Vladimir Solovyov gets about three hours of broadcasting time almost every day on Russian state television. Flanked by half a dozen self-appointed experts, he barked the slogans of Kremlin propaganda out into the world. Almost all of Russia knows the faces of the men and women who are allowed to distinguish themselves in his studio. Because, with a few exceptions, it's always the same tried and tested people who turn the handle here. They have proven to be reliable mouthpieces for the Putin regime.
From time to time, the monotonous barrage of propaganda is broken by something resembling criticism. The inexperienced viewer might at least think so. In fact, the supposed dissenting voices are deliberately placed. Sometimes the critical replicas serve to balance the mood in the general public. Sometimes they are built in for demonstrative purposes - to show true critics how to be silenced should they raise their voice.
But in a few rare cases, the studio guests simply burst their collars at the hair-raising nonsense. Jakow Kedmi is probably one of those rare cases.
Solovyov launched another hate tirade against the United States on his evening broadcasts last week. After the tanks, Washington will next deliver tactical nuclear weapons to Ukraine, he chanted. A claim Kedmi couldn't let stand.
"It's absolutely stupid to think that someone could deliver tactical nuclear weapons to Ukraine!" the former Israeli politician and diplomat interrupted the talk master. "Just as it was absolutely stupid to think that someone could deliver Leopard and Abraham tanks to Ukraine," countered Solovyov, alluding to the arms deliveries that NATO countries promised Ukraine last week.
"Don't compare tanks with nuclear weapons!" Kedmi contradicted again.
But Solovyov is not so easily thrown off track. Without further ado, he shook an appearance by Joe Biden out of his sleeve. In March of last year, the US President declared that the presence of US offensive weapons and US crews in Ukraine would mean World War III. "But he lied!" Solovyov shouted. According to the Kremlin's narrative, Russia has long been at war in Ukraine against the United States and all of NATO. This is how the Putin regime justifies the long duration of the so-called special operation and the non-existent successes of the Russian armed forces.
However, Kedmi dared to contradict this narrative. "There are no US crews there, no US pilots. (...) You have to call things by their proper name - instead of inventing them," he explained. "You said yourself that one shouldn't listen to all those who ramble on behalf of the Russian government," the 75-year-old said directly to Solovyov. "Many fools talked stupid things and no one paid attention to them. And you were one of the first to call for disregard. So why are you paying attention to this stupid cow in Germany now?" The title of the "stupid cow" was intended for Annalena Baerbock.
"Because she is the German foreign minister and not a representative of the Russian government," Solovyov replied. But Kedmi didn't want to back down: "Shall I show you the posts of Russian politicians? You said yourself that it's nonsense and you shouldn't pay attention to it!"
"I was talking about our politicians. But here an official representative of Nazi Germany declared war on us!" Solovyov yelled in response.
"So when Russian politicians talk nonsense, you shouldn't pay attention to that. Then why do you pay attention to the nonsense of German politicians?" Kedmi burst out of his skin. The sudden contradiction probably surprised Solovyov. He could only repeat his old mantra: "Because they declared war on us and are supplying tanks!"
For Kedmi, the keyword tank was like a red rag. "Nobody declared war on us! You want to talk about tanks? You want to talk about arms deliveries? Then let's do it! How many arms did the Soviet Union deliver to Egypt and Syria?" Kedmi asked provocatively. He himself took part in the Yom Kippur War and served in an Israeli tank battalion. The war took place from October 6 to October 25, 1973 and was waged against Israel by Egypt, Syria and other Arab states.
Now Kedmi Solovyov recalled the role of the Soviet Union in this conflict. "One of your officers was in each battalion! The General Staff of the Soviet Army planned their operations. Did we say then that it was a war with you? Never!" he hurled at Solovyov. "The Soviet Union supplied weapons. But we were at war with Egypt!" That was the position of everyone, including that of the Soviet Union, the USA and Israel. "Nobody saw it as a war with the Soviet Union! Arms deliveries do not mean participation in the war! Many countries deliver weapons somewhere. But that is not participation in the war!" repeated the former soldier, undeterred by Solovyov's interjections.
"In every battalion I was at war against there was a Soviet officer. But it still wasn't a war with the Soviet Union! Even when our pilots clashed with Soviet pilots! (...) Even then we don't consider it a war considered with the Soviet Union. Nobody did it!"
Solovyov's reaction to this impassioned speech? A callous reply: "Unnecessarily. Times have changed."
But instead of letting that stand, Kedmi exposed another mantra of Kremlin propaganda. "It's stupid demagogy to talk about the use of tactical nuclear weapons on the territory of Ukraine. It has never happened before and never will! It doesn't make any sense from any perspective. The Americans have never handed over their nuclear weapons to anyone ." Ukraine has no nuclear weapons. "This will only be the case if the US goes to war against Russia. Just like that!" Kedmi finished his reply. And he should have the last word on this matter.
But anyone who thinks they have witnessed the birth of a new Kremlin opponent will unfortunately be disappointed. Shortly after his breakaway, Kedmi devoted himself to praising Russian tanks, which were by no means inferior to Western models. After the Kremlin propaganda has spat enough poison and bile towards Germany, this is the new default tone. The German tanks couldn't harm the Russian ones, goes the soothing propaganda song. And Kedmi diligently joins in after his little dropout.