Why Do Republicans Sound like Russian State Media?

Media expert confirms worst suspicions about GOP

“Moscow” Mitch McConnell congratulated President-elect Joe Biden after Russian leader Vladimir Putin (Gage Skidmore/Wikipedia)

Last week, Senate leader Mitch McConnell finally admitted that Joe Biden won the election. It took him almost four weeks to do this. But “Moscow Mitch” only made that statement after Russian leader Vladimir Putin acknowledged Biden’s win. I said half-joking, after all, Putin is the de-facto head of the Republican Party. McConnell had to wait until the boss made the first move.

Putin’s GOP

According to a recent Daily Beast column by Julia Davis, that statement is shockingly close to the truth. Davis, who also speaks Russian and Ukrainian, makes some of the best observations about Russian media and propaganda. However, according to Davis’ latest column, Russian state media sounds shockingly like the Republican Party. Russian media commentators lamented Trump’s loss and mocked him for being Putin’s junior partner.

“’Mission accomplished,’ rejoiced Karen Shakhnazarov, CEO of Mosfilm Studio and an ever-present pundit on Russian state TV news talk shows,” said Davis. “Appearing on state TV program The Evening with Vladimir Soloviev, Shakhnazarov opined that Trump’s mission was to destroy the political system of the United States, and he successfully did exactly that.”

According to Davis’ latest column, Russian state media sounds shockingly like the Republican Party. Russian media commentators lamented Trump’s loss and mocked him for being Putin’s junior partner.

“Alexey Naumov described Russian President Vladimir Putin as ‘the owner of Donald Trump’ and ‘the main Republican,’” she added. But the similarities don’t stop there.

White like Russia

Much like the GOP, white nationalism is a main feature of Russian politics. According to retired intelligence officer Malcolm Nance, this is one of the reasons why the country has allied with the American far-right. Some far-right activists idealize Putin’s strong-man tactics and admire the fact Russia is still majority white. Putin persecutes gays as well.

Just Security detailed the deep ties between American white supremacists and Russia.

“Dating back to 2004, David Duke characterized Russia as the ‘key to white survival,’ and American white supremacist Richard Spencer recently identified Russia as the ‘sole white power in the world.’ Both Jared Taylor — founder of the white supremacist outlet American Renaissance — and Matthew Heimbach — a Unite the Right organizer and leader of the now-defunct Traditionalist Workers Party — have met in person with ultranationalist Russian political leaders in 2015 and 2017, respectively,” according to a February article.

However, according to Davis, Russian state media commentators were also hostile to President-elect Joe Biden’s diverse administration. They prefer a government run by old, white men.

“Russian pundits inferred that they perceive the Republicans as fellow racists, who snapped into action to support Trump’s attempts to remain in power, motivated by Biden appointing ‘non-white people” to serve within his administration,” said Davis. “The whites aren’t being allowed in there. They [the GOP] got scared.’ The host, (Evgeny) Popov, added: ‘And the head of the Department of Defense is Black. What is this? That must have been the red line.’”

About two years ago, former Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) asked what was wrong with white supremacy. Also, barring immigration from non-white countries was a main feature of the Trump administration.

GOP and Russians play up national division

In the wake of Trump’s presidency, the country is incredibly divided. It’s to the point where Americans can’t even agree on facts anymore. Segments of the country believe the election was stolen from Trump, even though there’s no proof of this. And some Trumpists refuse to recognize Biden as the commander-in-chief. Additionally, as the coronavirus vaccine rolls out, many Trump supporters will refuse to take it because they think it’s a hoax. The United States is so polarized, Biden will spend years trying to unify the country — if that’s even possible.

But these divisions are also motivated by several people on the right. Trump wants his cultists riled up so he can keep squeezing donations out of them. Some cowardly Republicans have gone along with Trump because they’re scared of the MAGA cult. And conservative entertainment complex hucksters, such as FOX News and OAN, spew conspiracy theories about Biden’s win because it puts money in their coffers. They all have a vested interest in keeping the country divided.

According to Davis, Russian commentators were beside themselves with glee at the chaos in America.

“Evgeny Popov, the host of 60 Minutes, grinned like a Cheshire cat: ‘Let’s be glad about that.” Deputy of the Russian Duma Alexei Zhuravlyov agreed: I certainly am,’” said Davis.

Even as the scandal-a-minute Trump administration scrambles to handle a hack called a “Cyber Pearl Harbor,” the president still refuses to pin the blame on Russia. He accused China of carrying out the hack. To the bitter end, Trump is loyal to “his owner.”

Malcolm Nance: ‘The Republican Party Has Surrendered To Russia’ | The 11th Hour | MSNBC (YouTube)

Manny Otiko writes about race, politics and sports. He has been published in Salon and LA Weekly. Follow him on Twitter @mannyotiko.

Sign up for Politics: Fast and Slow Newsletter

By Politics: Fast and Slow

The newsletter for the Politics: Fast and Slow publication. Sent occasionally, with the very best that writers for this publication have to offer. Take a look.

By signing up, you will create a Medium account if you don’t already have one. Review our Privacy Policy for more information about our privacy practices.

Check your inbox
Medium sent you an email at to complete your subscription.

Slow news is good news. In a media world of panic, hysteria, and negativity, we need to make sense of the headlines and the systems which define us.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store