How did Russian propaganda react to Kissinger’s death: RUSpropaganda Rhetoric, debunked!

Propaganda Digest: This is our weekly analysis that exposes the most exaggerated, misleading, and outrageous rhetoric from recent Russian media sources, aimed at promoting critical thinking to better debunk the manipulation of Russian propaganda.

Henry Kissinger, a legendary American statesman and diplomat, passed away on November 29th. He served as Secretary of State and National Security Advisor to US President Richard Nixon in the 1970s and during the Cold War (the so-called Détente period), Kissinger helped to reduce the level of confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union. In 1973, he received the Nobel Peace Prize for brokering a truce in Vietnam.

Kissinger resigned from his last official political position in 1977, but he remained active in the world of politics for the next nearly half-century. The 100-year-old ex-Secretary of State was honored in Beijing in 2023, where he went to seek a compromise between the United States and China.

Kissinger also drew attention by commenting on various scenarios for ending the Russian-Ukrainian war…

He was a long-time opponent of Ukraine’s NATO membership, and he saw Russia as one of the major centers in the global balance of power. This was his interpretation of US foreign policy priorities within the Realpolitik paradigm, of which the former Secretary of State was a devotee. This position appealed to Kremlin ideologues, so it was only natural for Russian state propaganda to use Kissinger’s quotes and statements in “information raids” on the Western value system for years.  

After the outbreak of the full-scale Russian-Ukrainian War, however, Kissinger changed his mind about Ukraine’s membership in the Alliance. According to him, only Ukraine’s accession to NATO could effectively prevent a new war: 

“If the war ends, as it almost certainly will, and Russia loses a lot of its gains but keeps Sevastopol, we could have a disgruntled Russia and a disgruntled Ukraine – a balance of dissatisfaction.” 

As a result, for Europe’s security, it is preferable to have Ukraine in NATO, where it will be unable to make national decisions on territorial claims,” Kissinger stated in May of this year. Thus, perhaps Kissinger’s final brainchild was the idea of Ukraine joining NATO in exchange for Russian-occupied territories. Will the views of one of the Cold War’s architects foretell a new stage in Moscow’s confrontation with the West? The solution is currently obscured by the fog of war.  

However, in light of Kissinger’s shift in position on Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic integration, the UCMC’s HWAG team investigated how Russian propagandists reacted to the death of someone who had long symbolized Western elites’ willingness to listen to Putin.   

Dmitry Peskov, Press Secretary of the President of the Russian Federation

“They (Kissinger and Putin – HWAG) have known each other for a long time, met many times, and had very deep conversations about the current state of international relations”


The Russian president’s spokesman attempts to put his boss on the same intellectual level as Kissinger. However, Putin’s level of erudition cannot be compared to the intellect of the author of a number of books on international relations theory that have become global bestsellers and have had a significant impact on the development of political thought on a global scale.  

Sergey Markov ‘political scientist, diplomat’

“Kissinger has always opposed Western attempts to inflict a strategic defeat on Russia. Because he believed that it was impossible, and attempts to do the impossible would lead to enormous destabilization and chaos in the entire world politics and even, possibly, to a nuclear war. Kissinger always urged Western countries not to fight Russia, but to negotiate with it.”


This statement contains a false premise – since the end of the Cold War and until 24.02.2022, there was no discussion in the West about the need to inflict a strategic defeat on Russia. On the contrary, Western countries had been trading with Moscow for decades, investing in production technologies, and the idea of a major war seemed an unimaginable scenario to European and American elites.

Kissinger was a consistent advocate of the concept of a balance of power in international relations. However, within the paradigm of relations between the West and Moscow, his views, although overly conformist in some respects, generally reflected existing practices. Therefore, it is absurd to credit the former US Secretary of State with calling “not to fight Russia”, as there were simply no plans for war against the latter.

Konstantin Blokhin ‘expert’ of the Centre for Security Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences):

“The former US diplomat believed that the intention to admit Ukraine to the North Atlantic Alliance was a mistake. He argued that Kyiv had provoked the conflict and called for negotiations.”


In this case, the pro-Kremlin expert attributes a message to Kissinger that he never voiced. The ex-Secretary of State’s quote is as follows: 

“I don’t think all the blame lies with Putin. The war itself is very ruthless, the attack must be repelled, and I support the Ukrainian and Western resistance. But back in 2014, in an essay, I expressed serious doubts about the plan to invite Ukraine to join NATO. This started a series of events that ended in war.” 

So, as we can see, Kissinger put the “blame” not on the leadership of Ukraine, but on the conditional “plan” of the West to invite Ukraine to NATO. It is worth noting that the practical implementation of this plan was not discussed before the full-scale invasion – the issue of Ukraine’s membership was effectively frozen before the start of the full-scale invasion.

