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Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed the country in a dark and macabre tone assuring that he would cleanse it of “scum and traitors”. It was a speech that could be described as the darkest in the history of Putin’s presidency.
“Any people, and particularly the Russian people, will always be able to distinguish true patriots from scum and traitors and will simply spit them out like a gnat that accidentally flew into their mouths,” Putin said.
“I am convinced that such a natural and necessary self-purification of society will only strengthen our country, our solidarity, cohesion and readiness to face any challenges,” he added.
Asked how such a cleansing would operate, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Thursday, March 17, that people “are disappearing from our lives on their own,” including by quitting their jobs or leaving Russia.
“This is how this purification happens,” he told reporters in a teleconference, adding that many people “show themselves to be traitors” in difficult moments.
“I don’t judge those who have villas in Miami or on the French Riviera. Nor those who can’t live without oysters, or foie gras or so-called ‘gender freedoms.’ The problem is that mentally they are there, and not here, with our people, with Russia,” he said to the camera.
Putin thus warned of a crackdown on anyone dissenting from the ‘motherland’ or seduced by the ‘luxuries’ of the West — also considering LGTBQ rights a luxury.
“The West took off the mask of civility and started acting belligerently. It is a comparison with the anti-Semitic pogroms” of the Nazis, Putin said as he asserted that the Western world wants to wipe out Russia.
“We will not allow Ukraine to serve as a springboard for aggressive actions against Russia,” he said. He claimed that Western leaders gave him “no options to resolve the process peacefully.”
Putin sent troops into Ukraine on February 24 despite Western leaders warning him of massive sanctions that would cripple the Russian economy for months.
Putin’s threat came two days after a producer for Russia’s state-run Channel One television interrupted the news with an unusually peaceful protest against the war in Ukraine. Marina Ovsyannikova briefly held up a sign that read: “They are lying to you”.
Faced with such a demonstration, the speaker of Russia’s lower house of parliament called her protest a “betrayal” and called for her to be punished “with full rigor.”
Nearly 15,000 people have been detained in anti-war protests in Russia since Putin ordered the invasion on February 24, according to the human rights organization OVD-Info. Tens of thousands of Russians have also fled abroad to escape repression and the consequences of sanctions. Many abandoned their homes and careers to seek refuge in countries such as Kyrgyzstan, Georgia, Armenia, Turkey and Israel.
Sabrina Martín Rondon is a Venezuelan journalist. Her source is politics and economics. She is a specialist in corporate communications and is committed to the task of dismantling the supposed benefits of socialism // Sabrina Martín Rondon es periodista venezolana. Su fuente es la política y economía. Es especialista en comunicaciones corporativas y se ha comprometido con la tarea de desmontar las supuestas bondades del socialismo