Russia’s ill-conceived invasion of Ukraine has so far failed to yield the goals set out by Russian President Vladimir Putin, and his top propagandists are struggling to hide their growing sense of panic.
On Monday, head of RT Margarita Simonyan appeared on The Evening With Vladimir Solovyov and admitted that the Kremlin’s collaborationist elite has concerns about the possibility of being tried for war crimes. After disingenuously claiming that neither the Russian leadership nor her fellow propagandists in the studio ever wanted to conduct strikes against Ukraine’s critical infrastructure, Simonyan said, “I am amazed by our people—and I unfortunately know many of them—including those in very high circles, who are afraid of this and are scared to call things by their proper names because of what people over there may think.”
Simonyan defiantly asserted: “We could spit on what they think over there! People who are afraid of the Hague—listen, you should be afraid to lose, to be humiliated and be afraid to betray your people. Let me tell you that if we manage to lose, the Hague—whether real or hypothetical—will come even for a street cleaner who is sweeping the cobblestones behind the Kremlin.”
In her rant, Simonyan contradicted her earlier claim of Russian forces not seeking to bomb civilian infrastructure and surmised that one more Kyiv district being left in the dark won’t change the potential of the future war crimes trials, or the “catastrophe” that will befall Russia if it loses its war against Ukraine.
Host Vladimir Solovyov immediately reverted to his old and tired routine of threatening nuclear strikes if things don’t go Russia’s way: “There won’t be any Hague if this happens, there won’t be anything at all. The whole world will be reduced to ashes.”
During Wednesday’s broadcast of 60 Minutes, host Olga Skabeeva carried on with the same theme. “God forbid, we can’t allow it and don’t even say it out loud but suppose that suddenly something happens and our country is unable to achieve victory: then we should proceed from the premise that everyone with no exception will be held accountable—whether they are located within the Russian Federation or abroad. Those abroad will most likely be immediately arrested. Whether he is a collaborator of Putin’s regime or was just passing by, it doesn’t matter. All of us will be considered guilty. What’s at stake is not only the existence of the country, but also the carefree existence of every citizen of the Russian Federation—our future is on the line.”
Skabeeva added: “In order to avoid the Hague tribunals, the initiation of criminal cases, compensation, reparations—in order to avoid all this, we need a total intensification of military actions, we have to squeeze and pressure them so much that they approach us about a truce or a peace process… Otherwise, they will insist on capitulation.”
During the most recent broadcast of Sunday Evening With Vladimir Solovyov, Margarita Simonyan put in another appearance and delivered the new directive: in order to protect Russia’s already tattered image as a military superpower, any supply problems concerning equipment, weapons and ammunition are to be discussed behind closed doors and not on-air. She unwittingly confirmed that the said issues were systematic and serious by urging the government to take extreme measures to secure the funds for the troops.
Simonyan described those who are not mobilized to serve on the frontlines as the people who aren’t fulfilling their duty to their country. “How can we sleep while knowing that we aren’t sharing and aren’t participating?,” she asked. “Rich people should get a hold of themselves and remember that we can’t continue living the way we’ve been living since the disintegration of the Soviet Union. We have to restore social equality.” RT’s head urged the rich to forego buying Chanel purses and “adopt” dozens or hundreds of needy families for whom they can provide.
Describing herself as a well-to-do person, Simonyan said she had a hard time looking at people who refuse to share their wealth, many of whom she knows personally. “I am calling on you, citizens: you have to share!,” she urged.
Never daring to question why the country’s exorbitant military budget has proven to be for Russia’s wartime needs—while Putin’s circle has no shortage of palatial abodes or yachts—Simonyan noted that the invading troops are being supplied with donations from the civilian population. Deeming that to be inadequate, she demanded “an involuntary vaccination of conscience,” adding, “Raise the taxes on the rich and the well-to-do people. What is there to be afraid of? Raise the taxes!”