Putin propagandist says watching Friends was when she knew East and West had different values


A Putin propagandist said watching Friends when she was younger was when she learned there was a ‘fundamental divide’ between the East and West.

Margarita Simonyan, 42, is the editor-in-chief of the RT network, which is funded by the Kremlin and is a mouthpiece for Putin.

On Russian television on Sunday, she also excused the invasion of Ukraine as a war ‘about our right to raise our children to be just like us not them.’ 

Thirty years ago, Ms Simonyan, currently subject to western sanctions, had studied in America while on a school exchange programme and said she thought the two nationalities were very alike.

But she said that she soon realised there were already signs of differences and a divide when she watched Friends.

She added: ‘Things were just coming to the surface with the first gurgles of this boiling ultra-liberal borscht, they were small then, it was hard to notice them.

‘You had to have very good eyesight to notice it in the 1994 TV series Friends, for example, which is probably the most popular American TV series of all time, such a personification of American culture.’

Ms Simonyan then spoke of references to homosexuality in the show, talking about the pilot of Friends in which Ross discovered his wife had left him for another woman.

Ross had walked into the café looking sad. The 42-year-old added: ‘Why did he look confused and sad? Because he discovered his wife left him for a woman. 

‘All of this is depicted with sympathy – good for her, and too bad for him! It was impossible then to recognise this as blatant propaganda because it was so rare, so fresh, so interesting.’

She called the portrayal of homosexuality in the series a ‘fundamental divide’ with Russian culture.

Margarita Simonyan, 42, is the editor-in-chief of the RT network, which is funded by the Kremlin and is a mouthpiece for Putin

Ms Simonyan then spoke of the references to homosexuality in Friends, talking about the pilot episode which aired in 1994 in which Ross discovered his wife had left him for another woman, pictured are the characters at their wedding in Season 2 episode 11

Ms Simonyan then spoke of the references to homosexuality in Friends, talking about the pilot episode which aired in 1994 in which Ross discovered his wife had left him for another woman, pictured are the characters at their wedding in Season 2 episode 11

The 42-year-old called the portrayal of homosexuality in the series, pictured, a 'fundamental divide' with Russian culture

The 42-year-old called the portrayal of homosexuality in the series, pictured, a ‘fundamental divide’ with Russian culture

The propagandist said that Russia was using the invasion to wage a war over traditional values in Ukraine.

Ms Simonyan added: ‘This war is about our right to raise our children to be just like us and not like them. There is a chasm between us and our children and them and their children.’

She had also used an appearance on Sunday Evening with Vladimir Solovyov to declare Russians should choose to martyr themselves instead of facing being defeated in the war.

Russia is currently ramping up missile strikes and continuing to try and push back in its war against Ukraine.

Thirty years ago, Ms Simonyan, currently subject to western sanctions, had studied in America while on a school exchange programme and said that she thought the two nationalities were very alike. But she said that she soon realised there were already signs of differences and a divide' after watching Friends

Thirty years ago, Ms Simonyan, currently subject to western sanctions, had studied in America while on a school exchange programme and said that she thought the two nationalities were very alike. But she said that she soon realised there were already signs of differences and a divide’ after watching Friends 

Speaking on Russian television on Sunday, she also excused the invasion of Ukraine as a war 'about our right to raise our children to be just like us not them'

Speaking on Russian television on Sunday, she also excused the invasion of Ukraine as a war ‘about our right to raise our children to be just like us not them’

Putin himself had declared that the war was a battle against western interpretations of freedom and tolerance.

The West was last week accused by Putin of trying to ‘overthrow faith and traditional values’ in Russia.

He also said the West were promoting ‘outright satanism’ in a ranting annual speech at the Valdai Club. 

Despite his speech on traditional values, Russians have become increasingly tolerant of homosexuality. 

Opinion polls have discovered Putin’s views are mainly shared by Russians over 60. 

