The Kremlin’s Shady Horses: Scott Ritter – Marine of Russian propaganda

The project “Shady Horses” delves into investigating Russian propaganda dissemination within Western countries through prominent individuals, often referred to as “talking heads.” By analysing the influence and messaging of these figures, the project seeks to shed light on the tactics employed to spread Russian narratives, their impact on public opinion, and their potential connections to foreign organisations.

Scott Ritter initially embodies the characteristics of a conventional Russian supporter. Upon closer inspection, however, a complex web of inconsistencies and disputes emerges, calling for even more investigation.

Ritter’s ostensibly innocent online persona conceals a disconcerting history: he is a registered sex offender in the United States. Nevertheless, his impact extends beyond mere public recognition; he is a highly prolific contributor to Russia Today, a state-run news organization notorious for disseminating Kremlin-friendly narratives.

Ritter’s X account functions as a platform for propaganda, wherein every post and video is carefully tailored to criticize Ukraine while glorifying Russia. Regardless of whether one is depicting Ukrainian nationalists as “Banderites and Nazis” or Russia as an unwilling defender of peace.

Ritter capitalises on existing geopolitical tensions. By capitalizing on occurrences such as the war in Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea, he constructs a narrative that depicts Russia as a benevolent actor merely reacting to perceived threats posed by ultranationalists in Ukraine.

Nevertheless, his rhetoric conceals a strategiv attempt to undermine the legitimacy of the Ukrainian government and erode global backing for its sovereignty. Ritter attempts to rationalize Russia’s interventionist strategies and advance its territorial aspirations in the region by depicting Ukraine as a failed state ruled by extremism.

Who is this Shady Horse?

Scott Ritter, former UN Weapons Inspector, contributor to Russian state media outlets 

Where are they from?

United States

What have they been saying?…

For Scott Ritter, the notion of Ukrainian blame serves a dual purpose: absolving Russia of its own wrongdoing while justifying further aggression against Ukraine.  

“Bucha, as you know, was perpetrated by Nazi-affiliated Ukrainian security forces.Ukrainian troops use civilians as human shields.”

Ritter’s repeated claims of being an American patriot are in stark contrast to the content of his statements. Despite his self-proclaimed allegiance to the United States, his actions and rhetoric are more aligned with Russia’s objectives. Scott’s behavior, from his vocal support for Russian narratives on international issues to his public displays of camaraderie with Russian officials, is that of a Kremlin apologist rather than an American patriot.  

“I’m an American Patriot who believes trying to avoid nuclear war with Russia is better than supporting Ukrainian Nazis.”

On February 23, 2024, Scott Ritter took to Twitter to proudly announce his bourbon-fueled rendezvous with Russian officers in Russia, mirroring a previous scene where he indulged in vodka with the same counterparts the year before:


“Happy Defender of the Fatherland Day to the men of the Russian Armed Forces! And for all you haters out there, convince me drinking high-end bourbon with Russian officers isn’t preferable to bleeding out on the battlefield of an avoidable war.”


Perhaps the most favourite Ritter’s narrative of the Ruspropaganda is the fake about “neo-Nazis in Ukraine”:

“…Russia is on the right side of history when it comes to standing up against an expansive NATO alliance that has made common cause with Banderist neo-Nazi Ukrainian ultranationalists for the purpose of weakening and destroying Russia.”

“ One can only hope that the people of Ukraine wake up and rid themselves of the cancer of Banderism. Otherwise, the Russian program of denazification will continue unabated to its bitter end.”

“In February 2014 the CIA orchestrated a coup that removed a constitutionally elected President, replacing him with US-anointed Ukrainian ultranationalists.

These nationalists declared war on the ethnic Russians of the Donbas.” 

The biggest fear gripping every fervent supporter of Russia is the spectre of financial aid flowing into Ukraine.

“Wake up, America. Ukraine is overrun with Nazis. We should be eliminating them, not supporting them. Just say no to Nazis. Just say no to Ukraine funding.”

In January 2024, Ritter embarked on a journey that would shatter his illusions and sow the seeds of disillusionment.

2024 Mariupol, Ukraine

His travels began in Mariupol, a city scarred by the war, and occupied by Russian forces. To Ritter, the destruction was merely a testament to Ukraine’s “misdeeds”, a justification for Russia’s intervention. 

“Many do not have gas, although the gas pipeline runs 500 metres away. They have no sewage system. There’s no water to flush the shit in the toilet, so they have toilets outside. It’s not at all how I imagined Russia to be.”