“Media Vandalism?” Top 6 Russian reactions to Trump’s Russia Scandals

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

We’re hearing a lot about American reactions to news that AG Jeff Sessions met twice with the Russian ambassador and then lied about it in his testimony to the Senate. But what does the Russian press make of all this? It seems to admit Trump sympathy for Russia and his desire to lift sanctions. It sees him as having to be cautious because of anti-Russia hawks like Sen. John McCain. And it thinks Trump should stand behind his people who have been accused of having a Russia connection, since giving in, as he did in the case of Mike Flynn, will only encourage the hounds to nip harder at his heels. Some reports attack the press, alleging that the Russia connections are made up out of venality and greed.

BBC Monitoring for Friday reports

1. A Renat Abdullin article in Moskovsky Komsomolets argues that Trump made a huge error in letting Michael Flynn go as his National Security Adviser, over allegations that Flynn lied about his phone calls with the Russian ambassador. The author implies that firing Flynn only encouraged Trump critics now to go after attorney general Jeff Sessions for his contacts with Russia.

2. An article by Moscow Carnegie Centre expert Alexander Gabuyev entitled “Rules of the Game” in Kommersant maintains that President Trump “definitely wants to get rid of sanctions against Russia.” He does not have complete freedom to maneuver in this regard, Gabuyev says, but the “managerial chaos” afflicting Washington DC at the moment provides opportunities for Trump to get around sanctions on Russia.

BBC Monitoring for March 3 says,

3. NTV, owned by Russian gas giant Gazprom, reported this week on the allegations that Attorney General met with the Russian ambassador to the US, Sergei Kislyak. It noted that Trump “said he fully trusted” AG Sessions. It went on to quote the Russian Foreign Ministry as saying that US media allegations about Sessions-Kislyak meetings were “media vandalism and an attempt to completely misinform the American and global public opinion”.

4. Pundit Yuri Rogulev told Kommersant that Donald Trump is the actual target of all the questions being raised about his cabinet members. “Members of the Congress want to smear the president’s image… and in the end… bring society to the conclusion that the leader of the country has to resign”.

BBC Monitoring for March 2:

5. The Moskovsky Komsomolets reported on Trump’s address to Congress. Its headline was “Trump: not a single word about Russia.” Sergei Samuylov argued in the article that Trump didn’t refer to Russia in his speech because he did not want to annoy US “hawks”, “such as chairperson of the Senate Armed Services Committee John McCain.” Samuylov concluded that “one should not rule out mending of Russian-US relations in the future . . .”

6. An article in Vedomosti by Olga Churakova was entitled “If not Trump, then Putin.” Churakova seems relieved that Putin has “reclaimed his leadership” in mentions by the mass media. For weeks, in January and into February, Putin had fallen behind Trump in regard to number of mentions in the mass media in Russia.


Related video added by Juan Cole:

BBC News: “Trump Attorney General Jeff Sessions under fire over Russia meetings”

12 Responses

  1. One of the few declarations by President Trump that I agreed with was the aim to improve relations with Russia and join hands in defeating ISIS. The new Cold War that has developed between the West and Russia is in no one’s interest as it may lead to direct confrontation and possibly the use of nuclear weapons that has to be avoided at all costs.

    In the conflict with Russia, Putin is not the only guilty party. The efforts by Victoria Nuland’s effort to ferment the coup in Ukraine (and f… the EU), and the move by NATO to get closer and closer to Russian borders were as responsible for the cooling of relations as were Putin’s more assertive policies. However, it is one thing to wish to repair relations with Russia and it is quite another to have covert relations with Russian officials before having assumed power. What was the Russian ambassador doing visiting Flynn and Kushner in the Trump Tower before Trump’s inauguration?

    It is interesting to note that RT’s coverage of Trump was initially very warm and even sycophantic. All opposition to him was described as the work of the deep state to rob him of his victory and stop the improvement of relations with Russia. A change of tone in RT’s coverage of Trump since Flynn’s resignation is quite noticeable. They now see that their fawning support for Trump was a little premature and maybe counterproductive.

    However, once Trump has been stripped of his aides who established covert and questionable relations with the Russian embassy and then lied about it, it would still be a good policy to push for a new détente with Russia, based on mutual interests.

