Kiselyov in 2019
Dmitry Konstantinovich Kiselyov
April 26, 1954
Dmitry Konstantinovich Kiselyov (Russian: Дми́трий Константи́нович Киселёв; born April 26, 1954 in Moscow) alternatively transliterated Kiselev, is a Russian journalist, presenter and news executive. In December 2013, he was appointed by Russian President Vladimir Putin to head the new official Russian government-owned international news agency Rossiya Segodnya. He also serves as deputy director of Russian state TV holding company VGTRK.
His comments have been controversial both in Russia and in the West, especially regarding gay people and the Euromaidan, the 2014 crisis in Crimea and allegations of US standing on "the side of the terrorist caliphate" ISIS, with it destroying Syria. Additionally, his show has been accused by other media of being a soapbox to promote pro-Putin propaganda.
Born in Moscow on April 26, 1954, Kiselyov was brought up in a musical environment, being the nephew of Soviet composer Yuri Shaporin, and graduated from School of Music in classical guitar. He studied at Medical College Number 6 in Moscow. In 1978 he graduated from the Department of Scandinavian Philology of philological faculty of Leningrad State University and claims to speak English, French, Norwegian and Swedish.
He is best known as presenter of Vesti nedeli (News of the Week), a weekly news programme on the domestic Rossiya 1 television network. His show is accused of being a soapbox to promote the Kremlin's policies, disparage homosexuality, denigrate the West and speculate about Western-led conspiracies as well as attack the political opposition to Putin. Prior to Rossiya 1, Dmitry was employed by Soviet Central Television as well as the Ukrainian television channel ICTV between 2000 and 2003.
Activities and commentary
Kiselyov has gained particular notice in the West for his commentary on gay people and statements made during the 2014 Crimean crisis. Kiselyov considers himself a liberal, while questioning the liberal credentials of his rivals Sergey Parkhomenko and Alexei Navalny. Regarding Parkhomenko and Navalny, he has asked, "Why are they liberals? They are absolutely totalitarian people. I am a liberal, because I put up with them." Kiselyov has been described by The Economist as Russia's propagandist-in-chief, and in a piece entitled "Russian TV host: Russia is the only country with capability to turn U.S. into 'radioactive ashes'" The Washington Post says that:
He may seem extreme, but Kiselyov apparently has the blessing of the Kremlin: He's been selected to head the new Russian state media conglomerate, Rossiya Segodnya, that is due to replace the well-respected RIA Novosti. He also has a point. Russia is still a major nuclear power, with an estimated 8,500 nuclear warheads, more than the United States.
In one televised commentary, he said "banning gays from distributing propaganda to children is not enough. I think they should be banned from donating blood or sperm, and if they die in a car crash, their hearts should be burnt or buried in the ground as unsuitable for the continuation of life", suggesting that the internal organs of gay people should be burned and buried rather than be accepted for organ transplants.
An online petition titled "No Fascism on TV" calling for him to be fired from the Russia 24 TV channel gathered over 3,500 signatures, and several bloggers called for his comments to be sanctioned under laws banning extremism and hate speech. However, Kiselyov refused to retract the statement, telling the Izvestia newspaper that "I'm not a homophobe. Lots of my friends are gay. It is simply global practice, as followed in the United States, the European Union, Japan, and Arab countries. Practically everywhere except Russia" he said, claiming that he just wanted Russia to become more "civilized" and join the United States, the European Union, Japan and the Arab world by prohibiting gay people from donating blood and other organs. He also incorrectly claimed that the Food and Drug Administration in the US kept a database of "everyone in the US who has had a same-sex sexual relation over the past twenty years, with the equivalent EU agency doing the same", according to The Moscow Times. Timothy Snyder writes in The New York Review of Books that "Kiselyov has taken Putin's campaign against gay rights and transformed it into a weapon against European integration." Concerning murders on the basis of the victim's homosexuality, he claimed that "they knowingly call for and provoke the situation in order to become victims" and that the society naturally counters their activities by "most variable, including brutal forms". Kiselyov has also condemned gay pride parades and while he opposes same-sex marriage, he has been sympathetic to the idea of civil unions for same-sex couples.
In Sweden, he gained media attention in December 2013 when he criticized the moral values of that country in response to the 2013 Ukrainian protests, for which he partly blamed the Swedish political leadership and Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt as well as the government of Poland, accusing Poland and Sweden of fomenting the protests to avenge defeats in centuries-old Polish-Russian and Russo-Swedish Wars.
On 15 May 2014, Kiselyov said about the country, "There is no Ukraine. That is only a virtual concept, a virtual country. If you want to live in a virtual world, please do. ... But Ukraina.ru is a real portal. Not about the country, but about that territory which was under the rule of that country. Now it is a failed state."
