Five Russian Propagandists Inciting Hate Against Ukrainians

Five Russian Propagandists Inciting Hate Against Ukrainians

Imagine yourself in a place where there are no consequences for going on live television and calling for the death of your competitors or just ordinary people. Where no one will bat an eye about the crazy stuff you say because the people tasked with oversight are also the ones paying your salary.

For many active online, the use of social media by prominent Russian propagandists to spread hate against Ukrainians—and others—is nothing new. But now, human rights groups are trying to hold them accountable. They have called on the International Criminal Court, which has earlier issued arrest warrants for Vladimir Putin and Maria Lvova-Belova, to also investigate five Russian propagandists for hate crimes. For those not familiar with these personalities and some of their infamous rhetoric, we’ll introduce you to them here.

Vladimir Solovyov 

Vladimir Solovyov is one of Russia’s most prominent television hosts and a key figure in the Kremlin’s propaganda web. He hosts several programs on the state-run channel Russia 1, where he promotes his authoritarian government’s ideology and discredits the opposition. 

Known for his aggressive and confrontational style, Solovyov often targets Western countries, many of which he owns homes and parks his yachts in. He portrays them as existential threats to the Russian way of life.

Many in the world wouldn’t necessarily know who he is, but his international prominence comes from his outlandish support for Putin and fervent support for Russian foreign policy. So in order for Solovyov to break out of his Kremlin echo chamber, he is forced to push the limits of propaganda—with his messages bordering on absurdism. “Satan” and “Satanists” have made several appearances in his justifications for invading Ukraine. He has also encouraged Russians not to fear death, claiming that "life is highly overrated.”

Margarita Simonyan 

Margarita Simonyan is the editor-in-chief of RT (Russia Today) and Sputnik, two of the most influential state-funded propaganda outlets in Russia. RT has had major success reaching an international audience and specializes in spreading Russian lies to Western audiences. 

Simonyan is instrumental in slipping Russian narratives into international discourse or sewing discord through the amplification of RT’s reach on platforms like X and Facebook. She can be considered the tip of the spear in Russia’s information war with the West. 

Dmitry Kiselyov 

If Simonyan is the tip of the spear, then Dmitry Kiselyov is the whole shaft. Kiselyov is the head of Rossiya Segondya, a state-owned media group, and the deputy director of All-Russia State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company—essentially running the show when it comes to state media.

Kiselyov’s work goes beyond managing news agencies; he is called “Putin’s mouthpiece” for his work as a television presenter and is known for his controversial statements on homosexuality being grounds for non-resuscitation and nuking of the United Kingdom.

He has openly supported Russian military actions and has been a vocal critic of Ukraine and Western countries. His shows often feature biased reporting and conspiracy theories aimed at bolstering the Kremlin’s narratives and increasing Putin’s approval ratings.

Sergey Mardan 

Sergey Mardan is a prominent Russian propagandist known for his extreme views (shocker), mainly focusing on Ukraine (another shocker). As a leading blogger for Komsomolskaya Pravda and a frequent participant on the Solovyov LIVE TV channel, Mardan has consistently supported Russia’s world-famous foreign policy of “peace.” 

His statements, both online and on television, often advocate for violence, and when he’s feeling cheeky—he calls for the genocide of Ukrainians. Mardan has celebrated deadly missile strikes on Ukrainian cities. He has been charged by Ukraine's SBU security service for his genocide talk and public support of the Russian invasion. When addressing the destruction of Ukraine’s third largest city, Dnipro, Mardan said, “Am I pleased? I'll be honest: I am!”

Mardan's bravado doesn't end with calling for the death of Ukrainians; he has also called for the assassination of Russian opposition figures. During a live broadcast, he suggested starting a fundraiser to hire hitmen that would eliminate critics of the Kremlin, including well-known figures like Garry Kasparov and Ilya Ponomarev. 

His remarks, which were freely broadcasted on state media and various online platforms, and the lack of consequences he faced for calling for the death of Russian citizens perfectly encapsulate their society. 

Dmitry Medvedev

The former president and Deputy Chairman of Russia’s Security Council, Dmitry Medvedev, is one of the loudest voices in the Kremlin media space. We have already lost count of how many times the man who once carried the nuclear football has threatened the world with a global nuclear holocaust. 

As Putin’s close associate, Medvedev has always had the highest levels of access and used it to his own benefit. During his presidency, the orchestration of state media was instrumental in building his image as a “liberal alternative to Putin” while quietly maintaining the status quo for Putin, who ruled from his role as the Prime Minister from 2008 to 2012.

Now, as the Deputy Chair of the Security Council, Medvedev actively appears on Russian state television to bolster support for the war against Ukraine and the “Perverted West” and legitimize Kremlin narratives. He is also very active on social media, specifically on X, where he lets off a bit of steam and showcases his creative writing skills. Akin to someone like Trump during his 2016 presidency, Medvedev does not back down from a Twitter beef.

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