Putin’s Pals Furious Younger Russians Don’t Want to Die in Ukraine

Photo illustration by The Daily Beast/Getty
As Russia's invasion of Ukraine progresses, there is a dark undercurrent of dwindling public support - and it's even coming through on tightly controlled state television. In the first days of the bloody war, the public was promised a quick victory due to the superiority of the Russian military. Instead, the Kremlin's offensive has been plagued by heavy casualties and equipment shortages, to the point that state television pundits are publicly considering seeking help and support from other pariah states -- including Iran and North Korea.
ADVERTISEMENT
Russia has reportedly been locked in talks with Iran to buy its military drones due to a severe shortage of its own unmanned aerial vehicles. During the state-run TV program 60 Minutes, which aired on Thursday, military expert Igor Korotchenko suggested North Koreans could help rebuild devastated Ukrainian regions and join Russia's military ranks. Talks about legalizing the involvement of foreign fighters alongside Russian forces have been a recurring theme in state media, and for good reason: Ordinary citizens are less than enthusiastic about the prospect of going to war or dying for Putin. That doesn't sit well with top Kremlin propagandists like state TV host Vladimir Solovyov, who has twice received official awards from Russian President Vladimir Putin for his services to the fatherland.
During the broadcast of his show "The Evening With Vladimir Solovyov" on Thursday, the host complained: "It irritates me that our society does not understand that a turning point is taking place. We either get up, build up and end up on another level, or just cease to exist.” His guest, political scientist Alexander Kamkin, agreed and suggested conducting a “cultural special operation” in Russia.
The Kremlin's tight control over information released to the public has failed to limit access to outside sources, with tensions reaching such a boiling point that convicted Russian agent Maria Butina on Monday during Solovyov's show suggested jailing parents whose Kids use VPN to access foreign media. The host was also disappointed with the younger generation's lackluster involvement in Putin's war, lamenting: "People planning to join [the military] are mostly my age, some are a bit younger... That's the generation , who grew up with Soviet films, literature and values. But the very young people I speak to faint when they cut their finger - and they see that as their democratic values... Military special operations is our Rubicon. I have the feeling that many here still cannot believe it.”
Writer Zakhar Prilepin, who is wanted by Ukraine's security service SBU for "participating in activities of a terrorist organization" for his involvement in Russian war crimes in Ukraine, added: "We really need volunteers, we don't hide that." We need to increase seconded staff. The subject of death has since faded away. The theme of the offense is curtailed. You can't talk about death in comfortable society. 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 charter of the Imperial Army is in plain language: if you have three opponents, go to war and advance, kill all three. If you have ten, then defend yourself. When your death has come, then die. It is clearly written: “Soldier, death is part of your job. It is part of your duty and your contract with the government.' The same principles were adopted by [Joseph] Stalin, who had an orthodox Christian upbringing.”
ADVERTISEMENT
In Russia's "Kafka-style" mass kidnapping program
Prilepin recited the lyrics of an old Soviet song called “In the Forest at the Front”: “If you have to lie in the ground, you have to do it at least once.” He claimed: “The soldier was told frankly: go and 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, mothers, conscripts, everyone. We've barely forced our governors to put up murals [of the fallen soldiers]... Everyone's afraid of upsetting society.”
Prilepin openly worried that in the event of total mobilization, the younger generation would rather flee to neighboring countries than join the fight: “The government assumes that in Russia there are always 1 million combat-ready men. As for the rest of the country, we're trying not to worry them... We've been discussing difficult issues that could lead to WW3 and the same mobilization that we're trying to avoid right now... It's difficult to talk about speak total mobilization, because I suspect that suddenly a huge flow of people will pour into Armenia and Georgia. Borders must be closed. I am talking about our younger generation.”
Solovyov suggested changing the rules of protecting conscripts from participating in combat: “You know what amazes me the most? That conscripts shouldn't fight in our army... So what should they do in the army?" He complained that not enough volunteers had joined the fight: "We have 150 million people. How many are fighting in Donbass?” The state TV host proposed a massive government-funded propaganda campaign that glorified participants in Russia's so-called “special operation” on film and television with songs and poems.
Gone are the days when state television propagandists predicted that other countries would flock to Russia's side to join the fight against Ukraine and the West. Political scientist Sergei Mikheyev summed up the current mood in Russia on Thursday's program “Evening with Vladimir Solovyov”: “The world can fool itself with these constant discussions about what we can offer the world … We don't have to offer it to everyone . We are special, we have to build ourselves up.” Solovyov agreed: “We are Noah's Ark. First of all, we must save ourselves. Ourselves!"
Read more at The Daily Beast.
Get the Daily Beast's biggest news and scandals straight to your inbox. Join Now.
Stay connected and get unlimited access to the Daily Beast's unmatched coverage. subscribe now
Wladimir Putin
President of Russia

Last News

J-Lo Surprised Ben With an ‘Elaborate’ Birthday Party Days Before Their 2nd Wedding—Here’s Who Attended

J-Lo Surprised Ben With an ‘Elaborate’ Birthday Party Days Before Their 2nd Wedding—Here’s Who Attended

Malcom Brown released by Jacksonville Jaguars in surprise move following career year

NASCAR's Daniel Suarez Issues A Strong Warning To New Teammate Kimi Räikkönen

Former NFL player and 'AGT' finalist fumbles magic trick during live show

Former NFL player and 'AGT' finalist fumbles magic trick during live show