The accumulation of defeats in Ukraine has given rise to unusual outbursts of anger in the Russian elitestill in favor of the intervention but desperate for the silence of the army, with some even calling for the execution of military commanders.
Until the setbacks in September, public criticism of the army was rare. And since the offensive against Ukraine was presented as a sacred patriotic mission, denigrating the troops became punishable by harsh prison terms.
Although no one among the Russian elite questions the motives of Moscow or the attack on the neighboring country, the defeats and failures in mobilizing hundreds of thousands of reservists led public figures, usually pliant with power, to attack the military hierarchy.
On Wednesday, the head of the Defense committee of the Duma, the lower house, asked the military to “stop lying” in their daily reportsin which they claim to cause huge losses to the Ukrainian forces and do not mention the defeats.
“The reports of the Ministry of Defense do not change. The people know it. Our people are not fools. This can lead to a loss of credibility”, said Andrei Kartapolov on the program of Vladimir Solovyov, a star presenter and ultra-patriotic figure in the Russian media sphere.
anger and fatalism
This commentator sanctioned by the European Union was not far behind, and estimated this week that some Russian military commanders deserved to end up before a firing squad.
“The guilty must be punished, we do not have the death penalty, unfortunately, which for some would be the only solution. They do not have the sense of honor of the officers, because they do not shoot themselves, ”Soloviov released on his program.
Another example is the newspaper’s star war reporter Komsomolskaya Pravda, Alexander Kots. On his Telegram channel he said that “there will be no good news in the near future” from the front.
The virulence of the declarations of some and the fatalistic feeling of others it is more surprising just after Vladimir Putin decreed the annexation of four Ukrainian regions.
The event was celebrated with a huge concert in Moscow’s Red Square, where the Kremlin chief inflamed the crowd waving Russian flags: “Victory will be ours,” he said.
The criticism does not reach either the head of state or his defense minister, Sergei Shoigu.
But when the leader of the Chechnya region, Ramzan Kadyrov, lashed out at Russian generals, calling for nuclear weapons and hinting that Putin was misinformed, the Kremlin did have to react.
The opposition is reactivated
“In difficult moments, emotions must be left out … We prefer to make measured and objective evaluations,” replied Dmitri Peskov, spokesman for the presidency.
Putin publicly acknowledged “mistakes” in the mobilization process before the avalanche of documented cases of people not fit to fight who were called to join the front.
Weakened by these two years of repression and the imprisonment of its referent Alexei Navalny, the opposition, which operates mainly from abroad, wants to try to restructure itself in Russia and hopes to capitalize on or feed possible popular discontent.
“Millions of people are still in Russia, they are hostages of Putin and do not want to fight. These people realize little by little that they have to act”, estimated a friend of Navalny, Leonid Volkov, announcing on YouTube the reactivation of a network of activists in the country.
“This fight can take different forms, with different levels of risk. We can spread information, provide legal aid, volunteer or sabotage the work of military stations, some of which burn very well, ”he indicated.
(With information from AFP)