RT Head Slammed For Shameless Defense of Russian Censorship: She’s ‘Saying The Quiet Bit Out Loud Now’
Russian media analyst Julia Davis shared a remarkable clip from Russian state media on Wednesday night in which RT head Margarita Simonyan defended Russian censorship and blamed freedom of the press for the fall of the Soviet Union.
During a Rossiya-1 broadcast on Wednesday night, Simonyan participated in a debate discussion in which she said, “We had two periods in our history of limited or no censorship, from 1905 to 1917, we remember how that ended, and during Perestroika and the following 90’s, we remember how that ended, it ended with the country’s collapse.”
“No big nation can exist without control over information,” she continued, with a translation provided by the group Russian Media Monitor. “Those who made us add to our constitution that censorship is prohibited, they understood that very well.”
“They who taught us for decades, no no no, society must be free, a developed economy can’t exist without a developed political system or a free political system, all of that is total BS,” she argued.
“Just look at China, do you like China’s economy?” she asked.
“I like it, do they have any freedom?” Simonyan added. “In the political life of their country, in the informational life of the country? No, they don’t and never had it.”
“Maybe that’s not bad, maybe that’s a good thing,” she concluded.
Many pundits and observers were quick to pounce on the clip and comment that it appeared to mark a watershed moment for Russian propaganda as the propagandists are no longer attempting to hide their efforts.
Former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul wrote, “When I was U.S ambassador to Russia, @M_Simonyan & other Putin propagandists tried to convince us & their citizens that Russia was a democracy. No longer. Today, they openly defend & celebrate dictatorship.”
When I was U.S ambassador to Russia, @M_Simonyan & other Putin propagandists tried to convince us & their citizens that Russia was a democracy. No longer. Today, they openly defend & celebrate dictatorship. Listen: https://t.co/klokNfrHWQ
— Michael McFaul (@McFaul) April 14, 2022
Journalist Gavan Reilly quipped, “They’re saying the quiet bit out loud now.” Author Samuel Ramani added:
The Kremlin used to mask its autocratic pivot under phrases like “sovereign democracy” which implied Russia was democratic but with a different system from the West
Now it is fervently embracing Russia’s authoritarian identity and publicly hailing Putin’s totalitarian tilt.
There are so many examples of this identity shift but this Rossiya-1 broadcast yesterday is a good one to exemplify what I mean https://t.co/dFkFa51Fp1
— Samuel Ramani (@SamRamani2) April 14, 2022
Others pointed out that Simonyan once led RT’s channels across the world, including a once-prominent operation in the U.S.
RT America shut down in early March as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s brutal invasion of Ukraine led to harsh U.S. sanctions against Russia and its overseas operations. Simonyan was personally sanctioned by the European Union.
“This is the head of Russia Today. Worth watching in full and remembering everyone who appeared on her channel, worked for it and shared its content with nonsense about how it was just an alternative point of view,” charged journalist Ben Judah.
This is the head of Russia Today. Worth watching in full and remembering everyone who appeared on her channel, worked for it and shared its content with nonsense about how it was just an alternative point of view: pic.twitter.com/oxxIg1sUDD
— Ben Judah (@b_judah) April 13, 2022
The New Statemen’s Jeremy Cliffe was reminded of the ad campaigns RT ran on London transit: Remember when @TfL took £100,000s from RT to deck out the tube with ads promoting its preposterous slogan “Question More.”
— Jeremy Cliffe (@JeremyCliffe) April 14, 2022
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