Alexey Chadayev ‘journalist’

“…. to die at the very moment when the thing you have devoted almost your entire adult life to fighting is realized… After all, Kissinger’s main geopolitical idea is that the main condition for preserving American hegemony in the world is to prevent an alliance between Russia and China”.


Russian propagandists have used the topic of Kissinger’s departure, whose important legacy was the normalization of US-China relations, to create yet another fantasy of an alliance between Moscow and Beijing. However, they once again prefer to ignore the fact that, as a result of Western economic sanctions, Moscow has lost room for maneuvering in its foreign economic activity and diversification of energy exports. Together with the factors of a protracted war and technological lag, the current realities are turning Russia into a vassal of China, not an equal partner.  

Russia in global politics

“Henry Kissinger has always been an anathema to left-liberal circles, the embodiment of everything they hated about a realist approach to international relations: the abstraction of values and ideologies, the emphasis on power, interests, and balance, no matter who it has to be achieved with.”


The pro-russian government think tank did not miss the opportunity to troll Western liberal political circles, which, from the point of view of the regime’s ideologues, stand in the way of the rapprochement between Russia and Western Europe in the paradigm of geopolitical realism.

Another Ukraine (a new project by Viktor Medvedchuk, a former Ukrainian oligarch politician)

“Back in May of this year, he (Kissinger – HWAG) was ready to fly to Moscow to take part in talks with the Russian president.He called for the conflict in Ukraine to be resolved diplomatically while maintaining Russia’s control over Crimea, and for this, he was included in the Myrotvorets database as an “anti-Ukrainian propagandist”. The American politician noted that the US did not take Russia’s proposals for security guarantees seriously at the end of 2021, which could have been a starting point for negotiations.”


Pro-Moscow figures in the Ukrainian information field, who have been turning their backs on Russia since the start of the full-scale war, “seized” the opportunity to accuse Kyiv of disrupting the negotiation process and justify Putin’s actions. At the same time, “Other Ukraine” is openly manipulating – drawing a conclusion about the attitude of the Ukrainian leadership toward Kissinger based on the publications of the Myrotvorets website, which in fact has no relation to the state authorities. It is significant that in September 2023, during his visit to the United States, President Volodymyr Zelensky met with Kissinger.

The right-wing radical segment of the Russian Telegram was unequivocal in its “assessment” of Kissinger. Z-channels portrayed Kissinger as perhaps the most bloody “butcher” of the Cold War, accusing him of involvement in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in Cambodia, East Timor, Chile, Bangladesh, and Argentina. Some radical resources organized an unannounced flash mob, coming up with insulting epitaphs such as “dirty Russophobe”, “old frog”, “100-year-old relic of the Cold War”, etc.

It is worth noting that the world press also noted the ambiguity of Kissinger’s legacy in the history of the twentieth century. The Washington Post (USA), in particular, wrote the following about the death of the former Secretary of State: “…we emphasize his mistakes not to diminish Mr Kissinger’s significance, but to confirm it”. Die Tageszeitung (Berlin, Germany) notes that “for the sake of his country’s interests, he repeatedly went to the lengths of his life… he was the embodiment of a force that was indiscriminate in its means – a force that was convinced that no one could control it”. El Confidencial (Madrid, Spain) emphasizes the controversial nature of Kissinger’s portrait, citing the following palette of characteristics – “…an extra, a diplomat, a ruthless man, a scientist, a butcher, a master negotiator, a realist, a war criminal, a genius, a monster. He spent eight years in the White House. And after that, we spent almost six times as much time discussing his legacy.”

So, as we can see, Russian propaganda did not ignore the death of Henry Kissinger, a prominent soldier of the Cold War. However, unlike the Western press, the Kremlin’s official media focused not on the personality of Kissinger himself, but on the current context of international relations. Instead of analyzing the latter’s role in the history of the twentieth century, Russian propagandists used the Secretary of State’s legacy to justify their own propaganda narratives. First of all, the attempt to use the example of Kissinger’s contacts with Putin to remind Western elites that even in the current circumstances, dialogue is possible with “pragmatic” politicians of the United States and the Old World is noteworthy. Of course, the subject of the negotiations, from the Kremlin’s point of view, should be the redistribution of spheres of influence to establish a new balance of power in which Moscow will play a key role – this is the perspective through which Kissinger viewed the world order.

Russian pro-government political analysts “took the opportunity” to reproach the West for not wanting to listen to the advice of the “patriarch” of modern geopolitical thought. At the same time, Kissinger’s position is interpreted extremely selectively, with only quotes favorable to Russia being highlighted.

In their attempts to portray the 100-year-old ex-Secretary of State as a “disgrace” to the Ukrainian government, Russian information dumps have resorted to outright manipulation and fabrication.

In this way, Russian propagandists “paid tribute” to one of the most influential apologists for dialogue with the Kremlin in the West, using his name for manipulative stories for the last time and “throwing him into the dustbin of history”.