Urging Russians not to take ‘information sedatives,’ Mikhail M. Khodaryonok, a retired colonel and columnist on military affairs, noted on a popular Russian TV talk show Monday that the war in Ukraine was not going well for Russia.
The rare frank assessment left his fellow panelists in stunned silence, except for Olga Skabeyeva, the host, a Putin parrot who religiously follows the Kremlin line.
She interrupted Khodaryonok with official talking points in sometimes tense exchanges.
The clip was first highlighted by Francis Scarr of BBC Monitoring, which tracks Russian broadcasts.
Extraordinary exchange on Russian state TV’s top talk show about Ukraine. Military analyst & retired colonel Mikhail Khodarenok tells anchor Olga Skabeyeva “the situation for us will clearly get worse…we’re in total geopolitical isolation…the situation is not normal.” pic.twitter.com/ExMwVDszsk
— Steve Rosenberg (@BBCSteveR) May 16, 2022
According to the New York Times:
The problems that Mr. Khodaryonok referred to, sometimes obliquely, included low morale, the array of Western countries aligned against Russia and the amount of fighters and matériel that Ukraine was assembling.
While carefully avoiding any criticism of Russian aims or operations, he noted, according to the Times that:
“We are in total geopolitical isolation and the whole world is against us, even if we don’t want to admit it,” said Mr. Khodaryonok, noting that Russia’s “resources, military-political and military-technical, are limited.”
He repeatedly stressed that the entire situation was “not normal.”
What is worse, Khodaryonok noted that Ukraine appeared to have momentum, saying that: “The situation for us will clearly get worse.”
The retired Colonel was also prescient when in an unusually candid column published just before the invasion he cautioned against it, saying that it would not be a quick and easy ‘blitzkrieg’ as many Russian analysts claimed. He added that invading Ukraine was not in Russia’s “national interests.”
Russia has since criminalized denouncing its war effort, even prohibiting referring to it as a war rather than a “special military operation.”
Not too surprisingly, reports Business Insider, by Thursday, Khodaryonok had backtracked.
After his grim assessment of Russia’s struggles in its invasion of Ukraine, senior military analyst Mikhail Khodaryonok was apparently set straight by unnamed handlers behind-the-scenes. Today, he is back, sternly cautioning everyone not to underestimate Russia’s military might. pic.twitter.com/MHC6rcBLsU
— Julia Davis (@JuliaDavisNews) May 19, 2022
Instead of criticizing Russian logistical failures, he bragged about Russia’s military might and condemned western-made weapons which he amusingly claimed would fail in mid-battle, something far more descriptive of the Russian military gear.
He was likely set straight by friends from the Russian security service, the FSB. ADN