The Moscow Times

Semyond Bagdasarov State TV Vladimir Soloviev

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Russia learns the TRUTH: State TV DEFIES President Putin's propaganda edict and broadcasts criticism of the war in Ukraine - with guests describing the shambolic invasion as 'like Afghanistan, but even WORSE'





Putin's war on freedom of expression in Russia appeared to be fraying at the edges on Thursday
Guests on Kremlin-backed television defied Moscow and openly criticised the ongoing war in Ukraine
Some said the invasion was worse than the Afghanistan operation in the 1980s which ended in failure
Putin has intensified a crackdown on media and individuals who fail to hew to the Kremlin line on the war


By JACK WRIGHT and CHRIS PLEASANCE FOR MAILONLINE

PUBLISHED: 00:24 GMT, 11 March 2022 | UPDATED: 18:57 GMT, 11 March 2022

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Russians were given a glimpse of the truth about the war on Ukraine last night as guests on one of the country's most-popular state TV broadcasts risked the wrath of Vladimir Putin to denounce the invasion as 'worse' than the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan which helped bring down the Soviet Union.

Semyond Bagdasarov, an academic, used an appearance on Russia 1's prime time talk show 'An Evening with Vladimir Soloviev' - a man referred to as Putin's propagandist-in-chief - to call on the Russian president to end the attack, while warning allies like China and India could soon turn their backs on Moscow.

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'Do we need to get into another Afghanistan, but even worse? There are more people and they're more advanced in their weapon handling', he said, 'We don't need that. Enough already.'

He then added: 'If this picture starts to transform into an absolute humanitarian disaster, even our close allies like China and India will be forced to distance themselves from us. 'This public opinion, with which they're saturating the entire world, can play out badly for us... Ending this operation will stabilise things within the country.'

Karen Shakhnazarov, a filmmaker and state pundit, also sought to bust the Kremlin's narrative that it is conducting a limited 'special operation' in the Donbass region by referencing attacks on the capital of Kyiv - which is located hundreds of miles away.

'I have a hard time imagining taking cities such as Kyiv. I can't imagine how that would look,' he said, even as Putin's troops close in on the capital and launch attacks into the outskirts.

The pair spoke out despite the Russian government last week passing laws that threaten 15 years in jail for anyone publishing 'fake news' about the war - though the definition of 'fake' is set by the Russian government itself, meaning any an all criticism of the Kremlin's actions is likely to be classed as such.

Almost all independent media in Russia have closed down since the bill became law, fearing a crackdown on dissent. It means citizens looking for information on the war are forced to turn to state-controlled media, which has been pumping out disinformation about it being a 'special military operation' to 'de-Nazify' Ukraine.

It came as...

Russian troops in Ukraine have been issued gas masks as chemical warfare equipment is seized from captured troops amid warnings from the West that Putin will launch a gas attack
A 40-mile Russian 'death convoy' that had been stalled to the north of Kyiv has begun moving towards the capital, satellite images reveal, with rocket artillery taking up firing positions as what is sure to be a long and bloody battle for control of the city enters its early stages
Another two million people are set to flee Ukraine within days – raising pressure on Britain to welcome more refugees
The Government will unveil a hotline and webpage where individuals, charities, businesses and community groups will be able to offer rooms to those escaping the conflict

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