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‘You get carried away’ Director of RT’s Russian service suspended and investigated after calling for Ukrainian children to be drowned and burned

Vladimir Gerdo / TASS

Russian state propaganda network RT has suspended Anton Krasovsky, the broadcasting director for its Russian-language service, after he called for Russian-speaking Ukrainian children who oppose Russia to be “drowned” and “burned” in one of his broadcasts. RT Editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan reported the suspension on Telegram on October 24, calling Krasovsky’s comments “wild and disgusting.”

Perhaps Anton will explain what kind of temporary insanity caused [the comments] and why they came out of his mouth. It’s hard to believe that Krasovsky sincerely believed that children should be drowned. At this time, I’m suspending our partnership, since neither I nor the rest of the RT team can allow even the thought of someone who works with us sharing that kind of lunacy. I’m bewildered — what else can I say? To the children of Ukraine, as well as the children of the Donbas, and all other children: I want this all to end as soon as possible, and I want them to be able to live peacefully and study — in the language they consider to be their native one.

Anton Krasovsky called for children to be “drowned” on October 20 on his show Antonyms during an interview with writer Sergey Lukyanenko. During the conversation, Lukyanenko described how when he was a child in the 1980s, he went to Ukraine, where he heard children say that “Ukraine is occupied by Russkies.” He stressed that “these were absolutely Russian, Russian-speaking kids.” Krasovsky responded as follows:

Those children should have been straight-up drowned in the Tysyna, right where the duck swims (Editor's note: This is reference to a Ukrainian folk song). Straight-up drowned, those children. Drowned! Right in the Tysyna. This isn’t your method; you’re cultured people, you fantasy writers. This is our method. As soon as they say, ‘The Russkies have occupied [Ukraine],’ throw them into a river with a violent, raging current.

Lukyanenko responded by saying that in ancient Rus, “branches were traditionally used” to punish people, to which Krasovsky said that the children could have been burned: “Just stuff them in a spruce house and burn it.”

After the episode was posted online, Krasovsky wrote on Telegram that he had had a “wonderful livestream with Sergey Lukyanenko,” though he later deleted the post.

After Simonyan’s statement, Krasovsky apologized to her as well as to everyone who “flipped out” and considered his statement “wild, unthinkable, and egregious.” The apology appeared on his Telegram channel at about 3:00 am on October 24 (two hours after Simonyan’s report that Krasovsky had been suspended). “Listen, I’m truly embarrassed that I somehow didn’t see the boundary. About children. But it happens like this: you’re in the middle of a broadcast, and you get carried away. And you can’t stop,” Krasovsky wrote. “I hope you’ll forgive me.” He didn’t respond to Meduza’s request for comment.

Russian Federal Investigative Committee Head Alexander Bastrykin has ordered a “report on the situation that arose on the television network’s broadcast.” The committee’s statement said that a social media user requested that the authorities look into Anton Krasovsky’s statements.

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The Ukrainian government has called for a global ban of RT. The U.S., Canada, and the EU stopped broadcasting the network on television after Russia launched its full-scale war in Ukraine.

Anton Krasovsky started doing work for RT in 2019 and became an official employee in 2020. Initially, Krasovsky made propaganda movies for the network. In October 2020, RT made him a producer and the head of production for a “new YouTube show in Russian.” He went on to become the head of RT Russia, the outlet’s Russian-language service (RT originally targeted only Western audiences). Sources previously told Meduza that RT Russia’s editorial office was created “under Krasovsky.” Soon after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, on February 28, the EU imposed sanctions against Krasovsky and a number of other Russian propagandists.

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