Former adviser to Donald Trump, Steve Bannon, has appeared to praise Russian President Vladimir Putin for being “anti-woke” and not allowing Pride flags to fly in Russia.
On his War Room podcast last night, Bannon talked with private military contractor Erik Prince. The two men suggested that Putin’s action in Ukraine was fully understandable, given that Ukraine has indicated it wishes to join NATO (a “deadbeats” organization, according to Bannon).
“NATO expansion, as bad as that is, it’s the EU later, trying to force into the Ukraine… that would be the equivalent … of China coming here and signing a defense pact with Mexico … right on our border and up against our grille,” argued Bannon.
The conversation moved on to Russia being “anti-woke”.
Bannon questioned whether it would be better if the US cultivated an allyship with Russia, with whom he said it had more in common than with China. However, he said such a notion went against the views of “woke America.”
“Putin ain’t woke. He is anti-woke,” Bannon said.
“The Russians … still know which bathroom to use,” Prince responded.
“They know how many — how many genders are there in Russia?” Bannon said.
“Two,” Prince replied.
“They don’t have the flags, they don’t have the Pride flags outside of their—” Bannon continued.
“They don’t have boys swimming in girls’ college swim meets,” Prince said.
“How savage. How medieval,” Bannon responded, archly.
Steve Bannon and Erik Prince say we should be supporting Russia because Putin is anti-woke and has no tolerance for LGBTQ. pic.twitter.com/qzHl2TkwxJ
— Ron Filipkowski (@RonFilipkowski) February 24, 2022
Although Pride flags are not technically banned in Russia, the country has an anti-propaganda law that bars anything promoting “alternative lifestyles” to minors. The law has been used to ban Pride marches and authorities have detained activists displaying rainbow flags.
Bannon did say he hopes Ukraine “self-determines. Go for it,” but said he did not believe the US should become involved in what’s going on.
You can watch the full interview here, with the conversation on “wokeness” starting around the 1hr 24-minute mark.
Shortly after the interview, Russia did indeed start its long-expected invasion of Ukraine. Vladimir Putin announced he was launching a “special military operation” to achieve the demilitarisation and “denazification” of Ukraine.
Airstrikes followed in several Ukrainian cities.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who is himself Jewish, had earlier dismissed Russian’s claim about his country being Nazis. He pointed out Ukraine lost 8million people fighting the Nazis in World War II: “How could I be a Nazi?”