Putin’s “iron doll”: Olga Skabeyeva, Russian catastrophist “monster” TV host
Among the prominent Russian television personalities broadcasting Vladimir Putin’s propaganda about his ongoing invasion of Ukraine, one in particular has caught the attention of media observers.
Even before the war began, Putin’s “iron doll” Olga Skabeyeva regularly launched wild pro-Kremlin rants that have only intensified since Russian troops entered Ukraine on February 24.
Along with her husband Yevgeny Popov, she spread baseless conspiracy theories, exaggerated Moscow’s war successes, repeated Kremlin lies about “Nazis” in Ukraine and issued dire warnings about World War III and threats against the West.
As a result, she was branded a “monster” by commentators, with other analysts suggesting that her saber rhetoric marked a change in the tone of the Kremlin.
In her latest appearance, the 37-year-old mother joined other Putin propagandists in Russia1’s ‘Evening Vladimir Solovyov’, where they celebrated death sentences handed down to two Britons fighting in Ukraine.
Olga Skabeyeva, dubbed Putin’s ‘iron doll’, regularly launches savage pro-Kremlin rants that have only intensified since Russian troops entered Ukraine on February 24
It’s unclear exactly when Skabeyeva met and married her husband Popov (pictured together in an Instagram post), but they now rank among Russia’s richest propagandists with a combined fortune of more than 300 million rubles ($4 million of dollars)
Skabeyeva spread baseless conspiracy theories, exaggerated Moscow’s war successes, replicated the Kremlin’s lies about the Nazis in Ukraine, and issued dire warnings about World War III and threats to the West. As a result, she was called a ‘monster’ by commentators.
The panel laughed mercilessly at the prospect of the couple being shot while accusing the UK government of doing nothing to help them.
In her own segment, Skabeyeva accused the UK Foreign Office of not knowing how to help Aiden Aslin, 28, and Shaun Pinner, 48, who were sentenced to death by firing squad last week by a court thug from the “Donetsk People’s Republic”.
She specifically mocked Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, a favorite target of Russian state media, after speaking out last week to condemn the sentences which she said had ‘absolutely no legitimacy’ .
“London is aiming to free Pinner and Aslin, but they don’t know how to do it,” Skabeyeva told viewers.
“Liz Truss, the head of the Foreign Office, called the sentencing illegal and promised to pull out the British – and do it via Kyiv. Good luck, Liz, she scoffed.
But it was not the first time that Skabeyeva shamelessly mocked Putin and reproduced the Kremlin party line on Russian television.
In fact, she made it her job. In doing so, she carved out fame and fortune in Russia and together with her husband – another Putin spokesperson – hosts the social and political talk show 60 Minutes on Russia-1.
Born in 1984 under the Soviet Union, Skabeyeva then studied journalism at the Faculty of Journalism of Saint Petersburg State University, from which she graduated with honors in 2008.
Her career began at a local newspaper, and she made a name for herself in 2012 and 2013 for her coverage of the Pussy Riot trials, parallel anti-government rallies and the subsequent criminal investigation into opposition supporters. Russian.
Skabeyeva’s damning reporting of anti-government rallies brought her to notice from television critics, with one describing her as the “special operations forces” of Russian state television. A blogger known only as the “interviewer” dubbed her “Putin’s TV iron doll.”
The blogger described her as having “metal in her eyes and iron in her voice” and said she “exposed all the misery of the March Against the Scoundrels and the vile self-interests of its organizers”.
Born in 1984 under the Soviet Union, Skabeyeva studied journalism. She first worked at a local newspaper but quickly rose to prominence and has hosted her own political talk show – 60 Minutes – with her husband since 2016.
Later, in 2018, Skabeyeva was involved in efforts to discredit the UK investigation into the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal by the nerve agent Novichok in the English town of Salisbury.
Sergei Skripal was a former Russian military officer and double agent for British intelligence agencies, and it is widely believed that Russian agents were ordered to assassinate him on the British soul.
British authorities have identified two Russian suspects as being behind the poisoning which also led to the death of Briton Dawn Sturgess.
