Viewer stunned after 'surreal' broadcast VI Today

“Russia. We have to keep it a little light-hearted, that’s why we invited you,” presenter Genee says to his guest, who has been placed on a stool at the bar. “The West and Russia cannot figure it out. There are a lot of Russian troops on the border of Ukraine, and NATO is threatening to send more and more troops that way. What must be done, and what will happen in the near future? Because it’s serious, isn’t it?”

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Parakhina can confirm that it is ‘absolutely serious’. “It is a very big question. Putin has been shouting everywhere: ‘We don’t want to invade Ukraine, we don’t want war. But before the dancer can make her point, she is interrupted by Genee: „But he also said: ‘We did not poison (former opposition leader, ed.) Navalny. You never know for sure what is true and what is not true with Putin.”

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Dancer and judge Euvgenia Parakhina had come to VI Today to talk about the current situation in her native Russia.

Dancer and judge Euvgenia Parakhina had come to VI Today to talk about the current situation in her native Russia.


Visibly irritated, Parakhina falls silent, only to continue her speech after a few seconds. She says, among other things, that she has just returned from Russia and that the people there are ‘absolutely not looking forward to a war’. She then gives the men at the table a short history lesson about the relationship between post-war Russia and neighboring countries.

Parakhina tries to simplify the complicated issue somewhat by ‘involving’ the Netherlands. “Tomorrow, for example, it will be said: ‘There in Groningen, rockets will be placed that will be fired towards Amsterdam and The Hague. How do you feel?” Genee, surprised by the question, replies with a laugh: “What can I say…” Paul de Leeuw, who is also sitting at the table, thinks it is mainly ‘lousy for Groningen’. “Then do Friesland or Limburg.” He effortlessly manages to hold his own between Derksen and Gijp.

De Cream

Then it is Derksen’s turn, who was featured earlier in the evening with Genee and René van der Gijp in the marble show Marble Mania: “You are now telling a fairly long story, but what you really want is to approve Putin’s policies. Parakhina: “No, I do not want to approve Putin’s policy, I want to make it clear that in the Netherlands, or in Europe, it is viewed very simply and in black and white. And not nuanced.”

Derksen wonders aloud whether this has nothing to do with ‘the fact that Putin has also entered Crimea’. “Maybe I’m saying something very stupid, but that’s how we Dutch view it.” When Parakhina also wants to explain the history of Crimea, Genee intervenes: “The program is quite short, we have little time left.” Derksen: “Before you know it, we’ll have eight minutes of advertising.”

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René van der Gijp and Paul de Leeuw had a great time on Thursday evening.

René van der Gijp and Paul de Leeuw had a great time on Thursday evening.

Rutte dictator?

He continues: “May I ask you something? I read in the administration that we then receive about you, that you do not think Putin is a dictator. But then I think: someone who changes the constitution to stay in control for life and either liquidates every opponent or sends them to Siberia… that starts to look a bit like a dictatorship.” The jury member of programs like So You Think You Can Dance in Dancing with the Stars disagrees, describing Putin as ‘a strong man, with a straight way of governing’. “Very clear. You can call him dictator, but is Rutte also a dictator?”

Derksen: “Who?”

Parakhina: „Rutte, Mark Rutte.”

Genee: “He doesn’t send people to prison camps and stuff, haha!”

Derksen, ironically: “No, I think that’s a wrong comparison. That’s a boy scout compared to Putin.”


Genee acknowledges that it’s getting to be a “rather surreal” conversation and announces the commercial break. Derksen: “Do I always have to drive an hour and a half for this?”

The second part of VI Today is resumed with a laughing quartet at the table. Derksen wonders how the Russia problem can be discussed in a short period of time, while Gijp has the ‘solution’ for the conflict: “If that Putin is so bothered by those missiles, then you just remove them, right?”

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Johan Derksen: “Do I always have to drive an hour and a half for this?”

Johan Derksen: “Do I always have to drive an hour and a half for this?”


Genee tries to make it somewhat serious and asks Parakhina if she can imagine that policy in Russia is being critically looked at in the Netherlands.

“Yes, of course I can imagine that,” she says. “Of course bad things are happening in Russia. MH17 is unforgettable, painful and it will remain painful for the next hundred years. Absolute. Bad things happen, but what I notice: when I hear news about Russia, it is always negative. (…) I was brought up in the Soviet Union with the idea that ‘the Americans are going to attack us’.”

‘Bottle of whiskey’

When Derksen subsequently wants to discuss freedom of the press in Russia, Genee puts an end to the subject. Gijp perhaps best summarizes the memorable broadcast: “Damn it, I need a bottle of whiskey or two tonight…” Genee, almost crying with laughter: “Tomorrow we have one more episode of VI Today, it just might be the last.”

The fourth episode of . has been watched with surprise on social media VI Today. A large part of the viewers wonders ‘why a dancer and jury member of dance programs indicates the tensions between NATO and Russia’.

One person writes: “The broadcast started about marbles. Now we are at the piece of cruise missiles in Maastricht. It remains special that VI Today.” Another says: “Can someone ask that Russian if she never wants to come back? Man, what endless, incomprehensible talk…” Yet another: “Tomorrow by VI Today: Sifan Hassan on piracy in Somalia.” And: “Inviting a dance teacher to explain important things is never a good idea.”

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