As a UK version of the Kremlin-backed news channel launches, we look at its top clips, including Steven Seagal and Vladimir Putin.
Russia’s state funded news channel RT, formerly Russia Today, launches its dedicated UK news channel on Thursday, which aims to “dissect the implications of major international developments for UK audiences”. To mark its arrival, we look at back at some of its most memorable moments.
In August 2013 journalist and foreign correspondent James Kirchick was invited on to RT to discuss Chelsea Manning’s sentencing. He decided instead to use the opportunity to attack Russia’s anti-gay laws: “Being here on a Kremlin-funded propaganda network, I’m gonna wear my gay pride suspenders, and I’m gonna speak out against the horrific anti-gay legislation that Vladimir Putin has signed into law, that was passed by the Russian Duma, that criminalises homosexual propaganda [and] that effectively makes it illegal to talk about homosexuality in public.”
Gay Reporter Kicked Off Kremlin Network After Protesting Anti-Gay Law
The host of RT show Breaking the Set, Abby Martin, spoke out against the Russian invasion of Crimea in March this year: “I can’t say enough how strongly I am against any state intervention in a sovereign nation’s affairs.” She added: “What Russia did is wrong. Military intervention is never the answer, and I will not sit here and apologise or defend military aggression.”
RT issued a statement saying, “Contrary to the popular opinion, RT doesn’t beat its journalists into submission, and they are free to express their own opinions, not just in private but on the air.” It added: “In her comment Ms Martin also noted that she does not possess a deep knowledge of reality of the situation in Crimea. As such we’ll be sending her to Crimea to give her an opportunity to make up her own mind from the epicentre of the story.” Martin did not go to Crimea
Russia Today anchor Abby Martin speaks out against Russian invasion of Crimea
But say what you will about RT, it does have some very compelling political pundits, like actor Steven Seagal, for example, who offered viewers his expertise on the Ukraine situation: “On supposedly quote unquote respectable news channels, they keep saying ‘just like when Russia attacked Georgia…’ Really? How about telling the truth? Didn’t Georgia attack Russia, and didn’t Russia retaliate? Maybe people should either do their homework, or, you know, just stop saying what they’re told to say.”
Seagal has described Putin as “one of the greatest world leaders, if not the greatest world leader, alive today.”
Steven Seagal on US, Russia and Ukraine
Bradford MP George Galloway is also a regular on the channel and earned £25,600 in the first half of this year for appearances on RT. Here he argues that “Russia has every right, indeed, obligation, to act in defence of its compatriots, its citizens, its economic and military assets which it has on the territory of the Ukraine by agreement and by treaty.” He says the EU should not “poke the bear with a stick”, the bear being Russia.
Russia has every right to act in Ukraine, says George Galloway
And to finish off, here’s Putin singing the Fats Domino classic Blueberry Hill at a charity dinner in 2010.
Vladimir Putin sings Blueberry Hill