Despite this, Skabeyeva’s TV program argued the case was “an elaborate British plot to smear Russia”.
In a bizarre and homophobic report on same-sex marriage in the UK and France, Skabeyeva falsely told viewers that 40% of children in the country raised by same-sex parents “have venereal disease”.
Her TV show 60 Minutes, which she has hosted with husband Popov since 2016, has made other equally outlandish claims.
Pictured: Olga Skabeyeva with her husband Yevgeny Popov in an Instagram post
A blogger once described Olga Skabeyeva (presented as having “metal in her eyes and iron in her voice” and said that she “exposed all the misery of the march against the scoundrels and the selfish interest of its organizers ”, in reference to his report on the anti-Russian demonstrations
Olga Skabeyeva’s Russian propaganda
- Suspected Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 – widely believed to have been shot down by a missile launcher controlled by pro-Russian separatists in 2014 – was actually destroyed by a Ukrainian plane.
- Claimed that a genocide had been perpetrated in the eastern region of Donbass in Ukraine against Russian speakers.
- Tried to discredit the UK investigation into the 2018 Salisbury poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal by the nerve agent Novichok, which turned out to have been carried out by Russian agents.
- Wrongly, “40%” of children of same-sex parents in the United Kingdom and France “have venereal diseases”.
- Putin’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine was intended to “protect the people of Donbass from a Nazi”.
- After Ukraine sank the Russian missile cruiser Moskva in April, said: “It can safely be called what it degenerated into World War III.” It is absolutely certain.
The program alleged that Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 – widely believed to have been shot down by a Buk surface-to-air missile launched from Ukrainian territory controlled by pro-Russian separatists – was in fact destroyed by a Ukrainian aircraft.
He also claimed that genocide had been perpetrated in Ukraine’s eastern Donbass region against Russian speakers – a lie the Kremlin has recently pushed to justify Putin’s brutal and illegal invasion.
Their 60 Minutes program also called Ukraine’s pro-Western government, which came to power in 2014 after a revolution, “fascist”.
It’s unclear exactly when Skabeyeva met and married her husband Popov, but they now rank among Russia’s wealthiest propagandists with a combined fortune of more than 300 million rubles ($4 million).
Their fortunes came to light in an investigation by the Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) – founded by imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.
According to Russian investigative outlet The Insider, she earns 12.8 million rubles a year, while Popov earns 12.9 million. Their only reported source of income comes from a state-owned Russian media company and its Russian subsidiary1.
Therefore, their immense wealth is otherwise unexplained. The couple reacted angrily to the report, denying they were paid as much as reported.
Skabeyeva has really been thrust into the limelight after Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, which saw Russia1 and 60 Minutes ramp up propaganda as Moscow’s war, which was expected to last a few days, drags on. months.
Pictured: Skabeyeva is seen in her early days reporting on Russian state television, speaking outside offices with the Russia1 logo behind her
She called Putin’s invasion an effort to “protect the people of Donbass from a Nazi regime” and said the decision to send Moscow’s forces into the country was “without exaggeration, a crucial crossroads of the ‘story”.
Following Ukraine’s sinking of Russia’s Black Sea flagship Moskva – a guided-missile cruiser that sent shockwaves through Moscow as it sank – Skabeyeva said: “One can call in safely what degenerated into World War III”. It is absolutely certain.
Speaking to Insider, Russian media researcher Vasily Gatov called Skabeyeva a “monster”. Alongside her husband, Gatov said she had a long history of being a “chauvinistic, patriotic, pro-government, uncritical and clearly outrageous” figure.
Sarah Oates, a professor at the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism, told the publication that her comments on World War III represented a noticeable shift in tone for Putin’s propagandists.
Oates said that even if the propaganda doesn’t tell the truth, it provides a window into what the distributor – in this case the Kremlin – wants.
Skabeyeva calling the sinking of the Moskva the start of World War III was no accident, Oates told Insider.
“This moment shows a shift in the acceptable rhetoric of the state, as she is the mouthpiece of the state. Everything she says reflects the official Kremlin line,” she said.