The man Vladimir Putin hand-picked to run a new state-run news agency turned a number of heads yesterday when he stood before an image of a mushroom cloud and declared that "Russia is the only country that could really turn the US into radioactive ash." Dmitry Kiselyov then showed a simulation of a Russian nuclear strike, and suggested that the Kremlin had threatened Washington by running an article on such a strike on Jan. 22, a day after an Obama-Putin phone call, the Moscow Times reports.
Kiselyov is known as a pro-Putin anti-gay firebrand, but he's "not your average moron," one Russia expert tweeted. "He is Russia's most senior government media executive, essentially minister of propaganda." Russian bloggers responded with shock and mockery, the New York Times reports; one opposition leader's Twitter feed suggested that Kiselyov was intoxicated, then pointed out a Photoshopped image of the host being dragged away by men in white coats. (Read more Dmity Kiselyov stories.)