Staunton, Nov. 21 – The Kremlin has long insisted that Western sanctions did not have a negative impact on Russia and that the “special military operation” in Ukraine has not led Ukrainians to hate Russians. But now, almost simultaneously, senior representatives of the Putin regime have acknowledged that both of its earlier claims were false.
On the one hand, Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s press spokesman, said that with the imposition of Western sanctions, Russia faced “the threat of collapse. And indeed,” he continued, “we had to mobilize all resources to prevent that. At first, the task was just to prevent a collapse” and only later to talk about recovery and growth (censoru.net/2023/11/21/byla-ugroza-obvala-kreml-vpervye-priznal-jeffektivnost-sankcij.html).
And on the other, Russian military correspondent and commentator Maksim Fadeyev acknowledged that “there no longer is a pro-Russian population” in any of the areas controlled by Ukraine.” Because of Russian moves, “even those who previously had a positive attitude towards Russia now hate it and are helping the Ukrainian military.”
This means, he says, that “Ukrainians now view the Russian military as the enemy and the occupier. And Fadeyev even admitted that his own aunt “dreams of dropping a nuclear bomb on the head of Russian President Vladimir Putin” (censoru.net/2023/11/21/izvestnyj-rossijskij-voenkor-priznal-proval-rf-v-ukraine-oni-nas-nenavidjat.html).
These admissions certainly do not represent the dawn of a new honesty in Russian statements, but they are an indication of something almost as important: those at the top of the Putin regime recognize that unless they admit some of the realities of the situation, Russians will dismiss everything they say, something the Kremlin cannot afford.