The anti-American atmosphere in Russia is off the charts and now the Americans, unfortunate enough to end up in Russian captivity, are being used as pawns in the Kremlin’s cruel game. Basketball star Brittney Griner, who is jailed in Russia on alleged drug-related charges, and two US veterans captured by Russian forces in Ukraine last week – Alexander Drueke and Andy Huynh – are being treated by the Kremlin-controlled state media as bargaining chips in the Russian crusade depicted against the west.
When Griner’s detention was extended, the US State Department downgraded her status to “wrongfully detained,” meaning her case was placed under the oversight of the President’s special envoy for hostage affairs. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov balked at the designation, telling NBC News: “She broke Russian law and now she is being prosecuted.” It’s not about being a hostage.”
Despite the Kremlin’s denials, the Russian media machine has changed its tune when it comes to Griner. Presenter of a state-sponsored TV show on Tuesday 60 minutes Olga Skabeeva said: “Right now we also have an American basketball player who was caught with drugs, so we have something like an exchange fund.” Back in May, without naming his source in the Public Oversight Commission for the Moscow region, TASS reported that negotiations to exchange Griner for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout are actively progressing.
The Kremlin has long been determined to free certain Russians in US custody by detaining Americans who could later be exchanged. In July 2018, the Russian lawmaker Leonid Kalashnikov commented about the arrest of convicted Russian spy Maria Butina 60 minutesand suggested: “Let’s arrest an American here and that’s it … They arrested Butina, let’s arrest some Amerikashka here immediately.” The same idea was repeatedly circulated on various state television programs.
On Tuesday’s show 60 minutes, State Duma member Aleksey Zhuravlyov intentionally mispronounced the surnames of Drueke and Huynh so that they resembled obscene expressions. Zhuravlyov described US POWs held in Ukraine as “stupid Americans” and said he could care less about their fate: “They should either be liquidated or exchanged [Viktor] Battle. We need to get our citizens out of America. Thank God we have such opportunities.”
Back in 2019, after Butina’s release from US custody, state TV host Evgeny Popov told The Daily Beast that Viktor Bout and Konstantin Yaroshenko would soon follow suit and return to Russia. Yaroshenko was sentenced to 20 years in prison for conspiracy to smuggle cocaine into the United States. In April 2022, he was swapped in a prisoner trade for former US Marine Trevor Reed, who was jailed in Russia for assaulting police.
Aside from being mentioned as leverage to get coveted Russian prisoners out of the United States, seven-time WNBA All-Star player Brittney Griner received very limited attention in Russian state media. She embodies the trifecta of prejudices often flaunted by the mouthpieces of the Kremlin’s state television, including racism, homophobia and strong anti-American leanings. For example, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre is routinely referred to as a “black lesbian” by state television propagandists when it comes to state television host Evgeny Popov predict that she would be replaced by a “white straight male” in a few months. Vladimir Solovyov, the host of a popular state TV show The evening with Vladimir Solovyovalong with his guests, Jean-Pierre routinely refers to it as “Chunga-Changa,” a diminished, racist reference to Soviet cartoons’ depictions of black islanders.
During Wednesday’s interview with Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, Solovyov, who donned a red sweatshirt with the Soviet hammer and sickle on it, complained: “Western hysteria doesn’t stop for a single moment. The world has never seen such a crazy level of Russophobia.” Zakharova agreed, adding, “Evil is not omnipotent. You will get a harsh answer in return. In the past we have been held back by diplomatic correctness, but now we are primarily responding in ways that benefit us…First and foremost we will think of our own citizens… [Westerners] are sick, they are infected with xenophobia, racism and nationalism.”
“Americans and British started this fire and they must burn in it.”
Tensions continued to boil on Wednesday morning 60 minutesduring a discussion of a diplomatic aide to the US Naval Attaché in Moscow, who allegedly snapped a photo of Russia’s “Z” symbol, representing the invasion of Ukraine, along with an extended middle finger gesture. Lawmaker Zhuravlyov raged: “Let this bitch step out again. We will find him. Come out of the embassy, get out. I will personally explain to you, bastard, what country you are in and how to deal with these symbols. Zhuravlyov continued: “It’s a direct threat from me, a direct threat … I could spit on his [diplomatic] Immunity.”
Russian lawmakers and top pundits pinned their hopes on Trump and US Republicans, repeatedly emphasizing their desire for the GOP to oust Democrats in the midterms and Biden in the next presidential election. Appears on Wednesday’s broadcast The evening with Vladimir Solovyovparticipants came up with an idea of how American prisoners could play a role in defeating the Democrats in the midterm elections.
Host Vladimir Solovyov thought aloud: “How will [the US and the UK] respond when the Donetsk [People’s] Republic sentences all foreign mercenaries – Americans and British – to death and carries out the execution?” Political scientist Dmitry Evstafiev chimed in: “And what if it is done a day before the congressional elections? I think that would be very politically correct… But the truth is, this isn’t just about shooting a bunch of Americans. The point is not to let Americans escape the great European war, but to draw them into it. Every day every American needs to know that the new 15 cents on gas will be added because Biden has entered the war. We must intensify our efforts to draw Americans in… America and Britain must be cremated in this conflict.”
Evstafiev grimly emphasized: “Americans and British started this fire and they must burn in it.”
https://www.thedailybeast.com/state-tv-lets-slip-sinister-master-plan-for-american-prisoners-in-russia?source=articles&via=rss State television reveals sinister master plan for American prisoners in Russia