period and Biden during the next presidential election. Appears in Wednesday’s broadcast of The evening with Vladimir Solovyovgave participants an idea of how American prisoners could play a role in defeating the Democrats in the midterm elections.
Host Vladimir Solovyov thought aloud: “How will [the US and the UK] respond if Donetsk [People’s] Does the Republic sentence all foreign mercenaries – Americans and Britons – to death and carry out the execution? ” Political scientist Dmitry Evstafiev chimed in: “And what if it was done a day before the congressional election? I think that would be very politically correct … But in reality, this is not just about shooting some Americans. The question is not to let the Americans escape the great European war, but to drag them into it.Every day, every American must know that the new 15 cents will be added to the price of gas because Biden got into the war.We have to intensify our efforts to draw Americans into it … America and Britain must be burned in this conflict. “
Evstafiev grimly stressed: “The Americans and the British started this fire and they have to burn in it.”