Liz Truss belongs in the kitchen, claims Russian TV analyst

Liz Truss - John Sibley/Reuters
Liz Truss – John Sibley/Reuters

It is not only British TV viewers who have seen a lot more of Liz Truss over the past couple of months as she competes to become the next prime minister – Russians have too.

Coverage on state-owned Russian television channels has been routinely misogynistic, veering between presenting the Foreign Secretary as a radical or a political lightweight.

“Liz Truss doesn’t belong in politics, but in the kitchen,” Igor Korotchenko, an analyst, said on Rossiya One this week, claiming the Tory contender was “uneducated”, “dangerous” and a less “reasonable” candidate than Rishi Sunak, her rival.

Vladimir Solovyov, one of the Kremlin’s chief propagandists, responded to Britain sanctioning the patriarch of the Russian Orthodox church with a rant in which he accused Ms Truss of starting a religious war with Russia.

“She has such delusions of grandeur,” he said. “Such phantasmagoric audacity is unheard of since the times of the Tartars and the Mongols. Who does she think she is?”

Russian news also replayed footage of what it considered to be Ms Truss betraying her weakness when she recoiled in shock after the interviewer at one of the first Conservative leadership debates fainted.

Mr Solovyov suggested that “when Britain falls”, the clip proved Ms Truss would only be able to hold her hand to her mouth and gasp.

Another favourite Russian state TV clip of Mrs Truss comes from her meeting with Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, in Moscow shortly before Russia invaded Ukraine in February.

Mr Lavrov spoke over Ms Truss, patronisingly explaining how to cope with simultaneous translations. He later described negotiating with her as like talking to a “deaf mute”.

Less than 20 per cent of Russia’s MPs are women and there has never been a woman in charge in the Kremlin, the centre of Russia’s power since the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917.

For Francis Scarr, a journalist with BBC monitoring who analyses Russian state TV, the portrayal of Ms Truss is not a surprise. “Every slip-up she makes is amplified, with her often derided her as uneducated or a poor imitation of Margaret Thatcher,” he said.

Russian TV goes after most European leaders and this week called Sanna Marin, the Finnish prime minister, a “drug addict” and described Olaf Scholz, the German chancellor, as a “little Furher” who looked up to Adolf Hitler as a “moustachioed idol”.

Mr Scarr said Ms Truss’s “especially uncompromising stance on the war has seen her subjected to particular abuse”, and this appears to be having an impact on the Russian public.

Konstantin, a lawyer from St Petersburg, said he viewed Ms Truss as a comic figure who would not be able to handle Putin, saying: “We laugh at her. Putin is just in a totally different category.”

Published by anthonyhayble

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