Yesterday’s interview-style meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and 18 Russian military correspondents and milbloggers has sparked some negative reactions from the Russian public. Some point out that Putin may have inadvertently taken the blame for the Kakhovka dam while others simply regard his remarks as a disgrace.
Among Russian opinion leaders only ultra-nationalist Igor Girkin dared to criticize the Russian president openly. On his Telegram channel he wrote:
“Today’s speech by the Supreme Commander to the war correspondents instantly dispelled all the restrained optimism I had felt about the first week of the enemy offensive.
“I cannot describe it any other way than in the words of Mr. Shvonder from ‘The Heart of a Dog’ [a satirical novella by Mikhail Bulgakov]:
“It is... some kind of shame!"
Illya Ponolaryov the leader of the Russian armed opposition told Kyiv Post that Putin essentially admitted to the destruction of the Kakhovka dam by Russian forces. He also pointed out that Putin showed he supports the Russian Ministry of Defense in its conflict with Wagner PWC head Evgeniy Prigozhin.
“He [Putin] admitted to destroying the Kakhovka dam – saying that the Ukrainians would not be able to advance there.
“The second important point in Putin’s speech was that he supported the defense ministry’s decision on Prigozhin. Otherwise, his speech is not a very creative retelling of Konashenkov [Igor Konashenkov is a Russian military officer serving as the chief spokesperson for the Ministry of Defense],” Ponomaryov said.
During the meeting, Putin said that the destruction of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant derailed Ukraine’s counteroffensive, but “they would have been better off” without the incident.
"I will say a strange thing, but: unfortunately, it [the demolition of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant] disrupted their counteroffensive in that direction," Putin said, explaining that he said "unfortunately" because "they would have been better off there.
“It’s better for us because it would have been quite bad for them to advance there,” Putin said.
The Russian president’s hint that the Russians benefited in the blowing up of the dam which delayed the Ukrainian army’s counter-offensive sparked discontent and condemnation.
Some Russians were skeptical of Putin’s claims that the Ukrainian side had blown up the dam to disrupt its counter-offensive.
"So, they [Ukrainians] have disrupted their counteroffensive? Wise."
Others think Putin did a good job and are holding the Ukrainians accountable for the Kakhovka hydropower plant explosion.
“It's all factual! Putin has done a great job! Everything is clear and without any PR. The narco-fuhrer (Zelensky) created a humanitarian disaster. The consequences are yet to come.
“Ukrainians, why did they blow up the Kakhovka hydropower plant? So many people are flooded, the bastards.”
Some openly resent Putin’s ridiculous speech and echo ultra-nationalist Girkin’s sentiment calling Putin’s speech a disgrace.
“That old imbecile can’t put two words together!”
“It’s a shame – summed up by the terrorist Girkin. Looking forward to what Prigozhin will fu**ing say. Even the brain-damaged who have been in the war are coming up with sensible thoughts.”
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