Russian state TV presenter Dmitry Kiselev has a reputation for extravagant tirades demonising the West, stigmatising homosexuals and portraying Ukraine as a country overrun by violent fascists.
He also has the unusual distinction, for a journalist, of being targeted by EU sanctions – imposed in the wake of Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
Mr Kiselev delivered another of his anti-Western diatribes in the 30 March edition of Vesti Nedeli (News of the Week), his flagship current affairs show on the official channel Rossiya 1.
Millions of Russians rely on the main state-owned TV channels for their news.
With dainty, almost balletic hand gestures and the faint trace of an ironic smile on his lips, Kiselev asks with mock concern “what’s up” with Barack Obama. The US president’s ratings, he says, are on the slide, while Russian President Vladimir Putin’s continue to rise.
Turning to another camera, he goes on to denounce the US for trying to spread revolution with “terrorists” in Syria and “fascists” in Ukraine. “They shamelessly spy on everyone, wanting to control the world, but they suffer one defeat after another,” he concludes.
It was a typical Kiselev performance, if not quite a vintage one. Two weeks earlier, he had mocked what he said were President Obama’s waning powers, as symbolised by his greying hair, before boasting that Russia was the only country “genuinely capable of turning the USA into radioactive ash”.