Margarita Simonyan, head of RT and Sputnik, defends racist Blackface attack on Obama

The news that former Vice President Joe Biden would become the next President of the United States has been greeted in Russia with a grim resignation, on the verge of despair. Experts on Russian state television have called Biden’s presidency “Obama’s third term” and predicted a series of new sanctions feared by the Kremlin. This anticipation has reignited the wave of racist attacks against former US President Barack Obama, commonplace under his administration.

Racism manifested in Russian state media is far from rare, but nevertheless continues to be shocking. Tigran Keosayan – the husband of Margarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of Kremlin-funded RT and Sputnik – took racist mockery to new heights on his show Mezhdunarodnaya Pilorama (“International sawmill”), Which was first reported by the Moscow Times. Keosayan described Barack Obama as “the dark page in American history,” while presenting a very offensive skit of a black-faced actress posing as the former US president.

The purported portrayal of Barack Obama was bland and crude, with the bandanna actress shrugging like a rapper and describing the former US president as a “chocolate bunny.” The program, broadcast on the channel financed by the public gas company NTV , made fun of “Black Lives Matter” and said that none of Barack Obama’s relatives can write. The sketch concluded with a recommendation that rather than reading Barack Obama’s book, “The Boldness of Hope,” viewers should opt to “read the label on bathroom deodorant.” .

Facing global condemnation for the latest racist episode, Margarita Simonyan – heralded as one of the most influential women in the news media – tried to back down, using her husband’s Armenian ethnicity as a sort an apology for his indefensible racism. She described the offensive sketch as a “parody of Obama” and claims: “As a member of an ethnic minority in Russia, Tigran regularly laughs on air for his big ‘ethnic’ nose and membership in a ‘black’ community (look for it if you don’t know ethnicities are called “black” in Russia). “

Despite Simonyan’s awkward apology, her husband isn’t the only one who somehow sees himself in the right to make fun of African Americans. In June of this year, RTNewspaper editor shared despicable racist article from Russian tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda, which referred to “muscular criminal negroes,” described “twerking” as “national negro dance,” recommended the use of amphetamines, and encouraged violence and death.

Russian state media have long expressed their desire for civil unrest in the United States. The author of the article, Dmitry Steshin, urged: “Beat the whites until they turn black.” Simonyan shared the article, describing it as “good advice from an international journalist to negroes in Minnesota and the United States.”

Simonyan’s husband followed the obscene outline of his program with a ridiculous assertion: “There is no racism in Russia.” It was no more credible than the famous Soviet assertion: “There is no sex in the USSR”.

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