Last week, Russian state media and diplomats continued to focus heavily on the Tokyo Olympics, celebrating Russian successes and amplifying President Putin’s claim that the ban of Russia’s name, flag, and anthem for violating anti-doping rules was political. State media also criticized Olympic referees, especially after a Russian gymnast won silver instead of gold in the rhythmic gymnastics individual all-around event. RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan went as far as tweeting, “After the massacre of our gymnasts by judges from different countries, I really regret not working for the GRU.” In U.S. coverage, Russian state media heavily covered the news surrounding the New York Attorney General’s report that Governor Andrew Cuomo had sexually harassed nearly a dozen women. State media levelled criticism of CNN’s coverage of the story and used it to argue that the Democratic Party is “rife with wolves in sheep’s clothing.” In coronavirus coverage, Russian state media highlighted protests against vaccine mandates and lockdowns around the world, attacked former U.S. President Barack Obama for holding his 60th birthday party amidst the outbreak, and continued to spread positive news about the Russian Sputnik V vaccine while disparaging competitors. Finally, state media and diplomats criticized U.S. policy in Afghanistan, comparing the U.S. withdrawal to the Soviet Union’s failed intervention in the country and highlighting disagreements between the U.S. and allies over the conflict.
Chinese diplomats and state media devoted a significant amount of attention to the Tokyo Olympics last week, with diplomats continuing to levy accusations that Western media outlets were intentionally choosing bad photos of Chinese athletes. State media also accused U.S. outlets of tampering with their medal tables to make the United States look better. Chinese officials also continued to flood Twitter last week with conspiracy theories surrounding Fort Detrick and the origin of the coronavirus. Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Hua Chunying shared a state media survey claiming that 83 percent of respondents wanted the World Health Organization to investigate the United States, while other diplomats and state media outlets continued to spread the narrative. Chinese state media also continued to show a greater interest in the situation in Afghanistan, at times criticizing the United States as responsible for the chaos in the country.
Iranian state media and diplomats focused heavily on the inauguration of Ebrahim Raisi as president of Iran last week, with Supreme Leader Khamenei’s commentary generating substantial engagement on Twitter. Diplomatic accounts used the occasion to highlight engagement with foreign countries, including Oman, Iraq, and Bangladesh, while state media reported that representatives from 82 countries were in Tehran for the inauguration. After the G7 issued a statement blaming Iran for an attack on an oil tanker in the Gulf of Oman late last month, state media and diplomats jumped to the regime’s defense, denying that Tehran had a role in the attack and deflecting blame to Israel and the United States. Finally, state media celebrated Iranian successes at the Tokyo Olympics, while also criticizing the Olympic organizers for failing to recognize the anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing last week.
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