August 17, 2022

As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, there’s a dark undercurrent of dwindling popular support – and it’s coming 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’s offensive has been so plagued by heavy casualties and equipment shortages that state television experts are openly considering seeking help from other pariah states – including Iran and North Korea.

Russia has reportedly been involved in discussions with Iran to buy its military drones, due to the acute shortage of its unmanned aerial vehicles. During the broadcast of the official TV program 60 Minutes on Thursday, military expert Igor Korotchenko indicated that the North Koreans could help rebuild Ukraine’s devastated regions and join the Russian military ranks. Talks about legalizing the participation of foreign fighters alongside Russian forces have been a frequent topic in state media, and with good reason: Ordinary citizens are less enthusiastic about the prospect of going to war or dying for Putin. This does not align well with major pro-Kremlin propagandists, such as state TV presenter Vladimir Solovyov – Russian President Vladimir Putin officially recognized him twice for his services to the Fatherland.

During the broadcast of his show on Thursday, Evening with Vladimir Solovyov, the host complained: “It bothers me that our society does not understand that a watershed moment is currently taking place. We either stand up and build and finish on another level, or we simply cease to exist.” His guest, professor of political science Alexander Kamkin, agreed and suggested conducting a “special cultural operation” in Russia.

The Kremlin’s tight control over information released to the public has failed to limit access to outside sources, with tensions so boiling that on Monday during Solovyov’s show, Maria Butina, the convicted Russian agent, suggested jailing parents whose children use VPN to access foreigners. The media. Likewise the host was disappointed by the lackluster participation of the younger generation in Putin’s war, complaining: “People who plan to join [the military] They are basically the same age as me, some a bit younger… This is the generation that grew up on Soviet films, literature and Soviet values. But the same young people I’ve spoken to would faint if they cut their fingers off – and they see it as their democratic values…Special Military Operation is our Rubicon. I have a feeling that many here still can’t absorb it.”

Writer Zakhar Prilibin, who is wanted by the Security Service of Ukraine on charges of “participating in the activity of a terrorist organization” for his involvement in Russian war crimes in Ukraine, added: “We really need volunteers, we are not hiding it. . We need to renew the individuals who were expelled.” Meanwhile, the topic of death is silenced. The topic of perdition has been reduced. In a society motivated by comfort, you cannot talk about death. Everyone is expected to go to war and win and come back alive. Better yet, not to go in the first place. Let me remind you that the military charter Imperial is included in plain language: If you have three enemies, go to war and advance, kill all three. If you have ten, defend yourself. If your death comes, die. He wrote very clearly: “Soldier, death is part of your job.” It is part of your duty and your contract with the government. The same principles have been adopted before [Joseph] Stalin, who received an Orthodox Christian education. ”

Prilepin recited the words of an old Soviet song “In the woods at the front line”: “If you have to lie on the floor, at least you have to do it only once.” He asserted: “The soldier was openly told: Go and fight. If you have to die, you only have to do it once… This is 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, Recruits, everyone. We hardly force our rulers to put up murals [of the fallen soldiers]…everyone is afraid of disturbing society.”

Prilepin was openly worried that in a case of full mobilization, the younger generation would choose to flee to neighboring countries rather than join the fight: “The government assumes that in Russia there are always a million men ready to fight. For the rest of the country, we try not to worry them … We have We were discussing difficult topics, which could lead to World War III and the same mobilization we are trying to avoid now… It’s hard to talk about full mobilization, because I suspect that an excessive flood of people will suddenly pour into Armenia and Georgia. The borders must be closed. I’m talking about our younger generation. “.

Solovyov suggested changing the rules protecting conscripts from taking part in combat: “Do you know what surprises me most? That conscripts in our army are not supposed to fight … So what are they supposed to do in the army?” He complained about not joining Enough volunteers to battle: “We have 150 million people. How many fighters are in the Donbass?” The state TV presenter proposed a huge publicity campaign funded by the government, glorifying the participants of the so-called Russian “special operation” in cinema and on television, with songs and poetry.

Gone are the days when state TV propagandists expected other countries to flock to the Russian side to join the fight against Ukraine and the West. During Thursday’s broadcast of The Evening With Vladimir Solovyov, political scientist Sergei Mikheev summed up the current mood in Russia: “About these constant discussions about what we can offer the world, the world can spoil itself… We don’t need to offer anything to anyone. We are special. We need to build ourselves up.” Solovyov agreed: “We are Noah’s Ark. First of all, we need to save ourselves. Ourselves!”

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