Big Interview with Ukrainian general Serhii Kryvonos

Posted on 31 July 2022

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Interview with gen. Kryvonos was made by Mark Solonin. Translation kindly provided by Volodymyr: https://twitter.com/VolodyaTretyak

Full video in Russian:

Translation:

 

Did Ukrainian leadership oversleep the beginning of the war?

Interviewer (I): Generally speaking, it appears to ordinary people that the military leadership of the country, roughly speaking, overslept the beginning of the war. Is that wrong or what?

 

Gen. Kryvonos (K): Let’s get this straight: the country’s military-political leadership (overslept the beginning – remark). The military clearly knew that there would be a Russian attack plus or minus, tying in specific timelines to within two to three days.

But, precisely 72 hours before the war started, there was a 100% certainty there would be a war. Plus-minus, understanding in which directions the offensive would be. So you are absolutely right. Did the word oversleep, or did they pretend to oversleep the offensive?

That’s the question. I think someone else will have to tell you eventually. Why didn’t they respond at all to warnings from not only Western partners? Western partners have been warning us since the fall of 2021.

In the spring of 2020, I told from where and how the Russians would attack. And in principle, it all coincided 100% told us how the offensive would come, specifically, named the targets that Russian troops would be interested in.

And our colleagues from Western countries were telling us more clearly. In January, some Americans of the extremely high level came, and right on the maps, they were telling us what would happen and how.

But the political leadership said it was all lies, nonsense, and provocations. Why? Well, because the pro-Russian agents are probably in the president’s office.
There’s no other way to justify this. To say that they didn’t know. That’s an outright lie.

Ukrainian and foreign intelligence agencies officially reported to the leadership about the Russian offensive.

 

(I): One thing is a military analysis by a professional, and it is another thing to know that such plans are written in the headquarters in Moscow.

If I understood you correctly, it was a piece of specific information about the actions of the Russian command.

 

(K): Of course. And we have informants.

 

(I): Well, I’m not asking for last names.

 

(K): Well, no, but no one has forgotten them. Nevertheless, at a high level, there were these reports.

And very often, there were such examples when officers of the Russian General Staff, generals of the Russian General Staff called their classmates, friends, and brothers who were serving here and warned that in 24 hours, Russia would attack.

“And there in 72 hours, we will attack”, for example. There was just no reaction. The people, who got the information from us, immediately reported upstairs, saying don’t panic, don’t tell tales, everything will be ok.

 

(I): Terrific. Practically concluding this block of questions, I once heard from many people, whom I am not authorized to name, that the Ukrainian air force was dispersed and moved to previously prepared, fielded airfields on the eve of strikes and so on.

As a result, what should have been, according to Russian plans, a command, first destroying strike against Ukrainian aviation, went through almost empty places. Why didn’t we notice any of that if that’s the case?

As I recall, there was also no deployment of Ukrainian ground troops on the night of 02.24. Or didn’t I see something I was not supposed to see?

 

(K): Well, most likely the second option. You didn’t see the actions of certain military personnel. You have to give credit that the air force command reacted clearly, regardless of any questions.

And to disperse, planes and helicopters moved even within their airfields. And in principle, very often, in the first 24 hours, Russian missiles were hollowed out. The same was true for most of the ground forces.

Although there were examples when the flights were relatively trivial, one of the examples was when the command of the special operations forces, despite their subordinates’ demands and requests, the commander did not decide to move the base and the principle.

On the morning of the 24th, Russian missiles hit the special operations forces command building. There were casualties; although there were warnings about it, there was no reaction.

It is elementary unprofessionalism and an elementary thing that a person was unable or was afraid to take the decision.

Unfortunately, it happens because sometimes, the formation of command staff in certain branches of the armed forces, especially in the last two years, is done by selecting people who are silent and committed to something personal and who have their own opinion.”

