Prague Will Be Ours Again, Says Russian Propagandist on State TV
While the Russian army continues to defend its positions in the Donbas, a year and a half since the onset of the Ukrainian invasion, Russian media is already discussing the possibility of expanding Russian territory deep into Central Europe.
As Novinky reports, on Russian television, propagandist Nikolay Vavilov recently asserted that the envisioned revitalized Russian empire should encompass cities like Prague and Berlin.
“It will continue endlessly, and we will progressively assume a role similar to that of the Russian Empire. I wasn’t joking when I mentioned on the previous program that Berlin, Dresden, Prague, and Ljubljana – they will all become part of our domain. Why? Because history shows that when we entered Paris in 1815 and Berlin in 1945, as well as during the late 18th century – these were not mere coincidences. Russia is the largest country in Europe and wields substantial power,” exclaimed Vavilov. He was a guest on the Pervyi Kanal TV discussion show, hosted by the well-known presenter Olga Skabeyeva.
Vavilov’s ramblings evidently sparked amusement even on Russian television. Despite his assurance that he was speaking completely seriously, the corners of the mouths of both Skabeyeva and some other guests present during his speech twitched. “Why have we always withdrawn? Why have we been so irresponsible towards our victories?” Skabeyeva asked him.
A recording of the broadcast was posted on the social network by Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to the Ukrainian Interior Minister.
‼️ «Russia is the greatest country in the world, Berlin, Dresden, Prague, Ljubljana, Paris will be ours», – Russian propagandist Nikolay Vavilov on Skabeyeva’s show pic.twitter.com/6PEUwZZeON
— Anton Gerashchenko (@Gerashchenko_en) August 7, 2023
Undeterred, Vavilov continued his impassioned speech, proclaiming, “True victory will be achieved when we stand in Kiev.”
Russian officials have made similar threats since the war in Ukraine broke out. For example, President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly threatened the West with a nuclear attack, Reuters recalled.
Who is Olga Skabeyeva
Of all the Russian TV propagandists who have pushed Kremlin talking points about the war in Ukraine, perhaps none has drawn as much attention in Western media as Olga Skabeyeva.
Her nicknames include “propagandist-in-chief,” Russian state TV’s “special operation forces,” and the “iron doll of Putin TV.”
Skabeyeva is just one of many voices on Russian state media who has distorted facts and misled the public about the war in Ukraine. But experts say her escalating rhetoric is indicative of an important shift in the way the Kremlin speaks about its actions, and could be a harbinger of what’s to come.
Skabeyeva, alongside her husband Yevgeny Popov, has hosted the political talk show “60 Minutes” on Russia-1 for years, and has a long history within Russian media of being a “chauvinistic, patriotic, pro-government, non-critical, clearly scandalous” figure, Gatov said.
Experts said Skabeyeva is a divisive figure in Russian society. Though she is highly influential among loyal viewers of Russian state TV, many Russians — particularly younger ones who get their news from a variety of sources — dislike and distrust her intensely.
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