The deadly blast that killed two people in Poland sent shockwaves across the globe this week, fueling fear that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine might escalate into a world war with the direct participation of NATO. While many are relieved that the incident was likely an attempt by Ukraine to intercept a Russian missile—on a day when Moscow launched about 100 strikes on Ukraine—Russian propagandists were seething with anger and irritation.
After all, that reaction undermined Russian state media’s notion that NATO is already fighting against Moscow, itching to get directly involved in the bloody conflict. State TV host Vladimir Solovyov took that opportunity to spew more threats against the West, while describing Ukrainian territories recently taken back from Russia’s invading troops as Russian territory occupied by Ukraine.
During his radio show Full Contact on Vesti FM, Solovyov exclaimed: “This is war… you thought you could fight against us and the war wouldn’t come to you? You want to wage war against Russia! But you want to do it on the territory of Ukraine or on the Russian lands Ukraine just occupied.”
Solovyov baselessly alleged: “The language being heard on the frontline is mainly Polish and English. Are you bastards thinking that sooner or later this war won’t come to you?” He threatened: “If we dealt with you bastards, you would feel differently… I have a question: where is the Polish air defense?”
The host slid right into his go-to tactics, asserting that anyone who believes Russia might be running low on conventional missiles should remember the “6,000 nuclear warheads” it also possesses. He asked: “Do you have air defense systems? Europeans, are you certain that all is well with you? You’ve been delivering everything to Ukraine… Germans, you are naked right now! N-a-k-e-d! You’ve given up your IRIS-T [high-tech air-defense missile systems].”
One by one, Solovyov threatened Poland, Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and the Baltic nations, saying that “Yesterday it finally became clear what and how we should do.” He opined that NATO’s measured response gave away its hesitation to escalate, claiming that the alliance lives in fear of the great and mighty Russia. He called upon NATO to carefully weigh every word in its final resolution, so that it does not become a damning “verdict.”
The rest of Solovyov’s rant revealed the fear that lies beneath the surface of Vladimir Putin’s bravado and bluster: growing domestic discontent within Russia. Solovyov yelled about how Russia needs to promptly produce everything that is needed by faltering troops in Ukraine. “If anybody didn’t understand it, this is war. War! This is a war against NATO,” he raged.
Pundits and experts on other state media shows expressed similar frustration. During Monday’s broadcast of The Meeting Place on NTV, an expert at the Strategic Development Council, Igor Shatrov, complained that “We weren’t ready for the war that we started!”
During last Thursday’s broadcast of The Evening With Vladimir Solovyov, the head of the State Duma Defense Committee, Andrey Kartapolov, delivered a pompous speech, urging citizens not to panic and claiming that Russia finally has a historic chance to do away with the West. He boasted that Russia is far ahead of the West, having already conducted a mobilization, while NATO countries “haven’t even started.”
Other participants promptly rained upon Kartapolov’s parade, worrying out loud that unless things improve, Russia might be headed for a revolution. Tigran Keosayan, husband of RT boss Margarita Simonyan, complained that Russia’s defeats in Ukraine were caused by a series of internal problems, such as corruption, intentionally false reporting and the withholding of information from people who are expected to fight and potentially perish in this war.
Keosayan opined that the average Russian might be more inclined to accept defeats in Ukraine, including the recent retreat from Kherson, if the government comes clean and admits its mistakes. Responding to Kartapolov, he sniped: “Comrade Colonel-General said that he fears panic. What are you talking about? There is no panic. There is something much worse: irritation.”