In a last-ditch attempt to defend the outgoing U.S. President Donald J. Trump, Russian-speaking participants in the recent mob at the Capitol flooded the airwaves of the Kremlin-controlled Russian state television. They claimed that the pro-Trump insurrectionists were merely “peaceful demonstrators” and blamed “antifa” for the violence that took place in Washington, DC on January 6, 2021.
Russian state media propagandists and their mouthpieces apparently didn’t get the memo that even the Republicans no longer pursue that false narrative. Congressman Kevin McCarthy spoke on the House floor ahead of a vote on Trump’s second impeachment and asserted: “Some say the riots were caused by antifa. There is absolutely no evidence of that.”
But the truth never stopped the Kremlin’s propaganda networks from continuing to disseminate a convenient fable. Russian-speaking eyewitnesses were shown intermittently—or some might argue interchangeably—with clips from Fox News, featuring Tucker Carlson, Marco Rubio and other Trump apologists. Appearing on state TV channel Rossiya-24, two Russian-speakers living in the United States were identified as “those who participated in the events” on Capitol Hill and later took part in numerous shows on Russian state television. Anchor Stas Natanzon asked Elena Nikitskaya of Greenville, South Carolina and Alexander Schneider of Boston, Massachusetts whether they’re facing persecution in the United States for supporting Donald Trump.