About quickly occupied southern Ukraine:

(I): The following question has been discussed many times, but I need to ask it because it interests everyone. Interest is not the right word, serious concern. During the first three days, the enemy in the south passed 400 kilometers from Perekop through Melitopol, Berdyansk, and Mariupol, if you measure by the map in a straight line. Such distance in three days is a forced march. This is not an offensive, but it is a forced march. I have a simple question. I do not expect a long answer. May there be another explanation for such a march other than criminal negligence?

 

(K): It’s not negligence; It’s treason. The question is, who gave the command to demine the bridges from Crimea? That is the question that worries everyone. And the stories that a Security Service of Ukraine involved (SBU), well… the military laughs with these stories that the SBU turned in the maps of minefields and the order of mines. But people who know, i.e., who have access to such things, perfectly understand: SBU will not be permitted to these things even closer than one kilometer. And there is no way people, even in high general’s shoulder straps of the SBU, can have these documents.

Moreover, these people certainly cannot give the command to demine particular objects. It is simply an information manipulation. It is called the creation of false targets, to which everything is distracted. It’s nothing. Therefore, it is pure treason. And who is the traitor the public has yet to hear? And it is very interesting because we don’t have the information. There are no comments from top leadership. Accordingly, there is a certain distrust toward the leadership. To lose such a massive chunk for nothing, just for nothing.

In 2014, from March to mid-May, I was in charge of anti-subversion activities in the Kherson region, and just as I knew exactly about the mining of all the bridges, bridges, even stakes, which allowed us to feel at ease. And the people who were with me did the research; the military engineers participated too. I had absolute confidence. Excuse me, it was a shock when we rudely fucked up a vast chunk of territory, without a single shot being fired or a single Russian tank being burned. That’s a betrayal.

 

(I): Massive shock. But demining is one thing; bridges, crossings, and dams are on the way out of Crimea. Well, that’s not all, but it came out of Crimea. Further, it is 300 kilometers to Mariupol. You have to drive through the steppe. But there, too, as I understand it, there must have been some lines of defense, some troops, some firepower, and nothing happened. Did everyone receive a command not to shoot? What happened?

 

(K): Well, that’s a question that we also wanted to… It also concerns you and me in quite a big way. So I think the investigation after our victory will show who is to blame for this failure.

 

An explanation of why Russian forces came to the suburbs of Kyiv over several days:

(I): Now I want to go back to 24-25 February, when the enemy was also in Irpin, Vorzel, on the morning of February 25. So these are already the suburbs of Kyiv, practically the dacha suburbs of Kyiv. In this case, too, you would probably say that the enemy should not have gone 100 kilometers through the forest roads with the proper organization of UA combat operations.

 

(K): Absolutely correct. And the fact that the attack will come from the side of Belarus is one hundred percent. A year before the start of the war, I warned the country’s leadership, and, in principle, I was fired for that. They did not want to hear what they did not want to hear. That’s the first thing. Second, even in December 2021, I asked, demanded, and proposed to hold maneuvers on dangerous tank routes along the Russian-Ukrainian border, and on the Ukrainian-Belarusian border, about the presence of Russian troops in Belarus and their accumulation was known to everybody. But there was no reaction. So was it negligence or carelessness? I do not know what to call it. I do not have 100% access to that information, and I have not interviewed the people who were responsible for it. It’s tough to draw such conclusions. So let’s say that yes, there can be negligence. But all the same, probably a large proportion of the betrayal of not deciding on the subject of referral can be justified by only one thing: lack of effort and resources to solve it or with the command to do nothing.

 

About the battle for Kyiv airfields:

(I): Right. Nevertheless, the enemy did not pass Bucha in a day, not in two, not in a week, not in a month. And in particular, as far as I understand, they did not manage to capture and use the landing craft for landing. As far as I know that none of them has four airfields near Kyiv. That’s the whole story with the airfields. I know you weren’t just observing it; you were involved in it. How is it that the Russian command didn’t succeed here?

