Most Americans had never heard of Kurt Volker, the State Department's former special representative for Ukraine negotiations, until Thursday, when he provided Congress with text messages proving that the Trump administration did tell Ukraine's new president that he would only be invited to the White House if he agreed to publicly back an investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden.
But the part-time diplomat and Washington lobbyist was already famous in Russia, where he was described on state-run television this week as "an evil demon." Volker, viewers of the Kremlin-controlled channel were informed, was a deep-state actor who had prolonged the war between Ukraine and Russian-backed separatists by pushing a distracted Donald Trump to arm Ukraine's military with Javelin anti-tank missiles.
The Russian state broadcaster's reports from Washington — which are made available with English subtitles on YouTube — offer Americans a rare opportunity to see the world as the government of President Vladimir Putin wants it to be seen and understood. It is a worldview that in many ways echoes the conspiratorial, paranoid musings of far-right American pundits featured on Fox News.