Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, preached a sermon in Moscow this week to mark the Orthodox Epiphany. Speaking to those who wanted to “defeat Russia,” he took the opportunity to threaten the West: “We pray that the Lord will admonish these madmen and help them understand that any desire to destroy Russia will mean the end of the world.”
Russia’s top propagandists, from former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to State TV presenter Vladimir Solovyov, have circulated the same not-so-subtle nuclear threat far and wide — yet Putin’s mouthpieces now fear the “boy, the wolf cried” routine is no longer being taken seriously by its target audience in the West. The dilemma manifested itself during a live broadcast of The Evening With Vladimir Solovyov. After the line of talking heads took turns repeating that Russia’s defeat would mean the end of the world, their agitprop was suddenly dumped by Yevgeny Satanovsky, President of the Institute of the Middle East.
“First of all, the United States is certainly our main enemy. What is the US reacting to? They are responding to two things: the threat of physical annihilation and the liquidation of a certain number of military personnel. What we do know from the wars in Vietnam and Korea is that tens of thousands of American soldiers killed will weigh heavily on US public opinion. I repeat: not several thousand as in Afghanistan or Iraq, but a certain number in the tens of thousands. Who will liquidate them, where they will be liquidated and how is completely irrelevant, but this is one of the goals if we want to influence the American leadership. We have absolutely nothing to lose.”
Describing the mood in the country, RT boss Margarita Simonyan said: “In every house, in every kitchen and living room, in every yard, all the conversations are just about what’s going to happen next, how it’s all going to end… I don’t get it every possible course of events except the following: First, they will not stop. I’m not talking about Ukraine or Zelenskyy [She is talking about the West]… They’ll up the ante to the point where it’s going to cause us pain. It will be about the security of the territory of the Russian Federation, not just the newly added areas. I have no doubt that they will do everything in their power to make us worry about Moscow’s security, or at least seriously think about it… It will certainly happen!”
Simonyan concluded, “This can only end with an immediate threat being uttered and presented, a threat of nuclear confrontation.” She argued that the West’s failure to back down the list of demands presented by Russian President Vladimir Putin in December 2021 , led to the invasion of Ukraine. Simonyan said that after Putin’s ultimatum was released, she told her friends: “Guys, there’s going to be a big war for sure. At the end of winter something really big will happen!”
She claimed that the West’s refusal to end its support for Ukraine this time would have even greater consequences: “It’s true that nobody will win in a nuclear war, but who needs the world if Russia isn’t there? it? It was said out loud, it was said by Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin!” The head of RT concluded: “I don’t see any other result… It’s going to be a wrecking ball! Everything will be there! It will be like two planes flying head-on into each other. Someone has to back down and something tells me we won’t be.”
Andrey Kartapolov, the chairman of the Russian State Duma’s defense committee, echoed Simonyan’s diatribe by boasting about the motherland’s nuclear power and absurdly claiming that Russia defeated the West in World War II, leading to NATO’s “fear of World War III.” ” would have. Reaching for grotesque threats, Kartapolov addressed the West with a line from an old Soviet film: “Don’t worry, it won’t hurt if we cut your throat. We only cut once and you are in heaven… Our victory will be where the Russian soldier stops – and wherever he stops, he will never go.”
Not everyone in the studio agreed with the notion that Russia’s quagmire in Ukraine could only be resolved by bringing the planet to the brink of nuclear catastrophe. Political scientist Sergey Mikheyev took offense at Simonyan’s scenario of a direct confrontation, arguing that the art of diplomacy should not be reduced to this deplorable state. He advocated asymmetrical measures to achieve Russia’s goals. Solovyov intervened to soften the blow, telling Mikheyev: “Sergey Alexandrovich, we’re just irresponsible journalists. We can afford it.” Mikheyev replied quietly, “We’re not even journalists.”
American Dmitry Drobnitsky also scoffed at Simonyan’s idea of a “head-to-head” confrontation accompanied by nuclear threats, arguing that this strategy would ward off Russia’s current sympathizers like India or China.
Even Satanovsky dismissed the simplistic thinking behind Simonyan’s narrative, telling her: “When the stakes are that we cease to exist, we cannot limit ourselves to believing that they read what the President said and believed it – no, Margarita, they don’t believe it.” He argued that his idea of killing thousands of US troops in order not to destroy all of America was much more feasible. Not a single expert in the studio argued against Satanovsky’s macabre proposal. Drobnitsky had only one exception: “In our country we hugged an American whom we do not want to kill: that would be Tucker Carlson.”