 

(K): The one they took was the Hostomel airfield. Thank God, thanks to the reasonably quick reaction of the organization of work, on all the other airfields, the Russians were burned. There was an attempt to land Russian paratroopers at Vasylkivsk airfield, but the planes were shot down. Some Russian paratroopers even managed to land from Il-76. There were about 20 people there, but they were surrounded and eliminated. About 20 had time to land, to assemble, and then AFU destroyed them. It happened due to the precise right actions, who were in charge of the defense of those airports, those airfields. We did not allow the Russians to work out the operation. Do you know what the specifics are? You, as a military historian, probably pay attention to that. I think you paid attention to it a long time ago.

 

The Russians often try out previously existing patterns of action of the Russian and Soviet armies. It just already imposes the nuances of modernity. So what the Russians did in the Kyiv direction very often reminds me of the actions of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact countries in 1968 in the occupation of Czechoslovakia. The same. Airfields, robust tank columns, rapid advance. It worked there. It didn’t work here. Czechoslovakia, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia did not want to go into conflict. They didn’t fight. And the Ukrainians, regardless of the country’s political leadership position, were instantly self-organized, having already had enough experience. And they started to burn Russian tanks wherever they could. Only afterward was it taken under the control of the military leadership and became more or less normally managed.
It was the case in Hostomel, but unfortunately, the Russians captured it afterward anyway. The units at the Hostomel airfield put up a decent resistance, although they were conscripts and support units. Nevertheless, they shot down more than one Russian helicopter. And the Russians had planned first to land the landing party, launch the runway clearing, and suppress the Ukrainian air defense system. And then they wanted to land military transport aviation planes. In principle, they were planning to do that, in Vasylkiv, in Gostomel airfield. They planned to build it up at Zhulyansk airfield Sviatoshyn Airfield afterward. The next target was the city of Boryspil (Kryvonos means the airport in Boryspil – remark). But this plan failed.

 

(I): About Hostomel. Just a private question. It is of little importance. But I want to clarify that since you are aware of it, I still saw some footage of the landing on the Internet: A significant plane lands, a camera shooting placed on a soldier’s helmet, and Russian paratroopers run out onto the runway. Did they manage to land the aircraft in Gostomel, or was it only an attempt to land a large helicopter?

 

(K): In the beginning, it was an attempt to land a helicopter.

 

(I): They didn’t manage to land a plane there. Is that correct?

 

(K): I don’t have that information, so I’m not going to fantasize. According to my knowledge, when I interviewed those who took part in the first 24 hours of fighting at the Gostomel airfield, they did not tell me about the landing of the Russian military transport aircraft.

 

Defense of Zhylyany airport:

(I): It’s clear. Regarding the airfield Zhulyany, if I understand correctly, you are very well aware of events and who defended it in the first two or three days. Were Territorial Defense Forces (TDF) involved there? The neighborhood men, the army, special forces, or air defense? What was there at Zhulyany?

 

(K): [Laughing] Zhulyany was a wild hodgepodge (a mixture, originally “solyanka” – remark), from different power structures of Ukraine. And on the 25th, absolutely accidentally, well, conditionally, I accidentally stopped at Zhylyansk airfield; we had to get ammunition there to go to another area. I saw many border guards, officers, and soldiers of the National Guard present. A few soldiers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) were present.
When I asked, “what will we do? What were we waiting for?”
– “We are waiting for the Kirov landing party.”

– “What are we doing?

– “We are not doing anything. We are waiting. “

– “Who is the man in charge?”

– “No one in charge.”

