Russia’s most prominent state TV host piled venomous criticism on the U.S. presidential race and the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, in a prime-time program two days before the November 8 election.
Dmitry Kiselyov, head of state media behemoth Rossia Segodnya, told viewers of his Sunday night show News Of The Week that the 2016 campaign has been the "dirtiest" in U.S. history, saying it has been so badly marred by "enmity and hostility" and claims of wrongdoing that the winner will immediately face the threat of impeachment.
Kiselyov -- whose weekly program on Rossia television reaches tens of millions of Russians and establishes what many observers believe is the narrative desired by President Vladimir Putin's Kremlin -- painted a picture of a filthy and flawed campaign that will render the new U.S. president a “lame duck” from Day One.
"It has been the dirtiest campaign in the history of the United States," Kiselyov said. "It has been so revoltingly foul that there is real disgust at the fact that…they still talk of democracy in America."
The invective he unleashed fit firmly into what Kremlin critics say is a concerted attempt to discredit the November 8 election and the U.S. democratic process as a whole, with aims that include harming Washington's standing in the world and making Russian electoral practices seem -- in the eyes of its own citizens and people worldwide -- no worse than those of the United States.
Mirroring allegations often directed at Russia's Central Election Commission and the Kremlin-allied authorities nationwide, Kiselyov suggested -- with no evidence -- that violations such as "carousel" voting and at least one "spoiler" candidate are being deployed brazenly.
Throughout the U.S. election campaign, the Kremlin has seemed to favor Republican Donald Trump -- who has said he would improve badly strained relations with Russia -- over Clinton, whom Putin accused of fomenting big antigovernment protests in Moscow over widespread allegations of fraud in December 2011 parliamentary elections.
In October, President Barack Obama’s administration formally accused the Russian state of stealing and disclosing e-mails from the Democratic National Committee and other groups and individuals in an attempt "to interfere with the U.S. election process."
But Clinton was singled out for unrelenting criticism throughout the 30-minute segment on his two-hour show, with Kiselyov at one point speculating that her camp would refuse to recognize a Trump win and would move to "sabotage" the victory. Unlike Trump, Clinton has vowed clearly to accept the results.
Kiselyov suggested the campaign represents a watershed moment in American politics, which he said will now always be marred by rifts and instability.
"From tomorrow on, any president who is elected will not be the president of all America," he said.
Echoing Clinton's opponents in the United States, Kiselyov gave considerable attention to the leaked e-mails that have plagued the Clinton campaign and zeroed in on comments apparently made by Clinton at a closed-door talk with bankers that were published by WikiLeaks.
"A public position is one thing, but a private dance for bankers performed by Hillary is something else," he said. "Then it is fair to ask: Where is the real Hillary? Why do only 30 percent of Americans believe in her honesty? That is to say, even her supporters think she's a liar."
Kiselyov also suggested that Republican politician Evan McMullin, who is running as an independent in the traditionally Republican-voting state of Utah, was a "classic spoiler" candidate who will benefit Clinton by diverting Republican votes away from Trump.
"I remember our 1990s during our young democracy when our governors enjoyed election games," Kiselyov said. "The games of our governors in the 1990s are simple child's play in comparison with what is going on in the U.S."
Kiselyov also professed to be disgusted by Clinton’s reaction to questions about her use of a private e-mail server, which played a major role in the campaign, asserting that she had displayed "the anger of a pickpocket who was upset not with the sin of his fall, but that he was caught."
Kiselyov's show, meanwhile, quoted Trump liberally on points in which his remarks have hewed close to the Kremlin's position.
Kiselyov also picked up on Trump’s charge that the U.S. election will be "rigged" and his call on supporters who vote early to return to polling places to make sure their vote hasn't been changed. This prompted Kiselyov to imply that the election will be marred by "carousel" voting, in which people are bused around by authorities and cast votes at multiple polling stations.
"We are talking about all these dirty political technologies in the U.S. presidential election," said Kiselyov, adding that they "call into question the result of the whole game."
But he suggested that whether Trump or Clinton wins will have little impact on U.S. actions abroad because of what he told his viewers is an unelected "caste of security services" whose members shape foreign policy by feeding information to the president.
"The policy of foreign expansion will not only continue but perhaps strengthen," Kiselyov said.