Political and media figures in Moscow appear angrier than ever after President Biden agreed that Vladimir Putin is “a killer” on U.S. television on Wednesday. No one is denying that Biden’s assessment is correct, but no one’s supposed to state the obvious like he did.
Some commentary in Russia has been arguably harmless, with Putin offering to debate the president and others pushing a narrative that Biden’s cognitive decline makes it hard for him to control himself. That narrative has been part of a Russian disinformation campaign for over a year. But those comments are just the tip of the iceberg.
In some cases, Russians have called on Putin to “release the kompromat,” a Russian word referring to damning material that can be used as blackmail — like Epstein’s tapes of Donald Trump or information that the StB may have obtained from Ivana Trump’s phone calls.
In other cases, experts and pundits have advocated for torturing the US ambassador, targeting Americans doing business in Russia, sabotaging our coronavirus vaccinations, radically increasing the number of Russian agents in the US, and possibly staging a conflict between the US and Iran or China. There’ve also been insinuations that the best course of action is simply murder.
All of those things are possible, and Russia has done them before. Last year, Russian hackers attacked hospitals. More recently, the Kremlin appears to be the culprit behind a fake radioactive threat in Poland, which is similar to their fabricated ISIS attack in Louisiana years ago.
Meanwhile, the Republican party has spent more time doing PR for the Russian president the last two days than they have for their own autocrat, Donald Trump. Most of the GOP’s “fair and balanced” reporting and commentary focuses on Putin’s debate invitation while completely ignoring the very real threats Russia is considering.
“Russian President Vladimir Putin upped the ante on Thursday and challenged Joe Biden to a live debate. Stolen elections have consequences. The whole world knows Joe Biden has dementia and that we have no true leadership.” – The Gateway Pundit
“Why would Vladimir Putin immediately call for a debate with Joe Biden with no time to prepare? What have I been saying? … Joe Biden looks extremely weak, frail, often confused, and, yes, he is struggling cognitively. It is obvious. This is not brain surgery.” – Sean Hannity, Fox News
“Putin and Biden. It would not end like Rocky IV. I don’t think the American would prevail.” – Matt Gaetz
“Why shouldn’t I root for Russia? Which I am.” – Tucker Carlson, Fox News
“The one country in the world we should be making peace with in order to combat China, and Senile Joe wants to insult them with empty threats.” – Fox News Commenter
“A Putin/Biden debate would need subtitles, because Putin would be speaking Russian, and Biden would be speaking gibberish.” – Fox News Commenter
“I think Putin and Biden should get in the boxing ring. Let’s see what Biden has under the hood. As soon as they tapped gloves, Biden would be out for the count.” – Fox News Commenter
The massive GOP campaign to make Vladimir Putin seem like a better fit for the US than the current president is a distraction from Russia’s threats and 2020 election interference. But Republican voters are unwittingly falling for it. That goes to show just how well Putin’s image rehabilitation efforts overseas and the Trump personality cult have paid off.