Kremlin Stooge Can’t Believe How ‘Free’ It Is to Breathe in North Korea

Kremlin Press Office / Handout/Anadolu via Getty Images
Kremlin Press Office / Handout/Anadolu via Getty Images

North Korea is a paradise that so far surpasses the rest of the world in “freedom” that even the air feels different, according to one of the Kremlin’s most devoted propagandists.

Pavel Zarubin, a Kremlin pool reporter who accompanied Vladimir Putin on the Russian leader’s first visit to Pyongyang in more than two decades, can barely contain his excitement in a video clip that is hard to believe is not a parody.

“I don’t know any other country where people can breathe so freely,” Zarubin declares, as crowds of North Koreans perform a choreographed dance in the background, part of the grandiose ceremony organized to welcome Putin.

Russia has sought to transform Pyongyang’s reputation at home as Putin has increasingly looked to North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un for help propping up his war against Ukraine and Moscow has largely become a pariah on the world stage. Kremlin-controlled media has spent months, if not years, pushing the narrative that North Korea is not a repressive, poverty-stricken wasteland rife with human rights abuses—but a wonderfully forward-thinking nation that has been unfairly persecuted by the rotten and evil West.

In an earlier video shared on Telegram, Zarubin also hyped up the adoration he claimed ordinary North Koreans have for the Russian president. Filming streets lined with North Koreans robotically waving at Putin’s motorcade as it passed, Zarubin appeared to briefly morph into an over-excited theater kid as he claimed that “apparently all residents of Pyongyang have gathered here today!” (He apparently did not question if the citizens’ participation was voluntary, despite Pyongyang’s track record for mandating that citizens take part in such events.)

Putin, for his part, hailed a “breakthrough” mutual defense agreement signed by Moscow and Pyongyang and vowed that the two nuclear powers would fight back against the “blackmail”—i.e. sanctions—imposed on them by the West.

As the Russian president got on his plane to depart Wednesday, he gave Kim a stiff hug, promised to keep in touch, and waved goodbye through a window inside the plane as he left behind that sweet, “free” North Korean air.

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