Understanding the importance of Zhulyany airport – It was the air gateway for the Russians, for the success of the takeover of Kyiv. There were people, but the task was not completely clear to them. In general, these were not members of the AFU but other security forces. And they have another specificity. Now they are not even trained; they don’t understand what to do. They gathered, and I introduced myself, “I’m general Kryvonos. I am taking the command”. Then I set some tasks. I had some experience in defense and successful experience in defense of airfields. In 2014 during the 47 days, I defended in Kramatorsk. Additionally, I knew how to seize airfields because of the specifics of my service as a Special Forces soldier. Accordingly, I also knew how to prevent capture. There were cadets from the military institutions of the Shevchenko University. There was a small unit of the presidential regiment. Again, even just an honor guard company. You understand, these are just the guys who absolutely do not know how to fight.

 

But here, we have to give credit to both the commander of this combined unit and these guys; they did everything right; as I told them, they were quick to learn, as well as the border guards and the national guard. There was no TDF, unfortunately. Another composite unit came to the airfield at my call, but they had nothing to do with TDF and armed forces then. They were veterans with experience from the previous war, 2014 through 2022. And these guys were the guys who had served and fought in the Right Sector unit (Pravyi sector in Ukrainian – remark)  at one time, then fought in the Third and Eighth Special Operations Regiment. So these guys also understood everything. And they were my brothers-in-arms, who did everything very clearly and quickly.
The first airfield’s defense task is to block the runway to prevent the landing. Then it was mined, and as we created a system of fire and a system of engineering barriers, we were already absolutely at ease. What and how would we do next? We were only increasing our efforts, let’s say, polishing the diamond we held in our hands.

 

(I): I get the creepy impression that if you went by car on February 25 to get ammunition in another place, the enemy could have taken Zhulyany airfield. And who is not aware, and it is within the city limits; it is not even a suburb of Kyiv. The enemy could have occupied it immediately. Is it so?

 

(K): Well, not immedeately, but let’s say it could have been seized by an enemy airborne landing and secured landing by Russian Federation military transport aircraft. And it would have been much harder to beat it out of there in the middle of the city.

 

(I): There are less than 10 kilometers from the airport to the president’s office.

 

(K): It is seven kilometers only in a straight line and within the city limits, where there weren’t that many troops because all of them moved in the direction of Irpin.

 

About withdrawal of RU forces from Kyiv:

(I): Okay, we’re done with the beginning of the war, and we go straight to the conclusion of the first phase, which is the end of March. The enemy withdrew and liberated significant, vast areas of territory north of Kyiv, the Chernihiv region, and the north-northeast of the country. So there are all sorts of opinions on this. Excuse me, I believe it was still an organized retreat, not a retreat under the blows of the pursuing Ukrainian troops. Do I understand the situation correctly? And why were they allowed to leave quietly if that is the case? Although another component is just as important: Why did they go?

(K): Well, let’s start with the word “why”. RU forces bogged down in the battles in the Kyiv direction.; thanks to the AFU and their persistence, Russians had already lost the offensive initiative and were partially exhausted. Our army just fought for every meter of land on the outskirts of Kyiv. Russians realized that they did not have enough forces and means to blockade Kyiv. Their logistics system was never really created. The Russians decided that it was better to shift their efforts and move those troops that were still there, that were not demoralized yet, to other directions, including Kharkiv and Donetsk. So it was decided that, given Mr. Putin’s appetites, it was impossible to be satisfied with one coverage. That is, Russia’s mouth turned out to be too small for big Ukraine, so they decided to bite off Ukraine in pieces, not to swallow it whole, as it was initially, according to the plans of the Russian General Staff, according to Putin’s decision. So they organized a retreat from the Kyiv, Sumy, and Chernihiv regions. Where the Ukrainian armed forces could, they hit the advancing Russian troops. But the problem is that the Ukrainian armed forces had severe shell hunger from the end of March – early April 2014 (probably K. means 2022 – remark).

 

(I): Already at the end of March?