    • Great comments and observations. The military buildup along the Russian borders, especially since they deployed to Syria, is really frightening. The actions of Poland and Sweden, among others, really does not help either.

      “it would still be a good policy to push for a new détente with Russia, based on mutual interests.” I agree 100%. The whole problem, though, is that damn pipeline…

    • “once Trump has been stripped of his aides who established covert and questionable relations with the Russian embassy and then lied about it, and released his tax returns so we can be sure he’s not getting paid off by some oligarch


  2. What?

    No condemnation from the Russian press of Putin hacking into the DNC and possibly affecting the outcome of the presidential election in the US?


    When I want the straight scoop I always look to the Russian press first and Fox News second.

  3. It went on to quote the Russian Foreign Ministry as saying that US media allegations about Sessions-Kislyak meetings were “media vandalism and an attempt to completely misinform the American and global public opinion”.

    Our mainstream media lying to the American people? How can the Russians say that? If it hadn’t been for the New York Times, the Washington Post, Fox News, and others we would never have known about Saddam Hussein’s stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction.

  4. POTUS gives one speech where he appeared to be properly medicated, almost rational.

    CCM rushes to take the snapshot in time as a license to normalize the ordinarily bat•••t new CIC.

    Too late, the Twitter-in-Chief has totally lost it one more time by trotting out his full-blown case of ODS (Obama Derangment Syndrome) by accusing President Obama of CRIMES against him! Without offering one shred of proof.

    Will someone PLEASE hide the nuclear codes from President •••clown? He left for Mar-a-Lago in a rage over the Sessions recusal. POTUS was scheduled to have dinner on Saturday with Attorney General Jeff Sessions and other top officials, including Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, adviser Steve Bannon who will be running the projector for his Hitler speech movies and White House Counsel Don McGahn, the White House said. link to reuters.com

    How many pregnant Yemeni women and little children will be exterminated as a result of this dinner?

  5. One of the most infuriating aspects of Russian commentary is their contemptuous dismissal of any criticism of Moscow’s behavior uniformly redrawing the post-WW 2 map by invading and then annexing Crimea. And then there are “the little green men” sent to foment rebellion in eastern Ukraine. No, I don’t support a return to the Cold War but the Putin regime is indeed filled with bad hombres. Let’s hope that Drumpf doesn’t get his way and reward Moscow for its flagrant aggression.

    • Well the post WW2 map had been redrawn in many ways and several times before “Crimea”. Actually Crimea was included to Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1954 by the Ukrainian Nikita Sergejevitš Hruštšov. Before that Crimea was a part of Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. When this administrative move in 1954 was done it had basically no meaning or consequences to the local population. The fact is that the population of Crimea are mostly ethnic Russians who indentify themselves to Russia than to Ukraine ruled by nationalistic Ukrainians from the western parts. There is basically no “difference” with redrawing the post WW2 map with Kosovo or Crimea. If Albanians of Kosovo had the right to change the country, why not the Russians (clear majority) living in Crimea?

        • The Kosovo referendum was made after NATO bombings aided with massive amounts of western media houses’ propaganda. And the great reward to USA in this was Camp Bondsteel, the smaller version of Guantanamo in the middle of Balkan. By the way there was a referendum in Crimea, in 2014. A referendum on a separist area is possible only when the former host country has lost their grip to the area. Believing that Serbia or Ukraine (or basically any other country) would have allowed a referendum for an area to separate volunterily is naive. Why is Kosove “process” legal and Crimea not? Would USA allow a potentially separist area in USA to hold a referendum and declare independce or join another country? Hardly, it did not tolerate it in the 1860’s and will not today.

      • There were some slight differences between the two situations which likely cause many to approach the two situations differently, such as the acts of ethnic cleansing by the Serbians and the fact that Kosovo became an independent nation, whereas crimea was absorbed into a larger power.

  6. American political campaigns are run by professional campaign staff that move from candidate to candidate and are 20 levels below prostitutes. For example, KellyAnne Conway criticized Trump as a dishonest fool before joining his campaign.

    My biggest fear is that these campaign managers will look at the Russian “influence campaign” and will all decide that they want to have one too because it was so successful.

    Bannon, Conway, McConnell would all have no problem giving the Russians full access to American intelligence ( from inside the White House ) so that they can guarantee winning the 2020 election.

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