Putin scrambling to win over Russian public as hes aware war isnt going well

Wagner mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin slams Putin

When Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine in early 2022 he expected the country to cave within weeks.

Fast-forward 12 months and things couldn’t have gone more differently.

The international community has thrown its weight behind Kyiv, providing it with a whole array of military equipment, and volunteer groups from around the world have travelled to the country to take up arms against the invading forces.

Now, Dr Katherine Kelaidis, Director of Research and Content at the National Hellenic Museum in Chicago, says Putin is more than aware that his war is going south and is doing everything he can to woo the Russian public.

Reports initially suggested that Russia’s military top brass may be hiding the failures of the country’s military from Putin.

It is now clear that he knows about the multiple shortcomings of his forces, exemplified by the video rants recorded by Wagner Group chief Yevgeny Prigozhin.

Putin has now started to distract away from battlefield failures through various acts, including moving an icon from a state museum to the Russian Orthodox Church.

In doing so, Dr Kelaidis said the Russian President hopes to portray himself as a “pious tsar, as a pious king, who does his Christian duty and services to the church”.

She continued: “This is significant: Putin is in trouble. The war is not going well for Putin, it’s certainly not going the way he envisaged it.

“I think that requires him to amp up the rhetoric and all these symbolic restorative moves, because actual victory on the battlefield — where you’re supposed to win — that’s not happening.”

Putin has made multiple attempts to take public attention away from the reality of the war by rousing national and patriotic feelings.

In February, addressing the Russian people, he described the conflict as a battle to “defend the homeland” against the US and Europe.

In what was his first national address since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, he said: “Russia will respond to any challenges because we are all one country, one big and united people”.

The speech lasted 50 minutes, and saw Putin refer to Ukrainian Volodymyr Zelenksy as a “neo-Nazi” — despite his Jewish heritage — and claim that the US and Europe “plan to grow a local conflict into a global confrontation” by supporting Ukraine, which “represents an existential threat to our country”.

This week, Putin was blamed for the destruction of the Nova Kakhovka dam near Kherson.

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The dam, inside Russian-occupied territory in Ukraine, appeared to be disintegrating in the days before it fully burst, but reports suggest the structure was blown up.

At an emergency session of the UN Security Council, Russia sought to pin the blame on Ukraine.

But Ukraine’s envoy to the UN, Sergiy Kyslytsya, said it was typical of Russia to blame the victim for its own crimes.

He pointed out that Russia had been in control of the dam for more than a year, and that it would be impossible to destroy it through shelling.

Claiming that the dam was mined by the Russian occupiers who then blew it up, he said: “By resorting to scorched earth tactics, or in this case to flooded earth tactics, the Russian occupiers have effectively recognised that the captured territory does not belong to them, and they are not able to hold these lands.”

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