 

(K): I’ll put it this way, even as early as the middle of March, it was this hunger; it was pretty severe. Although many spoke, including me, warned that by the experience of the Armenian-Azerbaijani war, when Azerbaijan, with all its enormous financial resources, faced shell hunger on the 35th day of the war. In Ukraine, it started much earlier because of not building and not creating a powerful ammunition factory in Ukraine. On my understanding, there had to be several of them. We found ourselves in such a strange time of need. We knew the intelligence was working great. We just received a considerable amount from our informants from the territory of Ukraine, a vast amount we transferred to the senior intelligence agencies, who reported it in time and laid it out. And accordingly, the commander in chief gen. Zalyzhnyi made clear decisions. But when you have 100 targets and only 20 shells to destroy targets, you can’t do it. So you can’t jump over your capabilities no matter how great a general you are. The desire is there, but the abilities don’t allow it. So that is one of the problems why it didn’t happen.

Because there were no means of reliably large numbers of means, of defeat, and of providing those means of loss, there would have been projectiles; there would have been artillery systems, and it would have been different. These forces would hardly have reached the Russian-Ukrainian and Ukrainian-Belarusian border by now.

 That’s the first thing. The second: In 2012 and 2013, at the expense of diversion, properly organized by the Russian secret services, the armed forces, at the behest of the country’s leadership, shot hundreds of thousands of artillery shells every day. Simply into the void. Under the guise of utilization. What did it lead to?

 

(I): Hundreds of thousands?

 

(K): Yes, per day, at all the ranges.

 

(I): The barrels can’t take that kind of fire.

 

(K): Right. On all the ranges. I remember those morning reports well, “How many shells we shoot”. So, if you put it together, it was like firing, like machine gun belts. It led to just extreme wear and tore on our resources, our artillery pieces. And a tremendous amount of rockets and rocket systems were shot, too. So we started to feel already in 2014 because the accuracy of the artillery systems was very much in question. But so far, there has been no investigation in this direction, even though it was clear two years later. Why? Because those who decided to conduct such actions were participants in the process and are still in certain positions of power, raising this issue is highly uncomfortable for many politicians and military still on Ukraine’s territory. But this is precisely what I call a super, properly organized sabotage. I assess it as a military man. I understand how well Russian agents worked it out. Unfortunately, they did. Therefore: We knew we could have, we had information, but we had nothing to shoot and nowhere to shoot (regarding the retreat from Kyiv – remark).

 

Explanation about how the enemy partly succeded in the battle for Donbas:

(I): Now, we move on to what has been called the second phase, from late April to Early July. Here’s this protracted months-long battle in the Donbas in the northern part of the Donbas.

To a person, absolutely, of course, not military, there is an impression that the enemy acted much more successfully. And in this connection, the question is also quite noticeable. The Russian army could not do anything in the first stage, but how did it partially complete some tactical tasks in Donbas? However, They did not solve strategic problems; It had a mission to surround the whole grouping, but they did not even come close to that. But tactically, they still managed to crawl forward a few tens of kilometers to occupy some critical facilities. This is because the density has increased many times over; they have concentrated more than half of what they have on a tiny piece of the front. Or we have to admit that the enemy very quickly drew conclusions and wised up. So how do you, as a military man, look at it?

 

(K): That precisely the second conclusion is a consequence of the first, at the expense of creating the necessary density of fire and concentration of equipment in specific directions. The Russians, using the scorched earth tactics and destroying the Ukrainian armed forces with a mass of artillery fire, have achieved these small tactical successes in capturing certain cities. Because the advantage in those days and those directions in firepower in favor of the Russians was 10:1. And that’s due to, again, misconstructed military-economic policy in Ukraine and the lack of shell production. These resulted in an advantage that allowed the Russians to feel much better. So we would start artillery preparation, then it would finish, then Russians would attack, then they resisted at some sectors. So they came back and started to shell our positions methodically. And just like that, day after day, they covered every meter of Ukrainian land with fire.

