Putin's Right-Hand Man Shares Absurd Take On Ukraine War Hours After Rare Russian Protest

Sergei Lavrov boasted that the war had brought "unity" to Russia.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
via Associated Press

Vladimir Putin’s foreign affairs minister made a very peculiar comment about the Ukraine war shortly after a rare protest erupted in Russia.

In his annual news conference today, Sergei Lavrov said that the “special military operation” – Moscow’s name for its invasion of Ukraine – has been having a “very position impact on life inside our country.”

According to a translation from the BBC’s Francis Scarr, Lavrov said the “overwhelming part of society is united like never before”.

He said it had “united our society in an unprecedented way” – before sinisterly adding that the war in Ukraine had allowed Russia “to purify itself of people who didn’t feel a belonging to Russian history and culture”.

Demonstrations in Russia have become increasingly rare ever since Russian president Putin took troops into Ukraine in February 2022.

Many attempts to push back against the war at the start were quickly quashed, and more restrictive laws have been brought in to repress the public.

The UK’s ministry of defence even claimed in December that the Kremlin was “paying off” the wives of Russian soldiers to prevent them protesting about the war.

That’s why Lavrov’s statement seemed quite so bizarre. It came hours after a large protest, reportedly one of the largest reported demonstrations in the country since the war broke out, began.

Police used tear gas and batons in Bashkortostan – a Russian republic of 4.1 million people – to suppress the hundreds of protesters.

The demonstrators were campaigning in support of a leading human rights activist, Fail Alysnov, who was just sentenced to four years in a penal colony for allegedly inciting ethnic hatred – a claim he denies.

According to other activists speaking to Reuters, the ethnic Bashkir people supported Alysnov because the region is so frustrated by Putin’s policies.

They feel a disproportionate number of ethnic minority men are being recruited for the war in Ukraine.

One activist who has now relocated to Lithuania, Ruslan Gabbasov, told the news agency: “Compared with ethnic Russians, they send a lot more of us to the war, and the number who die is correspondingly higher.

We don’t want to live as part of Russia any more. Why do we need that? To die and gradually disappear? Not even gradually – with this policy it will happen very quickly.”

The surprising protest comes just two months before the Russian public are expected to vote a presidential election – one which is highly likely to give Putin his fifth year in office.


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