The news that Vice President Joe Biden's son Hunter had taken a job with the Ukrainian gas company Burisma has been met in Russia with malicious glee. "Ahaha," tweeted Member of Parliament Alexander Sidyakin, reacting to the White House statement that there was no conflict of interest after the news of Hunter Biden's new role was made public on Tuesday. "Joe Biden is a good dad - took the trouble of going across the ocean to secure a job for his son," the pro-Kremlin website politrussia.ru commented in its Twitter feed, referring to Vice President's recent trip to Ukraine.
Rossiya TV channel's commentator Andrey Arkhipov said the appointment was "in line with Washington's plan to gain control over global energy resources." Dubbing Joe Biden "the curator of the military coup in Ukraine" - a reference to the ousting of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych in February following months of public protests - Arkhipov ridiculed the idea that no U.S. lobbying was involved in the appointment.
Top TV and radio anchor Vladimir Solovyov speculated about the fact that Burisma owned licenses for shale gas deposits in the areas of eastern Ukraine, where armed conflict between government forces and separatist insurgents is now flaring. "Let me remind you what the U.S. keeps telling Europe: Reject Russian gas. We'll provide as much gas as you need. We have shale gas technology," he said, without developing his conspiracy theory any further. Ukraine's and Europe's dependence on Russian gas supplies is a major factor in the Ukrainian geopolitical equation.
Russian media has been picturing Joe Biden as the Ukrainian government's puppeteer ever since last month's visit, which was aimed at demonstrating American support for the interim Ukrainian government. While in Kiev, Biden was filmed taking the chairperson's seat at a meeting with Ukrainian ministers. That footage featured prominently in Russian TV bulletins as an illustration of Ukraine allegedly turning into a U.S. colony.
The incident prompted a vitriolic comment by Russian Foreign Minster Sergey Lavrov, who said that "Joe Biden was conducting a meeting with the Ukrainian leadership essentially in the capacity of the head of state, presiding over the table, with Ukrainian officials on his side."