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The Russian leader was roundly mocked by many pro-war Russian figures Monday night for praising the “courage” of the Wagner mercenaries who killed several service members and tried to seize control of military leadership in an attempted insurrection over the weekend. On Tuesday, he was filmed walking down a literal red carpet at the Kremlin to tell members of the military and security services they had “stopped a civil war.”
Left out was the fact that the Wagner mercenaries behind the uprising were allowed to casually walk away, without any criminal charges or resistance from Russian security forces.
Perhaps more bizarre, Putin claimed that neither the nation nor the country’s military supported the Wagner fighters in their uprising, despite numerous videos of residents in the Rostov region cheering on Wagner mercenaries and gleefully shaking Wagner founder Yevgeny Prigozhin’s hand.
“The people who were dragged into the uprising saw that the army and the people were not with them,” Putin claimed in his Tuesday speech.
His comment immediately raised eyebrows on Russian social media.
“News from a parallel reality,” wrote the popular pro-war Telegram channel “Thirteenth.”
“One Chekist I know often told me: ‘The main thing is more confusion.’ That passes for an idea,” said pro-Kremlin war reporter Alexander Sladkov.
Others complained that the Kremlin was apparently just hoping the whole fiasco would be forgotten.
“Not a word has been said about the preconditions for the uprising, the systemic problems that led not only to Wagner’s appearance, but the fact that many people sympathized with it,” a popular pro-war Russian Telegram channel wrote.
“I have not seen anything more pitiful performed by a man remotely resembling the president. Great job everyone… The unrest continues,” wrote Igor Strelkov, the former commander of Russia’s proxy forces in Donetsk.
Other pro-Kremlin military bloggers insisted the Kremlin would soon show a more decisive response to the uprising.
“I just can’t believe that this is it,” wrote pro-Russian military blogger Yury Kotenok, speculating that perhaps “personnel decisions” will soon be announced as a result of the mutiny.
“There is a stubborn belief that this is not all. We’re waiting,” wrote Semyon Pegov.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, meanwhile, dismissed claims that the armed uprising over the weekend had been a blow to Putin’s image, saying that it was just “ultra-emotional tantrums” by analysts that were to blame for that notion.