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Meet the Russian TV Host Who Loves Donald Trump

Donald Trump is getting support from some unlikely places, including a Russian TV presenter who regularly criticizes the West.

A picture taken on October 10, 2011, shows Russian television journalist Dmitry Kiselyov posing for a photo after receiving a medal of Friendship  during an awarding ceremony in the Kremlin in Moscow. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed today a decree dissolving Russia's biggest news agency, RIA Novosti , ordering the creation in its place of a new media conglomerate Rossiya Segodnya (Russia Today). Putin named today Dmitry Kiselyov as the head of Russia Today.  AFP PHOTO/ RIA-NOVOSTI/ POOL/  MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV        (Photo credit should read MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV/AFP/Getty Images)
A picture taken on October 10, 2011, shows Russian television journalist Dmitry Kiselyov posing for a photo after receiving a medal of Friendship during an awarding ceremony in the Kremlin in Moscow. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed today a decree dissolving Russia's biggest news agency, RIA Novosti , ordering the creation in its place of a new media conglomerate Rossiya Segodnya (Russia Today). Putin named today Dmitry Kiselyov as the head of Russia Today. AFP PHOTO/ RIA-NOVOSTI/ POOL/ MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV (Photo credit should read MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV/AFP/Getty Images)

Dmitry Kiselyov is a Russian television anchor and the head of Moscow’s state-run news network Rossiya Sedognya, which translates to Russia Today. Put another way, he’s the Kremlin’s propagandist-in-chief, and in recent years he has proved himself a very capable megaphone for anti-Western views.

In 2012, shortly before he took over Rossiya Sedognya, he said he thinks gay people’s hearts should be burned or buried, rather than transplanted, and in 2014 he praised Russian troops’ presence in Ukraine, which got him added to the European Union’s sanctions list. He later filed a lawsuit against the European Council and also wrote an op-ed for the Guardian claiming that Russia and the West have traded places on freedom of speech. 

But Kiselyov has managed to find at least one American he can get behind. And yes, that American is Donald Trump, the billionaire businessman turned presidential front-runner who has suggested banning Muslims from entering the United States and promised to build a wall on the southern U.S. border. Trump has made it clear that he believes he and Russian President Vladimir Putin would “get along very well.” Putin has repaid him by calling him “bright and talented,” which Trump said was a “great honor.”

And now Kiselyov has begun chiming in, making a point of praising Trump on air in recent weeks.

On his show this past week, the pro-Putin pundit said Trump is “anti-establishment” and that his well-deserved praise of the controversial Russian leader is why he “is not wanted and is even seen as harmful” by his opponents.

The week before, Kiselyov said Trump — who has no political experience and made his billions in real estate — was a “rising star” in American politics.

“In his own words, he is the only one of the contenders to have hired people with his own money,” the spin doctor said. “That is, he gave people work. In America, they value this.”

This is a man who in 2014 said on air that Russia was “genuinely capable of turning the United States into radioactive ash.”

This isn’t the first prominent Russian to offer Trump an endorsement. Shortly after Super Tuesday, far-right Alexander Dugin published a YouTube video praising him. “I really like Donald Trump,” Dugin said. “But I detest the crazy warmongering neoconservatives, sodomite Rubio, and hypocrite pseudo-Christian Cruz.”

He later called Sen. John McCain, the GOP’s 2008 nominee, “insane” and “disabled.”

Correction, March 18, 2016: An earlier version of this article mistakenly referred to Rossiya Sedognya, which translates to Russia Today, as RT on second reference. RT, which changed its name from Russia Today in 2009, is a separate media outlet. 

Photo credit: MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV/AFP/Getty Images

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