Ex Russian PM shifts from joking with Obama to calling for ‘freak’ enemies to ‘disappear’

Putin to engage in 'information war' with US says Clark

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Dmitry Medvedev, a one-time president and later prime minister of Russia, was long dubbed as the country’s “liberal hope”. In a famous – some say “historic” – 2010 get-together, he ate a cheeseburger and drank a bottle of Coca Cola with then-US President Barack Obama, a meeting that was supposed to “reset” Russia and America’s relationship.

Now, in the fourth month of his country’s “special military operation” in Ukraine, Medvedev has expressed, in no uncertain terms, his “hatred” of Moscow’s enemies.

The politician, translated by Max Seddon of the Financial Times, today said responded to questions over why his Telegram posts are so harsh.

He said: “Because I hate them. They are b**s and freaks.

“They wish is, Russia, death.

“And as long as I’m alive I will do everything to make them disappear.”

There has been some speculation over who exactly “them” is.

Guardian Moscow correspondent Andrew Roth said in a post on Twitter his message was directed against Ukrainians.

But Riddle Russia Editorial Director Anton Barbashin suggested the scope of the message was much broader.

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He responded: “I think it is not only Ukrainians he is talking about. It is ‘them’ as everyone that ‘works against Russia’.”

The Kremlin often labels such countries – including those which have imposed sanctions against Russia since the beginning of the war – “unfriendly”.

Either way, numerous commentators have highlighted the extend to which Medvedev’s latest message represents a great shift.

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Mr Seddon contrasted the words with the fact the then “fake president” was “Russia’s great liberal hope”.

Journalist Luke Johnson added: “The guy who shared a cheeseburger with Obama at Ray’s and was a Western-friendly President during the ‘reset’ era threatens annihilation to ‘them’.”

More extreme language about war can also be found on Russian state television.

While Vladimir Putin in February announced a “special military operation” in Ukraine, Orthodox tycoon Konstantin Malofeyev, translated by Francis Scarr of the BBC, was quick to brand it a “holy war” being waged against “pagans” and “satanists”.

More recently, MP Oleg Matveichev compared Ukraine to a “prostitute” with AIDS who “wants to infect everyone else”.

This came after Ukrainian authorities claimed the Russian military had entered a new, more aggressive phase.

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