A Russian university official has insisted “Ukraine as a country should not exist”. His comments came amid reports of Vladimir Putin’s troops withdrawing from Kherson.
The Kremlin leader, upon launching his “special military operation” in Ukraine, expressed the need for Kyiv to undergo “de-militarisation” and “de-Nazification”.
Social commentators were, however, quick to tell the millions of viewers of state-run television channels that the conflict could bring an additional benefit of triggering “de-Ukrainianisation” more generally.
As reports of Russian setbacks on the battlefield this week intensified, one pundit went one step further, arguing that the country should cease to exist altogether.
Andrey Sidorov told Channel One Russia that this is how the situation should be understood, when “handled rationally, not emotionally”.
Other pundits in the studio appeared to be entertained by his view of the current “rationale”.
Sidorov is Deputy Dean of World Politics at Moscow State University.
He, translated by Julia Davis of Russian Media Monitor, also argued that Moscow should further “cut off” Europe.
The Deputy Dean said: “We can cut off all ties with them in principle. Furthermore, if we do… we will put Europe on the brink of survival.
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“I think it’s most beneficial to do it in the new year, towards the spring, because the situation will start to worsen by then, in terms of economical and social tensions in Europe.”
Responding to Sidorov’s comments, Ms Davis said such officials “revel in being evil”.
She added that “they aren’t very introspective”.
Speaking separately on Channel One Russia, United Russia MP Andrei Isayev today attempted to brush off Moscow’s recent setbacks in Ukraine.
Francis Scarr of the BBC commented: “Of course on Russian state TV they won’t admit to suffering defeats at the hands of Ukraine, so they’ve been invoking the old chestnut of ‘we’re up against Nato’ to explain the announced Kherson withdrawal to viewers.”