So it’s straightforward. I’ve always warned more than once about this political leadership now saying that you shouldn’t be at war. The biggest mistake was when you thought the enemy was weaker and worse than you. Your job, understanding that the enemy is a strong opponent, an experienced opponent, is to find the weaknesses in his system and hit precisely those places. Then you have a chance to beat him. You don’t have to be afraid of the opponent, but you have to respect him and evaluate him correctly. So here again, I say that the Russians, having a great experience of wars over the past almost 30 years, quickly draw conclusions from their mistakes and promptly adjust the tactics of their forces and means.

About UA casualties:

(I): I don’t ask for absolute numbers, the number of losses of Ukrainian troops. But I want to ask a theoretical question. And the public thinks that offensive losses must be many times greater than defensive losses. It seems to me from my couch that this was correct in the 12th century when they stormed a fortress. But in twenty-first-century wars, that’s not the case at all. And the fact that you describe the Russian offensive this way does not give us any reason to hope that our losses were many times less than the losses of the enemy.

 

(K): Unfortunately, that’s true because the real advantage of domination on the field of artillery duels resulted in our losses being far greater than the Russian losses. Because one might imagine war from the old movie, when people go up to the attack and go there in chains, they are shot by machine gunners. Unfortunately, in this war, it’s a bit different. There are considerably fewer shooting contacts than artillery fire. So, at the expense of the artillery advantage, the Russians suffered fewer losses than we did. And the fact that the counter-battery was not tight enough because there were simply no shells. So we were taking more casualties than the Russians. Unfortunately, we have to recognize this fact. And it is not the fault of the military; it is the fault for not creating the state’s correct military and economic capacity in the last 30 years, having one of the strongest states in the Soviet Union. The people allowed this real potential to be squandered, sold out by a bunch. Leaders who have stood at the pinnacle of power in Ukraine for 30 years have been making money off of it; they’ve been selling it out. But the money wasn’t going into the country; it was going into their own pockets.

 

Why did Putin start the war?

(I): We’ve had a lot of conversations already. But what a normal, peace-loving country, an ordinary, peace-loving people, was not going to. For 30 years, they didn’t prepare for war with their neighbor. I know it offends many people, but they have a shared history, religion, and a lot of personal family ties. It is just normal behavior for ordinary people. But the last question I wanted to ask you does not belong to the military specifics. It’s just a question from person to person. Do you understand at all? I do not know why Putin – the collective Putin – his company has arranged this. As a matter of fact, well, you know, on the eve of the war, I thought that they were bluffing; I was wrong in this, but my opinion was based on the fact that I did not see then and now do not see any problem, and for the solution that Putin had a rational sense to get into the war. War is always a huge, gigantic multi-billion dollar expenditure. So it’s always a risk. Even from his point of view, it is a risk. Anything happens in war. What did Russia do it? I don’t understand. I don’t know why they did it. So what did Putin and his company, his entourage, lack? Do you have any answers for yourself? Do you understand that answer?

 

(K): Yes. Unfortunately, I do. The answer won’t be short. We’ll have to have a long conversation. So here goes. Let’s analyze all the strategic exercises of the Russians over the last 20 years. The bulk of these exercises has been conducted along the Ukrainian-Russian border. The first issue the Russians have always practiced in these exercises has always been the redeployment of troops. And we have to give credit for that: they have polished it perfectly. Even from the Far East, they quickly redeployed equipment and people; I say this as a military man. Once again, I will emphasize that it is necessary to assess the enemy correctly. Therefore they worked out this variant. What is the next thing?

The second thing is that their defense industrial complex was not destroyed and was working actively. We have to understand it, too. But an enemy has always been identified in the history of the Russian state, whether during the tsar’s time, during the Soviet Union, or now under Putin. So the enemy prevents Russia from living happily. One has created a false image, which has constantly distracted people from the problems in Russia: “the Englishwoman ruined things, the German ruined things, the Finns disturbed us, and someone else disturbed us.”

