Russian state media has gone berserk in the run-up to the summit between U.S. President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin next month.
Evgeny Popov, host of Russia’s state TV show 60 Minutes, baselessly claimed that President Biden was finally able to secure a meeting with Putin only after “begging” for it. “They’re certainly celebrating this at the White House,” Popov claimed. His wife and co-host, Olga Skabeeva, said: “The whole world wants to meet with Putin, but absolutely everyone is afraid to do so, because they know that Putin will dominate. Trump was afraid of that—and all of us remember how it ended for Trump.”
The Kremlin was more subdued in its public statements. During a conference call with reporters, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “I would caution against having excessive expectations regarding results of the meeting, but rather proceeding from the assumption that the event is very important in practical terms.”
The summit in Geneva will follow Biden’s visit to Britain for a Group of Seven meeting and a NATO summit in Brussels. The timing rubbed Russian state TV experts the wrong way.
“I’m deeply disappointed,” complained Andrey Sidorov, deputy dean of world politics at Moscow’s State University, appearing on Wednesday’s segment of Russia’s state TV show The Evening with Vladimir Soloviev. Sidorov bemoaned Biden’s schedule, where the summit with Putin is slated as only one of multiple stops on his European agenda. “Biden should have come to Europe solely for this summit [with Putin], not merely as a part of his European tour,” Sidorov ranted.
Russian state media is portraying the controversial decision by the Biden administration to lift some of the sanctions on the Russia-to-Germany pipeline, Nord Stream 2, as another example of America bowing to Russia. “Americans are crawling away,” Skabeeva surmised. “We forced Biden to respect us,” claimed Alexei Naumov, from the Russian International Affairs Council. “Biden is afraid that Russia will knock his teeth out,” opined host Evgeny Popov, referring to threatening statements Putin made last week.