In the more usual sense of the word, an “expert“ is a person recognised for his/her knowledge and experience in a given field. Expertise is usually gained through years of studying, through proper research, through publishing articles that get under public scrutiny, or through discussions with other experts.
In the unique world of Russian TV, there is a less laborious and significantly quicker way to become an expert on anything. All a person needs to do is to say something at least slightly favourable to Russia.
As the “Antifake” edition of The Insider, one of the few remaining independent and solid Russian media, highlighted last week, one of the most important TV news show “Vremya” on Pervyi Kanal has produced a celebratory report on the coverage of Russia in international media. “Representatives of the British media are talking about our country in an increasingly positive manner,” declared the TV host, referring by way of evidence to a tweet from a certain Katie Hopkins which applauded Russia for the football World Cup and saying it had shown the country “as it is – strong, but hospitable.”
There is just one minor problem: Katie Hopkins’s reputation is debatable at the very least, and it is hard to call her as a “representative” of British media. She did publish columns, though, for which, as The Insider reminds, she was labelled as racist. She had for example compared African migrants with “cockroaches”.
This example follows a pattern that has been described already many times: in order to provide pro-Kremlin narratives with legitimacy, Russian media often deceive about the expertise and authority of their favoured speakers.
Thus, you can find, in other examples, a person who has lost his license to practise as a lawyer after a case of fraud being called “an expert on international law”; another convicted fraudster deployed as an “expert on international political affairs”; an organiser of racist events presented as an expert on the sexual criminality of migrants in Brussels; and so on.
You can read more about ultra-rightists, neo-Nazis and various conspiracy theorists who are presented on Russian TV as experts here. And even about an “analyst” who warned the readers of pro-Kremlin outlets in multiple languages that the migration wave is part of the preparations for the New World Order, who is in fact a former footballer … who also claims that humanity is being controlled by a secret group of reptilian humanoids.