Since 11 September 2014, Kiselyov is banned from entering Ukraine.
In October 2015, Kiselyov was quoted as claiming that the US was fighting alongside the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Syria, saying: "In Syria, America stands on the side of the terrorist caliphate. Together they are trying to destroy Syria as a secular state." Kiselyov later blamed the Metrojet Flight 9268 crash on a secret pact between America and ISIS, and has said that if American bombers were to attack the Syrian army, then "We'll shoot them down". He also said that "imprudent behaviour" towards Russia in retaliation for its actions in the war may lead to "nuclear" consequences.
"Radioactive dust" comment and 2016 US presidential election
On 16 March 2014, against the backdrop of the Crimean referendum held a day prior, Kiselyov commented in his weekly current affairs and analytical programme Vesti Nedeli (News of the Week) in the context of his presentation about Vladimir Putin being a stronger leader than U.S. president Barack Obama: "After all, Russia is the only country in the world that is truly capable of turning the USA into radioactive dust." He also suggested that that was the reason why Obama's hair had been turning grey. Vladimir Putin in October 2016 replied to a question about Kiselyov′s "radioactive dust" remark by saying that nuclear sabre-rattling was "harmful rhetoric"; the Q&A exchange was shortly afterwards commented on by Kiselyov in his programme, in which he elaborated on what Putin actually said.
Kiselyov described the 2016 US presidential election as "the dirtiest campaign in the history of the United States", and that "It has been so revoltingly foul that there is real disgust at the fact that ... they still talk of democracy in America". He also repeated unfounded allegations of electoral fraud throughout the election, claiming that they made 1990s electoral fraud in Russia look like "simple child's play in comparison". Following the election of Donald Trump as the president-elect, Kiselyov praised Trump as "firm and consistent", welcoming his apparent lack of interest in lecturing the world on democracy and human rights.
Dmitry Kiselyov being on the list for the first round of personal sanctions imposed on Russia by the EU in March 2014, in connection with the Ukrainian crisis, came as ″the biggest surprise″ to the international media.
- Ведущим программы "Вести недели" на "России 1" станет Дмитрий Киселев (in Russian). Russia-1. Retrieved December 14, 2013.
Дмитрий Киселев родился 26 апреля 1954 года
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- "Ведущим программы "Вести недели" на "России 1" станет Дмитрий Кисилёв" [Host of "News of the Week" on "Russia 1" will be Dmitry Kisilёv]. Russia 1 (in Russian). Retrieved April 25, 2015.
- Taisiya Bakhareva (September 8, 2006). "Дмитрий Киселёв: "чтобы построить коттедж в Коктебеле, я заложил свой дом в Москве"" [Dmitry Kiselyov: "to build a house in Koktebel, I mortgaged my home in Moscow] (in Russian). Facts and Comments. Retrieved October 16, 2013.
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- "Archived copy" Дмитрий Киселев: "В загс я Машу повез на мотоцикле" (in Russian). Archived from the original on November 7, 2010. Retrieved December 12, 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
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- Taylor, Adam (March 16, 2014). "Russian TV host: Russia is the only country with capability to turn U.S. into 'radioactive ashes'". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 9, 2016.
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- "Дмитрий Киселев: "Теперь Украина – виртуальная страна, а наш портал настоящий!"" [Dmitry Kiselyov, "Now Ukraine - a virtual country, while our portal is real!"]. Slon.ru. May 15, 2014. Archived from the original on May 17, 2014. Retrieved May 17, 2014.
- Yevgeny Kiselyov denied entry into Ukraine by mistake, ban concerns another person - source, Interfax-Ukraine (October 23, 2014)
- "Pro-Kremlin TV Host Kiselyov Admits Using Fake Documents in His Show News". The Moscow Times. Retrieved May 16, 2016.
- "A new spectacle for the masses". The Economist. October 3, 2015.
- Rosenberg, Steve (October 10, 2016). "Russia's top spin doctor in nuclear warning". BBC News.
- State television presenter warns Russia could 'turn the US into radioactive dust': TV presenter says Obama won't stop calling Putin and living in fear of the Russian president is making his hair go grey The Independent, 17 March 214.
- Путин раскритиковал слова Киселева о "радиоактивном пепле" Gordonua.com, 27 October 2016.
- "Америку можно превратить в ядерный пепел": Киселев ответил Островскому Vesti Nedeli, 30 October 2016.
- Balmforth, Tom (November 7, 2016). "'Revoltingly Foul' -- Russian TV Makes Final Push To Discredit U.S. Election". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Retrieved December 18, 2016.
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- Presidential Decree dated May 5, 2011 № 589 On conferring state awards of the Russian Federation
- Presidential Decree on February 13, 2014 № 74 On conferring state awards of the Russian Federation Archived February 23, 2014, at the Wayback Machine