Russell Brand, Bill Maher Spar Over Whether Zelenskyy Is A ‘Hero’

[Screenshot Youtube Club Random]

Brianna Lyman News and Commentary Writer
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Comedian Bill Maher sparred with actor Russell Brand over whether Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is a war hero during a newly released episode of Maher’s “Club Random” podcast.

Brand argued that powerful interests in the United States were working to prevent a negotiated peace and to push the simplistic “narrative that Zelenskky’s a hero, and Putin’s a monster.”

“Well, wait a second. Zelenskyy is a hero and Putin is a monster,” Maher said.

“Well, the Panama Papers suggested that Zelenskyy, like a lot of Ukrainian politicians, has some interesting business dealings,” Brand responded, ploughing forward as Maher attempted to interject. “And they’ve rejected the Minsk agreement, and there was a peace deal on the table and the West lobbied Zelenskyy not to take that peace deal, so said the former Israeli prime minister.”

“Yeah, because his country got invaded illegally,” Maher said. “I mean, I can’t — I don’t know why you’re—”

Brand then argued that NATO had been absorbing former Soviet territory for years and cited the Western-backed coup that removed Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych from power in 2014. He then told Maher that it was “naïve” to accept a purely “humanitarian” explanation of the war and ignore the “opportunity for profit for the military industrial complex” that the conflict has created, a situation Brand compared to pharmaceutical companies profiting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Brand also acknowledged Putin is a “dictator-style politician” but said it’s important to note the U.S. wants to destabilize Russia.

Maher then agreed that continuing to expand NATO after the end of the Cold War did send a “terrible message” to Russia as the nation struggled to transition from communism to democracy.

“That was a terrible message to send and I think that set things off,” he continued. “It may have gone to shit anyway. I mean, Russia is a tough place and the people have been brutalized by communism, which is horrible for the soul not to mention the pocketbook.” (RELATED: ‘They Were The Party Of Slavery’: Maher Says Democrats Had Bad Roots While Defending Italian Prime Minister)

Brand held up a sheaf of papers that he said contained “facts” about the situation and proceeded to explain to Maher that U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson had advised Zelenskyy to not take a peace deal that was on the table, according to former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. He then cited other news stories to advance the claim that the West was prolonging the war in Ukraine in order to benefit the arms industry and erode Russian power.

“Okay, okay, stop,” Maher said.

“These are good facts, Bill.”

“These are facts, possibly. I don’t have a fact checker here, I don’t doubt any of them,” Maher said.

Maher then argued that two things can be true at once.

“It can be something that is a worthy endeavor to stop Russia from invading another country, and it also … is the case, of course, people in the defense industry are looking to keep having reasons to make weapons and so forth,” Maher said.

Brand isn’t the only one who has raised concerns about Zelenskyy, with Daily Caller co-founder and Fox News host Tucker Carlson calling the leader a “celebrity-endorsed dictator of the most corrupt nation in Europe.”