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As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, there is a dark undercurrent of waning public support – and it’s showing even on tightly controlled state television. In the early days of the bloody war, the public was promised a quick victory due to the superiority of the Russian army. Instead, the Kremlin offensive has been plagued with heavy casualties and equipment deficiencies, to the point that state television pundits are publicly considering asking for help and assistance. to other pariah states, including Iran and North Korea.
Russia has reportedly been involved in talks with Iran to buy its military drones, due to the severe shortage of its own unmanned aerial vehicles. During the Thursday broadcast of the state television program 60 Minutes, military expert Igor Korochenko suggested that the North Koreans could help rebuild the destroyed Ukrainian regions and join the Russian military ranks. Conversations about legalizing the participation of foreign fighters alongside Russian forces have been a recurring topic in state media, and for good reason: ordinary citizens are less enthusiastic about going to war or die for Putin. This does not sit well with leading pro-Kremlin propagandists, such as state TV host Vladimir Solovyov, twice officially recognized by Russian President Vladimir Putin for his services to the Fatherland.
During the Thursday broadcast of his show, The evening with Vladimir Solovyovthe host complained, “It pisses me off that our society doesn’t understand that a watershed moment is happening. Either we get up, build and finish on another level, or we just stop. simply to exist.” His guest, political scientist Alexander Kamkin, agreed and suggested that a “special cultural operation” be carried out in Russia.
The Kremlin’s tight control over information released to the public has failed to restrict access to outside sources, with tensions reaching such a boiling point that on Monday, during Soloviev’s broadcast, the agent Russian convict Maria Butina has suggested jailing parents whose children use a VPN to access abroad. media. The host was also disappointed with the younger generation’s lackluster involvement in Putin’s war, complaining, “People who are considering joining [the military] are mostly the same age as me, some are a little younger… This is the generation that was brought up in cinema, literature and Soviet values. But the very young people I talk to, they faint if they cut their finger — and they see that as their democratic values… The special military operation is our Rubicon. I feel like a lot of people here still can’t figure it out.
Writer Zakhar Prilepin, wanted by the Ukrainian security service SBU for “participation in the activity of a terrorist organization” for his involvement in Russian war crimes in Ukraine, added: “We really need volunteers, we don’t hide it. . We have to replenish the dislodged personnel. Meanwhile, the topic of death is glossed over. The topic of death is cut short. In a comfort-driven society, you can’t talk about death. Everyone is expected to go to war, win, and come back alive. Better yet, don’t go in the first place. Let me remind you that the Imperial Army Charter included in language clear: if you have three opponents, go to war and advance, kill all three. If you have ten, then defend yourself. If your death has come, then die. It is written very clearly: “Soldier , death is part of your job”. It is part of your duty and t of your contract with the government. The same principles have been adopted by [Joseph] Stalin, who had an Orthodox Christian upbringing.
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Prilepin recited the words of an old Soviet song, called “In the woods on the front line”: “If you have to lie down in the ground, you have to do it at least once.” He claimed: “The soldier was openly told: go fight. If you have to die, you only have to do it once… It’s part of your duty as a citizen, as a soldier, as a warrior, as a Russian man. Today, we protect everyone: the government, the mothers, the conscripts, everyone. We barely forced our governors to put up murals [of the fallen soldiers]… Everyone is afraid of upsetting society.”
Prilepin openly worried that in the event of total mobilization, the younger generation would choose to flee to neighboring countries instead of joining the fight: “The government assumes that in Russia there are still 1 million men ready to fight. As for the rest of the country, we try not to worry them… We discussed difficult subjects, which could lead to the third world war and to the same mobilization that we are trying to avoid at the moment… is difficult to talk about full mobilization, because I suspect that an excessive flow of people will suddenly pour into Armenia and Georgia. The borders will have to be closed. I’m talking about our younger generation.
Soloviev proposed changing the rules protecting conscripts from participating in combat: “You know what amazes me the most? That conscripts in our army aren’t supposed to fight… So what are they supposed to do in the army? He complained that there were not enough volunteers to join the battle: “We have 150 million people. How many are fighting in the Donbass? The state TV host proposed a massive government-funded propaganda campaign, glorifying the participants of Russia’s so-called “special operation” in film and television, with songs and poetry.
Gone are the days when state television propagandists predicted that other countries would flock to Russia’s side to join the battle against Ukraine and the West. During Thursday’s program of The Evening with Vladimir Solovyov, political scientist Sergey Mikheyev summed up the current mood in Russia: “About these constant discussions about what we can offer the world, the world can fuck off… We don’t need to offer anything to anyone. We are special, we have to build ourselves. Soloviev agreed: “We are Noah’s Ark. First of all, we must save ourselves. Ourselves!”
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