Kremlin Says Everyone Must Suffer So Putin Will Win

Sputnik/Gavriil Grigorov/Pool via Reuters
Sputnik/Gavriil Grigorov/Pool via Reuters

With dozens of newly drafted troops already dead and Russian troops laying the groundwork for a retreat from a key Ukrainian city, the Kremlin has now revealed it is hoping to give its war a second wind by making ordinary Russians feel it as much as possible.

Sergei Kirienko, the first deputy chief of staff of the presidential administration, said as much Saturday in a speech to a national conference of teachers, declaring that the war the Kremlin has until now doggedly insisted is only a “special military operation” must become a “people’s war.”

“Russia has always won any war, if that war became a people’s [war]. We will definitely win this war: both the ‘hot’ one, and the economic one, and the very psychological, information war that is being waged against us. But for that it is necessary that it is precisely a people’s war, so that every person feels his own involvement. So that every person has the opportunity to contribute to our common victory,” Kirienko said.

His comments raised eyebrows on social media, where many noted this appeared to be the first time the presidential administration had dropped its absurd “special operation” euphemism, and others pointed out that millions of Russians had already fled the country in protest.

Even as Kirienko made his comments, authorities in Belgorod on the border with Ukraine revealed they have erected concrete barriers to ostensibly keep the region safe from Ukrainians. And in Moscow, multiple media reports said local authorities had begun preparing bomb shelters in schools and hospitals—perhaps a theatrical move aimed at stoking fears of an attack in the capital.

Meanwhile, just one month after Vladimir Putin summoned tens of thousands of citizens to face death for him on the battlefield, at least 41 newly drafted troops have already been killed, according to a tally by Mediazona and the BBC. Among them were some who, by law, were not even eligible for the draft—including a Raiffeisenbank employee named Timur Izmailov, who was apparently tricked into visiting his local military recruitment office and then died six days after being tossed on to the frontline.

Bizarrely, Kirienko insisted that the “most important battle” for Russia right now is the “battle for the youth”—a strange priority to name given the thousands of youth already killed to prop up Putin's delusional war against Ukraine.

An unnamed Russian soldier’s phone call to his mother offered perhaps the most succinct reply to Kirienko’s vision of a “people’s war.”

“Fucking scumbags! This fucking government pisses me off so much! They are so dumb, I am in shock,” he told her from the frontline in Ukraine, according to audio released by Ukrainian intelligence.

“This is how it will be: half the country will be jailed and half the country will go to war.”

After his mother tried to reassure him by predicting Russia will soon take land from Poland, her son shot back that it is Russia that should be worried about losing territory now.

“Yes, yes, yes, with this fucking government it’s already been made clear.”

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