Kremlin Mouthpieces Celebrate Julian Assange Victory Vs. the U.S. ‘Deep State’

SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange’s release from a British prison could not have made Russia’s top propagandists happier.

RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan led the pack early Tuesday with a statement on Telegram paying tribute to the “best journalist of our time.” Noting that she was “awfully happy” to finally see Assange win his freedom, she recalled a one-on-one covert chat she said she had with him once in the “woods outside London.” After asking him why he chose to publish a trove of classified U.S. military intel knowing that he would be “hunted down, corralled, destroyed” as a result, she said, Assange responded, “I just can’t stand being lied to.”

“Today, he is free for the first time in years. Almost free,” Simonyan wrote.

Assange was released from the British prison where he’d spent five years after striking a plea bargain with American prosecutors Monday that spares him further prison time and extradition to the U.S.

While Assange’s 2019 arrest and subsequent plea deal centered on his 2010 publication of a cache of classified U.S. documents, including hundreds of thousands of pages related to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Wikileaks founder had also come under scrutiny for his ties to Russia during the 2016 presidential election.

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The group published a trove of emails related to Hillary Clinton that U.S. intelligence officials later said had been passed along to Assange by Russian military intelligence operatives. Whether or not he knowingly conspired with Russian intelligence remains an open question.

But Kremlin propagandists certainly were thrilled to see Assange walking free Tuesday.

In addition to Simonyan, former Vladimir Putin adviser Sergei Markov hailed Assange’s release as a win in the ongoing battle against the “deep state.” Assange, he said, is a “symbol of the uncovering of secret crimes of the U.S. deep state.”

One popular pro-Kremlin Telegram channel even went so far as to liken Assange to two Russian figures convicted in the U.S., respectively, of arms dealing and drug smuggling—arguing that they were all victims of an out-of-control U.S. justice system: “The case of Julian Assange is on par with the cases of Russians Viktor Bout and Konstantin Yaroshenko.”

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