Accordingly, here too, when the top of the Russian Federation enriches itself and rips off its people. When people still do not know what hot water is, and sometimes even what a washing machine or a microwave oven is in the house. Accordingly, there must be someone to blame. When billionaires order oysters, which arrive by plane from the Mediterranean Sea to Moscow, and someone is happy with a piece of bread and a sausage, at best, a sausage, sometimes just with a bit of bread. So you have to create an image of an enemy who is to blame. They ask, “And why do we live so badly?” Why being the biggest oil and gas tycoons in the European market, we all still live so badly. So, this is one of the factors in creating the image of the enemy. Using information, they shaped this image of the enemy beautifully and artificially. I have always said that Russian propaganda has achieved great things working with its people. Television in the country Russians has learned to zombify and sacredly create an image that has never existed for a long time. There was no aggression from the Ukrainians, no aggression from the Russians. There wasn’t. The Ukrainians wanted to live their lives, and they absolutely did not want to meddle in the affairs of the Russians.

 

(I): After even, excuse me, 2014-2015, there was no such aggressive mood among the people. They were completely calm. Now, of course, everything has changed after so many civilian deaths. So I’m sorry for interrupting.

 

(K): Yes, of course. So everything is simple — the existence of an independent and quite successful Ukraine. There were nuances, but all the same, living in Ukraine was much better, freer. Not to mention the political freedoms, where everyone was free to express their point of view in Ukraine. At that time, there was no censorship, neither political nor any other. So, a bad example from Putin’s point of view could lead to the fact that people in Russia will start to think, “Why do they live better, and we live worse?” So Putin has set himself the goal of Ukraine and not only Ukraine. This is his manic idea, as many say, and his thoughts, the creation of a powerful Russian or a powerful Russian empire of a new type. The Fourth Rome, as they called it in the borders of the tsarist empire model of 1914. This was evident in the sentiments of Russian and pro-Russian Ukrainians.

And I remember a conversation in 2011 when one of the pro-Russian comrades said that we should bring Ukraine back into the fold of The Russian Empire. He said, “Forty million intelligent, literate Slavs is a big chunk of young blood into the dying body of the Russian Federation”. And if we want to create a new Russian Federation, a new empire, we have to bring all the former vassals, as he said, back into the bosom of our country of empire. So this, too, is one of the factors that I think has a right to exist. It is that. Seriously tighten up all those who left once.

We know very well and have heard Putin say more than once that the collapse of the Soviet Union was a big mistake. And Putin sees NATO as enemy number one and cannot have it any other way. If he says that NATO is our friend and we are doing well, some Russians will start asking questions. We remember the unrest in the Russian Federation, and it was frequent. So why do we live worse? While the potential of the raw materials that we sell abroad, we have much more. Therefore, so these questions do not arise, creating an image of the enemy is necessary. And when you are at war, all your misfortunes are the enemy’s fault, and you have no right to your own opinion because there is a war, and you must endure it.

 

You may well remember Medvedev’s phrase: “There’s no money, but you take care,” which is just one example of this approach. They consider their people cattle, but they realize that cattle can get smarter. That’s why they need to make them go to war. And the war is usually fought by some of the most active segments of the population. So it’s better to let them die in the war, and there will be less. Then there will be more inside Russia. And all the rest will keep quiet, like, excuse me, enslaved people.

 

(I): So recycling the passionate part of the population is a sensible move.

 

(K): Of course, and the passionate part of the population, both on the Ukrainian side and inside Russia. That is, they solved the problem of fewer active Ukrainians, who were quite aggressive towards Russia, and the problem of their people.

 

(I): So it turns out that he (Putin – remark) doesn’t eat soap (not sure what this idiom means, maybe Putin is not punished for what he is saying – remark). I see. Thank you, Sergei Grigorievich. Both for the detailed answer to this question and the fascinating conversation. I apologize for taking up a little more time than we had agreed. Thank you very much. I wish you every success, both to you personally and to the armed forces with which you remain associated. Thank you very much. I hope to see you again.

 

(K): Thank you. All the best. All the best. Everything will be Ukraine.




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