Russia is the target of a global plot orchestrated by the United States and involving fighters from the self-styled Islamic State (IS) and nationalist Ukrainian troops – that is the latest conspiracy theory broadcast on Russian state TV.
“America is everywhere, the West is everywhere, Nato is everywhere. Everything is organised against Russia,” the veteran Russian nationalist MP Vladimir Zhirinovsky railed during a talk show on Channel One, Russia’s most popular TV station.
There was a “certain link”, he hinted, between Ukrainian troops “raiding our western regions” and IS, which he said was being armed by the US.
Joining the studio discussion by video link, pro-Moscow Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov alleged that IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was a “CIA employee”. He suggested that he had been recruited while in prison.
Mr Kadyrov and Mr Zhirinovsky were speaking on Time Will Tell, a new daytime political talk show on Channel One. Its appearance at a time of day normally reserved for soaps, cookery shows or celebrity chat is just one example of how highly emotive coverage of the Ukraine crisis is increasingly dominating Russian TV schedules.