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Putin Distances Himself From Remarks by the Kremlin's ‘Chief Propagandist’

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Vladimir Putin has publicly distanced himself from Dmitry Kiselyov, the man known around the world as “the Kremlin’s chief propagandist.” 

Earlier today while speaking at the Valdai International Discussion Club, Putin said he doesn’t welcome remarks Kiselyov made more than two years ago, when the pundit reminded viewers on national television that “Russia is the only country in the world capable of turning the United States into radioactive ash.” 

The episode aired on March 16, 2014, the day Crimea held a controversial secessionist referendum. Two days later, Moscow formally annexed the peninsula, exacerbating an already deteriorating relationship with the United States. 

“Threatening nuclear weapons is the very last resort. It’s harmful rhetoric, and it’s not something I welcome,” Putin said on Thursday.

This was the second time in a week that Russian officials refused to side with Kiselyov, who angered the Hungarian government last weekend with a recent segment calling Hungary’s 1956 anti-Soviet uprising a “pogrom” and hinting that the West orchestrated the rebellion’s violent turn. 

After Hungary’s official protest against Kiselyov’s remarks, which aired on state-controlled national television, Russian diplomats reiterated that Moscow stands by the position it articulated in 1992, when President Boris Yeltsin went before the Hungarian parliament and apologized for Soviet “dictatorship.”

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