Last week, American intelligence officials reportedly assessed that Russian President Vladimir Putin may use the Biden administration’s support for Ukraine as a pretext to order a new campaign to interfere in U.S. elections. Though AP reported that “it is not yet clear which candidates Russia might try to promote or what methods it might use,” Russian state media seem to be in agreement that former U.S. President Donald Trump remains Moscow’s candidate of choice.
“We’re trying to feel our way, figuring out the first steps. What can we do in 2023, 2024?,” Russian “Americanist” Malek Dudakov, a political scientist specializing in the U.S., said. He suggested that Russia’s interference in the upcoming elections is still in its early stages, and that more will be accomplished after the war is over and frosty relations between the U.S. and Russia start to warm up. “When things thaw out and the presidential race for 2024 is firmly on the agenda, there’ll be moments we can use,” he added. “The most banal approach I can think of is to invite Trump—before he announces he’s running for President—to some future summit in liberated Mariupol.”
Dmitry Drobnitsky, an omnipresent “Americanist” on Soloviev’s show, suggested that Tulsi Gabbard should be invited along with Trump. Dudakov agreed: “Tulsi Gabbard would also be great. Maybe Trump will take her as his vice-president?” Gabbard has recently become a fixture of state television for her pro-Russian talking points, and has even been described as a “Russian agent” by the Kremlin’s propaganda machine.