[guest post by Dana]
While Russia is “regrouping” its forces after suffering a drubbing in the Kharkiv region, the knives are out on Russian state television:
The same pundits who used to threaten NATO countries with nuclear strikes are begrudgingly acknowledging that Russia’s Armed Forces have suffered a series of humiliating setbacks in Ukraine.
There is quite a litany of complaints at the link, including a call for the heads of military leaders to be delivered to Putin:
“For two months, Ukrainian Armed Forces and military equipment have been massing in that area, all Telegram channels have been writing about it. Where was our damn reconnaissance? All of their heads should be laying on Putin’s desk, hacked off at the base… Of course, this is a tactical defeat. I hope it will be very sobering.”
One critic even called the “regrouping” an actual defeat:
Political scientist Sergey Mikheyev described recent developments in Kharkhiv as “a serious failure,” on the part of Russia. “Call it ‘regrouping’ or whatever else… This is our most serious defeat during the last six months, and the most significant success of our adversary… Perhaps this failure is beneficial, because being so obvious, now it’s impossible to pull the wool over our eyes, pretending that everything is wonderful,” he said.
Additionally, because defeat by NATO troops would be easier to stomach for Russia, doubt is being publicly cast about the Ukrainian troops:
“In the process of preparing the battle-ready Ukrainian troops, it turns out they’ve been rapidly turning darker in color and becoming fluent English speakers. They’re becoming indistinguishable from the mercenaries… Some of them have a Southern drawl, others speak with a British accent. Stop pretending already,” [filmmaker Karen Shakhnazarov ]said.
In the meantime, the Kremlin is warning against counting Putin out – just yet anyway:
The Kremlin on Tuesday offered a quiet rebuke after Western speculation that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s calamitous decision to invade Ukraine will inevitably lead to his ouster.
“Russians support the president,” Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov… Peskov cited voter turnout for Putin’s last election, in 2018 – one marked by apathy and fear for the future as the autocratic leader solidified his grip on the levers of power – and current, purportedly accurate polling that shows he enjoys relatively high popularity among average citizens.
But Peskov issued a warning immediately after, citing new legislation since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24 that harshly criminalizes open criticism of the government and its decisions: “The line is very, very thin. You have to be very careful here.”
All good signs, don’t you think?
Oh, and did you hear that another close ally of Putin’s has died after falling overboard from his boat?
Ivan Pechorin’s body was found washed up around 100 miles from Vladivostok in Russia’s far east, on Monday after a two-day search, local outlet VL.ru reported…Pechorin fell off his moving boat on September 10 as it sailed near Russky Island, the outlet reported. He was the Aviation Director for Russia’s Far East and Arctic Development Corporation (KRDV), which described his death as an “irreparable loss.”…According to the Mirror’s Russia correspondent, he was personally selected by Putin for his role…