Urging Russians not to take ‘information sedatives,’ Mikhail M. Khodaryonok, a retired colonel and columnist on military affairs, noted on a popular Russian TV talk show Monday that the war in Ukraine was not going well for Russia. (RELATED: Russia Warns Sweden and Finland Over NATO)
The rare frank assessment left his fellow panelists in stunned silence, except for Olga Skabeyeva, the host, a Putin parrot who religiously follows the Kremlin line.
She interrupted Khodaryonok with official talking points in sometimes tense exchanges.
The clip was first highlighted by Francis Scarr of BBC Monitoring, which tracks Russian broadcasts.
According to The New York Times:
The problems that Mr. Khodaryonok referred to, sometimes obliquely, included low morale, the array of Western countries aligned against Russia and the amount of fighters and matériel that Ukraine was assembling.
While carefully avoiding any criticism of Russian aims or operations, he noted, according to The Times that:
“We are in total geopolitical isolation and the whole world is against us, even if we don’t want to admit it,” said Mr. Khodaryonok, noting that Russia’s “resources, military-political and military-technical, are limited.”
He repeatedly stressed that the entire situation was “not normal.”
What is worse, Khodaryonok noted that Ukraine appeared to have momentum, saying that: “The situation for us will clearly get worse.”
The retired colonel was also prescient when in an unusually candid column published just before the invasion he cautioned against it, saying that it would not be a quick and easy ‘blitzkrieg’ as many Russian analysts claimed. He added that invading Ukraine was not in Russia’s “national interests.”
Russia has since criminalized denouncing its war effort, even prohibiting referring to it as a war rather than a “special military operation.” (RELATED: CIA Shows Dissident Russian Officials How to Send the Agency Their Secrets)
Not too surprisingly, reports Business Insider, by Thursday, Khodaryonok had backtracked.
Instead of criticizing Russian logistical failures, he bragged about Russia’s military might and condemned Western-made weapons which he amusingly claimed would fail in mid-battle, something far more descriptive of the Russian military gear. (RELATED: Why Russian Tanks Are Getting Their Turrets Blown Clean Off in Ukraine)
He was likely set straight by friends from the Russian security service, the FSB.
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