‘Listen to the Names Being Named’: Russian State TV in ‘Straight-Up Antisemitism’ Against Critics of Ukraine War
A segment this week on state-owned Russian television devolved into a baldly antisemitic attack on critics of the regime, in response to a US journalist highlighting the devastation of Ukrainian cities by Russian forces.
In the segment aired on the Russia-1 channel — which was circulated on social media and translated by Julia Davis, creator of the Russian Media Monitor — a panelist quotes a translated tweet by the writer Anne Applebaum, which placed Russian brutality in Ukraine alongside past wrongs perpetrated by Soviet and Russian soldiers.
“She’s telling us without even blinking, thinking herself to be absolutely correct, she is confidently blaming us, maligning the exploits of the Soviet soldier,” the Russian presenter said on air of Applebaum.
“But this isn’t being done for no reason. This has been happening for decades: Radio Svoboda, Novaya Gazeta,” she continued, referring to Radio Free Europe’s Russia service and a media outlet sanctioned for its critical coverage of the war.
“A former employee of Echo Moskvy, who lives in Moscow, she is continuing to do it in her social media,” the presenter continued, in reference to another recently-shuttered liberal outlet.
Host Vladimir Solovyov then identifies the woman as “[Tatyana] Felgenhauer,” referring to a former Echo Moskvy journalist.
“And citizen Roizman, who is spreading horrific lies in all media outlets and inciting hatred,” continues the first. “He’s inciting hatred against the Russians, which is already abundant right now. Go read what they write about Russians, it’s frightening.”
Former Yekaterinburg mayor Yevgeny Roizman, whose father is Jewish, has been an outspoken opposition politician, recently calling Putin’s invasion of Ukraine a “betrayal of Russians.”
“Listen to the names being named right now,” interjects another Russia-1 panelist.
“Well, Felgenhauer is a Jew in name only,” retorts Solovyov, making explicit the antisemitic subtext. “What about Rosenbaum?”
Davis, who is also a columnist for the Daily Beast, described the exchange as a descent into “straight-up antisemitism.”
Meanwhile on Russian state TV: host Vladimir Solovyov and several angry pundits smoothly descend from bashing Tweets by @anneapplebaum into straight-up antisemitism. Judge for yourself—and remember, these are the same people claiming they're in Ukraine to "eradicate Nazism." pic.twitter.com/jbPZus3ecI
— Julia Davis (@JuliaDavisNews) April 20, 2022
“Host Vladimir Solovyov and several angry pundits smoothly descend from bashing Tweets by @anneapplebaum into straight-up antisemitism,” Davis tweeted. “Judge for yourself — and remember, these are the same people claiming they’re in Ukraine to ‘eradicate Nazism.'”
Russian President Vladimir Putin has falsely depicted Ukrainian leaders — including the country’s Jewish president, Volodymyr Zelensky — as Nazi sympathizers, as part of a propaganda campaign to justify Russia’s invasion.
Applebaum, a Polish-American journalist who has been a staunch critic of the Putin regime, responded on Twitter to the segment, “I am bothered more by their blatant disregard for their own history and their insistence on lying about it, especially since they are right now repeating it.”
She also re-shared her original post that was later seized upon by Russia-1, noting it was not originally written in the Russian language as displayed on-air. In the Tuesday thread, Applebaum shared observations from the ground in the Bucha, Irpin and Hostomel — Kyiv suburbs whose near-total destruction by Russian forces over the past eight weeks has emerged more clearly with their eastward retreat.
“Other than the airport at Hostomel, none contain military targets. Nevertheless, all are destroyed,” Applebaum wrote. “It will be important, not just now, but 100 years from now, as we try to understand how the Russian army came to act in 2022, just as the Red Army did in 1939 and 1944-45. There is nothing predetermined about this behavior, or inevitable. Nations can and do change.”
“But after WW2, nobody talked about the mass rape, thefts carried out by the Red Army,” Applebaum continued. “After 1991, there was no broad exploration of the crimes of communism either. Instead, the same practices were taught to a new generation of soldiers. We saw them in Chechnya, Syria, now Ukraine.”
“If the institutions, culture and practices didn’t change, no wonder the behavior didn’t change. When we were shown a mass grave, the sense of deja vu was just as overwhelming as the horror. Nothing was learned.”
In March, Alexei Venediktov, former editor-in-chief of the liberal Echo Moskvy radio station, faced antisemitic intimidation for speaking out against the Kremlin, when he found a severed pig’s head and a sticker bearing Ukraine’s coat of arms along with the slogan “Judensau” (“Jewish pig”) outside the front door of his Moscow apartment.