The 42-year-old, pictured, had also used an appearance on Sunday Evening with Vladimir Solovyov to declare that Russians should choose to martyr themselves instead of facing being defeated in the war (file image)

The 42-year-old, pictured, had also used an appearance on Sunday Evening with Vladimir Solovyov to declare that Russians should choose to martyr themselves instead of facing being defeated in the war (file image)

Putin himself had declared that the war was a battle against western interpretations of freedom and tolerance

Putin himself had declared that the war was a battle against western interpretations of freedom and tolerance

Ms Simonyan’s words come after another one of Vladimir Putin’s leading propagandists apologised and pleaded to keep his job after launching a ‘genocidal’ diatribe on air in which he called for Ukrainian children to be drowned.

Anton Krasovsky, 47, is a star presenter and a director of broadcasting with RT.

Putin’s pundits regularly advocate decimating Ukraine or laying waste to the West with nuclear weapons across multiple state TV channels.

But Krasovsky’s savage rant on drowning Ukrainian children caused horror even among his own chiefs.

‘Just drown those children, drown them in the Tysyna [River],’ he said in recorded TV comments that were not edited.

‘You throw them in the river with a strong undercurrent… Shove them right into their huts and burn them.’

He was promptly suspended from RT by Ms Simonyan and faces possible criminal action after the head of the Russia’s Investigative Committee Alexander Bastrykin – a former university classmate of Putin’s – ordered an investigation into his remarks.

Krasovsky issued an apology to anyone he had offended and begged his boss to allow him to come back to work – but he stopped short of retracting the comments.

Krasovsky's savage rant on drowning Ukrainian children caused horror even among his own chiefs. 'Just drown those children, drown them in the Tysyna [River],' he said. 'You throw them in the river with a strong undercurrent¿ Shove them right into their huts and burn them'

Krasovsky’s savage rant on drowning Ukrainian children caused horror even among his own chiefs. ‘Just drown those children, drown them in the Tysyna [River],’ he said. ‘You throw them in the river with a strong undercurrent… Shove them right into their huts and burn them’

Krasovsky's comments prompted widespread outrage, with Margarita Simonyan suspending him and demanding that he 'explain himself'

Krasovsky’s comments prompted widespread outrage, with Margarita Simonyan suspending him and demanding that he ‘explain himself’

Ms Simonyan – who usually exchanges loving messages and warm praise with Krasovsky – said his TV comments were ‘savage and disgusting’.

‘Perhaps Anton would explain himself by saying what temporary insanity it was caused by, and how it slipped off his tongue,’ she said, adding: ‘It is hard to believe Krasovsky truly thinks children should be drowned.

‘As of now I am suspending our co-operation, because neither myself, nor the rest of the RT team can allow even a hint of thought that any of us can share such nonsense.’

Despite having advocated for a Russian crackdown in Ukraine, Ms Simonyan concluded: ‘To the children of Ukraine, as well as to children of Donbas and to all other children, I wish for it all to end as soon as possible, so that they can live peacefully and study in the language they consider to be their mother tongue.’

Krasovsky’s  comments came in response to Lukyanenko’s account about how, when he first visited Ukraine in the 1980s, children told him they would live better lives were it not for Moscow occupying their country. 

Margarita Simonyan and Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba condemned Krasovsky's comments on Twitter

Margarita Simonyan and Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba condemned Krasovsky’s comments on Twitter

Krasovsky went on to declare that all Ukrainians should be killed, and that he would burn them alive in their homes and shoot them.

In a short segment of the interview, shared on social media, Krasovsky also laughed at reports that Russian troops raped elderly Ukrainian women during the invasion. 

Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba called for a global ban on RT in the wake of the shocking interview.

He said on Twitter: ‘Governments which still have not banned RT must watch this excerpt. This is what you side with if you allow RT to operate in your countries. 

‘Aggressive genocide incitement (we will put this person on trial for it), which has nothing to do with freedom of speech. Ban RT worldwide!’ 

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