In 2016, Russian political figures had a slogan saying, ‘[Donald] Trump is our president,’ and “arranged a champagne party celebrating” the outcome of the election, a former editor at Russia’s largest state media company claimed this month.
The New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza reports that Dimitri Skorobutov, who worked at a Russian state TV throughout 2016, kept planning guides detailing how Russian President Vladimir Putin wanted the U.S. presidential election covered. “Aside from Fox News, no network worked as hard as Rossiya, as Russian state TV is called, to boost Donald Trump and denigrate Hillary Clinton,” Lizza reports.
Contained in Skorobutov’s documents, for example, were directives from the Kremlin to play up an August 2016 story about Clinton falling while walking up steps.
“Me and my colleagues, we were given a clear instruction: to show Donald Trump in a positive way, and his opponent, Hillary Clinton, in a negative way,” Skorobutov said in a speech, according to Lizza.
“If Donald Trump has a successful press conference, we broadcast it for sure,” Skorobutov explained. “And if something goes wrong with Clinton, we underline it.”
“There was even a slogan among Russian political élite,” the former editor said. “‘Trump is our president.’ And, when he won the elections, on 9th November, 2016, Russian Parliament or State Duma even applauded him and arranged a champagne party celebrating the victory of Donald Trump.”
The report provides insight into how the presidential election played in Russia, as the government worked (according to U.S. intelligence agencies) to interfere in our nation’s democratic process. But Skorobutov told Lizza he doesn’t believe the Kremlin was successful in its ultimate goal—to make Trump a president who will bow to Putin’s will.
“Russian authorities failed with their hopes that financial and media support will make Trump really Russian,” he said. “They were wrong as they didn’t take into consideration the U.S. political system and mentality. Russian authorities hoped—literally—to buy Donald Trump, using bribes and tricks. But they failed.”