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Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump in Helsinki

Official White House photo

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Many European leaders, from U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron, were quick to congratulate President-elect Joe Biden on his victory over President Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election — and it isn't hard to see that Johnson, Merkel, and Macron all believe that U.S. voters made the right choice. But one leader who has yet to congratulate Biden is Russian President Vladimir Putin. And writer Cathy Young, in an article for the conservative website The Bulwark, stresses that Russian media pundits have been tirelessly promoting the bogus conspiracy theory that the election was stolen from Trump because of widespread voter fraud.

In Russia, Young notes, media figures have been describing the 2020 election as evidence of the failure of U.S. democracy.

"So far, Putin is the only major national leader to have held back on congratulating Joe Biden on his victory," Young explains. "Meanwhile, the Russian state-run or state-friendly media have alternated mostly between open gloating over an American election in chaos and equally open sympathy for Trump."

According to Young, "On November 4, discussions of America's election drama on Russian airwaves eclipsed a patriotic holiday at home, Russian Unity Day, and the pro-Trump cheerleading grew more heavy-handed. That evening's edition of the political talk show Big Game on TV-1, Russia's main federal channel, was almost entirely dominated by pro-Trump voices."

Young observes that Big Game host Andranik Migranyan, a staunch Putin supporter, told Russian viewers, "The majority of American voters want law and order, and today, alas, only Trump symbolizes the idea of law and order." Migranyan, according to Young, joined Trump in saying that Democratic governors and mayors in the U.S. are allowing rioters and looters to run amok — and Migranyan also made the offensive and racist comment that Democrats "get down on their knees and kiss the feet of Blacks."

Another Russian program that has been promoting Trump's baseless claims of widespread voter fraud, according to Young, is Evening With Vladimir Solovyov, which airs on Russia's Rossiya-1. Host Solovyov echoed the talking points of Trump supporters in the U.S., claiming that Republican observers were kept away from vote-counting facilities.

Solovyov scoffed, "Some precincts simply barred observers…. It's just brilliant. This is what they call an electoral system."

One of Solovyov's guests, pundit Sergei Stankevich, told him, "Most likely, the Democrats will be able to torture the arithmetic until they get a win — that is, Biden will be declared president of the United States. But he will be a president without legitimacy, because a thick cloud of doubt will hang over his presidency for many Americans. Millions of his votes came from mail-in ballots, and no one will ever know how many of those votes were from real people."

Young observes, "The only anti-Trump voices in Putin's Russia came from the dissidents. Opposition activist Alexei Navalny, currently in Germany recovering from a poisoning widely blamed on Kremlin agents, congratulated Biden and (Vice President-elect) Kamala Harris on their victory in a 'free and fair election.'"

Young wraps up her article by noting how quick pro-Putin pundits in Russia believed pro-Trump conspiracy theories that were invented in the United States.

"For less discerning people in Russia and elsewhere," Young writes, "the claims of widespread fraud in the 2020 election will surely undermine not only America's moral authority, but that of her democratic institutions. And that's on the people who have spread or condoned these toxic fictions."

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