Updated: Aug 15
By Tony Nastas, Reporting from Ukraine June 27th 2023 The recent events with the Wagner group rebellion stirred up many hidden and unresolved questions - what’s going on in Russia? What was it really?
The conflict between the Ministry of Russian Defense and Wagner's boss Prigozhin went public several months ago because the MoD didn't provide them enough ammunition to kill Ukrainians in Bakhmut.
Screenshot from a YT video: Where is ammunition?
So, on June 23, 2023 they said the MoD (Russian Ministry of Defense) attacked their camps with missiles and helicopter rockets and started their March for Justice to be able to take the Minister of Defense and the Chief General down. That’s why they first went to Rostov-on-Don city where the headquarters of MoD that operated the war in Ukraine is located. The minister and chief general ran away from there the same night at 9pm. So, when the Wagner group arrived there next morning at 7:30, they both were long gone.
So, the Wagner groups headed to Moscow. It took them all Saturday to get to the border of the Moscow region and suddenly they turned back about 130 miles from Moscow because Prigozhin made a deal with the president of Belarus Lukashenko. The rebellion was over. Everybody was forgiven and everything was forgotten.
The Russian army lost at least 3 helicopters and one plane. Plus several military trucks. 15 pilots and fly engineers were killed. Prigozhyn promised 50 million US dollars to cover the losses to the relatives of the deceased.
The Wagner group lost just one small military truck.
The coup was over.
But what was it and what really happened?
Many people in the US may think that Prigozhyn wanted to stop the war in Ukraine and that was a good chance for that. But that is very far from the truth. He wanted to get more armor and ammunition to keep invading Ukraine and ‘’liberating” more cities.
Bakhmut Is Gone: An Aerial Look at the War’s Destruction
Prigozhyn wasn’t benevolent in any way! His plan was to swing Russia even further into war escalating their actions in Ukraine.
Before the coup, the Wagner boss publicly wanted to mobilize more Russian men, he demanded more armor because he said, though the decision to start the war was stupid, but if you started it, you've got to win it by all means! So, the intentions were totally different.
So, all the official Russian soldiers laid down their weapons in front of the Wagner group on the way because they supported the idea that MoD is corrupt and not doing enough to win this war. They never expressed an intention to stop it. Just not enough supply. Russians think they are failing at war because the MoD and the Chief General don’t know how to fight and make wrong decisions on the battlefield, killing thousands in vain and hiding the corps of tens of thousands in morgues. They couldn’t stand it anymore. So, everybody wanted to correct this injustice as their comrades die everyday in big quantities at the so called “meat attacks” as they have no armor. So, they supported the March for Justice to keep the war going but at a bigger scale.
But why do ordinary soldiers, ordinary Russian men still want to keep going with the war?
Aren’t they tired of the war seeing so many of their brothers, husbands and fathers killed?
The truth is painful and can hardly be understood.
Please, note the following: it's not my personal opinion - these are the cold facts and my personal statistics that I calculated after talking to 130+ Russian people PERSONALLY - eye to eye using a video chat app. I am not a survey company and I wasn’t able to ask a few thousand people to get statistically more accurate results. But the articles from the Russian media and their surveys give quite close numbers to mine. Have a look at the percentage numbers in the following articles::
So, according to these Russian surveys about 72%-81% of the Russian citizens support Putin and his bloody war.
First, I couldn’t believe the numbers these Russian surveys provided until I made my own experiment. It took me about two months to talk to all these people. My result was 82% out of 130 people wanted me dead.
That doesn’t make sense, you may say! That doesn’t make any sense to me either. But here is what I found out.
I didn’t talk to these Russian people for just 2-3 minutes. They were quite substantial and open talks. The longest conversation I had was 45 minutes.
I found out that the MAJORITY of Russian people really want the old Soviet Union to be restored. Even the young people who are under 30 years old tried to persuade me that it was much better under the Soviet power though they never lived in the Soviet times. Their parents and propaganda made them believe so.
People over 40 told me that they feel they are the citizens of the Soviet Union. It was a huge tragedy that the Soviet Union was split apart by the American agents - Eltsyn, Kravchuk and Shushkevich (leaders of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus at that time) in 1991.
**** The same was said by Putin in 2005 here in Russian - Путин: Крушение Советского Союза было крупнейшей геополитической катастрофой века (2005)
Also, here is a very good 3-minute video in English - Putin laments Soviet collapse as demise of 'historical Russia'
Because of that, the Russian men and women I talked with consider that Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Kazakhstan and all other former Soviet countries do not exist or have no right to be independent - they all are a part of the Russian empire as it used to be. So, right now their Red army is fighting to get their territories back, because the United States destroyed the USSR while Reagan was in power. So, Americans won and Russians lost the Cold War and now they are returning back what is theirs.
