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Putin is preparing Russians for long war - New York Times

The Kremlin leader has changed his tactics and no longer tries to isolate citizens from negative messages about the front but instead encourages them to fight.

Putin is preparing Russians for long war - New York Times
Photo: EPA/UPG

Russian President Vladimir Putin is preparing Russians for a long war. Even in his New Year's greetings to people in uniform, he said that "We can’t give up anything. We must only fight, only keep going," the New York Times reports.

As the one-year anniversary of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine approaches, Putin has abandoned his attempts to insulate citizens from negative messages about the war and is trying to prepare them and the army for a long fight.

The acknowledgement of high casualties - 89 occupiers - in the strike on Makiyivka in Donetsk Region and the promise to provide "all necessary help and support" showed that the Kremlin is seeking to become more transparent than in the first months of the war. This is in contrast to the sinking of the Black Sea Fleet's flagship, the cruiser Moskva, where the Kremlin never acknowledged that it had been hit and did not update casualty figures - allegedly one dead and 27 missing.

“For much of last year, Mr. Putin projected an air of confidence while allowing life inside Russia to go on as normal. His compact with the public was straightforward: Leave the politics and the fighting to us, and you won’t feel significant pain from our justified “special military operation” in Ukraine,” the journalists believe.

In their opinion, this approach ended in September when Ukraine’s counteroffensive stunned the Kremlin, and Putin ordered a military draft. Now Putin is doubling down on his efforts to draw Russian society further into the war effort. The new approach was on stark display on Saturday, when Putin broke with tradition and gave his New Year’s Eve address not at the Kremlin, but at a military base, with people in uniform in the background.

Putin in his greeting proclaimed his narrative of a “West bent on destroying Russia” and “using Ukraine and its people to weaken and divide Russia”.

According to journalists, this is the last and perhaps the most striking case of Putin's attempt to prepare Russians for a long war.

Although the Ministry of Defenсe of the Russian Federation acknowledged the largest simultaneous loss of its servicemen, the data differ significantly from the information of the StratCom of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, according to which 400 people were killed and about 300 were wounded.

The strike on the location of the mobilized soldiers was carried out on New Year's Eve. Russian authorities believe that the location was discovered because the mobilized violated the ban on the use of cell phones and called relatives. 

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