Staunton, Oct. 5 – Andrey Kartopolov, the retired colonel general who heads the Duma defense committee, says that the Russian military must “stop lying about the situation at the front. Now, the enemy is on our land … We know this from all kinds of sources … But the defense ministry doesn’t report it.”
His words have been reported by telegram channels and websites (t.me/SolovievLive/131916 and kapital-rus.ru/news/390587-nado_perestat_vrat_v_gosdume_prizvali_minoborony_nachat_govorit_prav/) and are likely to have an impact greater that Margarita Simonyan’s more widely reported remarks of a similar kind (rutube.ru/video/e7d530bb7e23090ea5f32e57c30cf20b/).
And they are especially significant for three reasons: First, they highlight increasing anger within the Russian elite about what is going on, anger that is manifesting itself in a search for whom to blame what is an increasingly disastrous situation on the Ukrainian front for Russian forces.
Second, they show that Russians are getting news about what is really going on from other sources, including in the first instance the Internet, and thus are in a far better position than earlier to know what is happening and to compare that will what the regime is saying. As a result, the credibility of the regime is declining still further.
And third, they point to a way in which Putin’s moves to annex Ukrainian territory is backfiring in Russia itself. If these territories are Russian, the failure of the Russian army to defend them successfully is even more disturbing to many Russians than earlier failures of the Russian forces to advance in Ukraine.
Window on Eurasia — New Series