Russia experienced a number of embarrassing setbacks on the battlefield in Ukraine, but none of them were as humiliating as an explosion that rocked the Crimean Bridge, also known as Kerch Strait Bridge or Kerch Bridge, early Saturday morning.
During his Saturday broadcast on Solovyov Live, Russian state TV host Sergey Mardan opened his show with heavy sighs. He noted, “All day long we’ll be talking about how this happened and what will come of it. I can tell you right now that nothing good will come of it, that’s for sure.” Mardan grimly concluded: “They’ve achieved an enormous propagandistic effect.”
Repeatedly referring to Ukrainians with an often-used slur, Mardan complained that Russia apparently underestimated not only them, but also the Americans. Chauvinistic disregard for the Ukrainians as Russia’s “lesser” opponents manifests in the way Russian propagandists tend to blame the West for any painful blows inflicted in the course of Russia’s ill-fated invasion.
Mardan noted: “There was no shock that they would try to attack the Crimean bridge, but there was an initial shock that they managed to pull it off, especially in the early morning hours.” He explained that—as usual—the West is to blame: “Many competent people explain that this was a complicated task—not just journalists or commentators, but specialists. There is a high level of certainty that an operation of this magnitude could have been staged only by Western intelligence agencies.”
Mardan urged the Russians to stop underestimating the Ukrainian Armed Forces, bristling even at the comparisons to ISIS. He asserted: “Comparing Ukraine to ISIS is insulting to the Russian Army, which has been fighting them on an enormous front for seven months… ISIS are tribespeople in sandals made out of tires. They have no cities, power plants, railways or factories. Ukraine has it all. Ukraine is a cruel, motivated, well-prepared enemy. This is an enemy nation that has been waging a full-fledged war against us for at least seven and a half months. We keep calling it a special military operation, but they are waging war… Good Lord, I can’t keep listening to this thick and sticky rhetoric, it’s time to stop talking about the peace process and the collective West. This rhetoric doesn’t look good—in fact, it’s harmful. Since the mobilization has been announced, we’re talking about war, a people’s war.”
Mardan predicted an escalation, quoted Vladimir Lenin and urged a harsh response: “We stand on the precipice of another escalation. It’s unavoidable… A war should be waged for real or not at all. Now we don’t have any other options… No one will allow us to retreat, even though some would like that—and actually want that to happen. We should have no illusions about that.”
He somberly revisited fantasies harbored by many Russians in the very beginning of the invasion, stoked by top propagandists on state television, who predicted that a war against Ukraine would be fast, pain-free and nearly bloodless. [Continue reading…]