Remember the ultimatum Putin made to Nato to roll back the borders of NATO to 1997? (https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/russia-demands-nato-return-to-1997-in-security-treaty-proposals-1.1697377 ) That means they want all the Warsaw pact countries back. And this is how Russian people think. They DESIRE their empire to be restored!
They want to feel great again, have a great country, great people, great red army, etc. But they can’t even deal with their poor living conditions in their own homes and apartment blocks and yards outside the big cities of Moscow and Saint-Petersburg. I was even impudent enough to ask some, the most proud of them, to show me their apartment and living conditions, and they were ashamed. Of course, I showed them mine in Ukraine.
Many of you know that about 800k Russians left the country as soon as Putin announced mobilization in September 2022. Did they leave Russia because they were against the war?
First, remember that It’s just 0,54% of the 146 million population of Russia!(https://www.worldometers.info/world-population/russia-population/ )
And, second, I wish they all were anti-war
These 800k Russians fled exactly because they didn’t want to fight PERSONALLY in the war. NOT because they didn’t support the war! Again, the majority of the people that fled, still support the war because it’s fought by somebody else, their countrymen, not them personally. Even in the countries they fled to, they haven’t changed their imperialistic minds - they consider those countries(Georgia, Armenia, Kazakhstan, even Finland (1939) !) to be still a part of Russia. That’s why they behave there accordingly and local people hate them for that.
They are not against the war - they are against personal PARTICIPATING in the war!
The remaining Russian citizens live unburdened by the war. They call it a special military operation, they do not feel the influence of the war, their life keeps going as it was going before. They go to work, to restaurants and parks as they always used to. Yes, they can’t go everywhere in the world freely, but not many people could afford to leave the country even before the war. 69% percent never been outside Russia - https://www.pravda.com.ua/eng/news/2022/08/2/7361601/ ) But those limitations and sanctions haven’t influenced the majority of the Russian population, so their life keeps going as before unless it touches their relatives. But even if their sons and fathers go to war, get killed or captured, they still support Putin. They say he does the right thing protecting their country in Ukraine from “gayropeans” and “anglo-sacks”. The proof of that are the video calls that captured Russian soldiers make while in Ukrainian captivity at this very interesting YouTube channel with 700+ interviews at https://www.youtube.com/@VolodymyrZolkin/videos - I like watching the parts where Russian soldiers are given a possibility to call their relatives during the interviews.
Do know how Russians explained to me why they invaded Ukraine?
Please, remember that they still consider Ukraine to be a part of Russia! That’s why they are not invading a foreign country, they are LIBERATING us from the West and NATO that stole Ukraine and other Eastern European countries away from them. They are convinced, Europe is an American puppet, so it’s worth liberating it too…
I don't know if I was able to give you a little glimpse what is really in the hearts of common Russians. THEIR GREATEST DESIRE IS TO RESTORE THE FORMER “GLORY” of the Soviet Union to feel great again.
People from the western culture just believe most people are rational and want peace. But this is not the case with Russians..
I know it’s very difficult for a Westerner to understand their culture, their way of thinking. The problem is that western people think in a DEMOCRATIC way where a person's life and freedom are the main values. But for Russians, human life and freedom can easily be sacrificed in the name of their greatness which they lost with the fall down of the Soviet Union. That’s why they do and support everything that Putin does, as it synchronizes with what they always wanted - to feel great again. Despite personal poverty and discomfort in their dirty towns, villages and cities.
Again, Wagner didn’t start the coup against the war, or against Putin - their goal was to make the war more effective to kill us, Ukrainians, to restore the Soviet Union quicker and with greater military muscle.
Putin, Wagner and common Russian people in its majority want the same - return to their “glory”.
So they thought it was the right time. Putin thought the EU is divided, Biden is weak. That's why they started the war as they thought the West would not help Ukraine, they would take it over, get stronger and move forward to the English Channel. But everything happened otherwise, and the Western countries joined together and took a stand. Now no one doubts that NATO will be more united and stronger from now on.
Right now western media is so careful not to paint Russia overtly as an enemy. That is a dangerous game that was played out before the war. There were so many wonderful joint projects like the International Space Station, the European Union was buying natural gas and oil. Putin was accepted in western countries as a friend,was invited to G7 which even became G8 (The Great Eight! Really?). But Putin perceived all that as western weakness. That is exactly the behavior of a bully!
Remember, Russians do not think as you do! They have different core values.
Putin wants the world to think that Russia is formidable and the Russian army is the second strongest in the world. But recent events showed that Putin is weakening. His power is unstable. Any calamity can kill him or his power. He flew away from Moscow as soon as he smelled some coup danger, though Prigozhyn told he would not interfere with the Russian president or parliament in Moscow. Remember what Zelensky did when he heard that Russia started the full scale war and he was offered to leave Kiev? That’s the difference. Our President remains...
We need to use this opportunity to defeat our common enemy once and for all, otherwise we will reap a worldwide storm. It needs to stop here, Ukraine! For the future of your and my kids!
Only together we will win and become stronger.