John Oliver explained why it wouldn’t be so “nice if we actually got along with Russia,” as Donald Trump often says, in a Last Week Tonight exposé that examines Vladimir Putin’s misdeeds and the president’s obsession with the Russian autocrat.
“It’s a bit weird that you’ve been objectively nicer to Vladimir Putin than you have to Meryl Streep,” Oliver said of Trump.
“I know that over here, we think of Putin like a cartoon character that stages photo ops where he’s shirtless on a horse or swimming like a dolphin or emerging from the sea like a Bond villain,” Oliver said. “But in Russia, he’s not some comic book villain; to many, he’s a comic book hero. He’s genuinely popular there.”
After showing how Putin manages to manipulate the masses, Oliver then touched on the many Putin critics – like Russian journalists and former KGB agents – who have been murdered. Other Putin critics were the victim of smear campaigns and leaked sex tapes.
“Putin has carefully created an atmosphere in Russia that is extremely hostile to any opposition,” Oliver said. “Standing up to him could mean being targeted by trolls, and not just on the Internet: When Garry Kasparov spoke at a political opposition event, he was interrupted – and this is true – by radio-controlled flying dildos.”
Oliver summed it up, “To recap, Putin may or may not have stolen billions of dollars, and may or may not have been involved in the intimidation or assassination of his opponents. There is so much that people suspect but cannot quite prove. But here is what we can say about Putin without a doubt: He, among other things, annexed Crimea, imposed severe fines and long prison terms on protestors, propped up the brutal Assad regime and signed a harsh, anti-gay propaganda law.”
Oliver then looped it back to Trump, who has continually called a healthy relationship with Russia a “good thing.” However, Trump isn’t such a good thing for Putin, who has often deflected the problems in his own country by pointing out the flaws in America, something Trump is now adept at doing.
“Trump is basically the propagandist of Putin’s dreams, and who knows why he’s acting this way. Maybe he’s compromised, maybe he’s an idiot, but since the President of the United States won’t stick up for this country, I will: America and Russia are not the fucking same,” Oliver said.
“Don’t get me wrong: America has had, and continues to have, endemic problems that need fixing; that might as well be the title of this show. But hold on though, because our elections have some flaws, but they are not rigged. Our human rights record is far from perfect, but it does not compare to Putin’s Russia.”
The segment ends with Oliver reiterating why befriending Putin might be bad – he might demand the end of U.S. sanctions, the weakening of NATO and more – with a “shitty techno song” meant for Trump.