Putin is preparing his people for nuclear war by teaching them it ‘isn’t a bad thing’, Russian Nobel prize winner warns
- Dmitry Muratov, 61, warned the BBC was advertising nuclear war as if it was ‘pet food’
- It comes after President Putin announced plans to station tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus
Russian state propaganda is teaching its citizens that ‘nuclear war isn’t a bad thing’ and promoting it ‘like they’re advertising pet food’, a Russian Nobel prize-winner has warned.
Dmitry Muratov, editor-in-chief of the banned newspaper Novaya Gazeta, told the BBC the Kremlin was using an intensive public-messaging campaign to prepare Russians for a full-scale nuclear attack.
‘On TV channels here, nuclear war and nuclear weapons are promoted as if they’re advertising pet food,’ he said.
‘They announce, “We’ve got this missile, that missile, another kind of missile”.
‘They talk about targeting Britain and France, about sparking a nuclear tsunami that washes away America. Why do they say this? So that people here are ready.’
Dmitry Muratov, editor-in-chief of the influential Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, spoke to attendees during auctioning of his 23-karat gold medal of the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a cabinet meeting via video-conference at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow
The warning comes days after President Vladimir Putin announced plans to station tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, and as one of his closest aides, Nikolai Patrushev, warned that Russia had a ‘modern, unique weapon capable of destroying any enemy, including the United States’.
Siting nuclear weapons in Belarus would be the first time Moscow has deployed them outside its borders since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Meanwhile, Mr Muratov, 61 – who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2021 – said Russians had been ‘irradiated by propaganda’, using television and VK, the country’s version of Facebook.
He added: ‘In Russia, propaganda is 12 TV channels, tens of thousands of newspapers, social media like VK that serves completely the state ideology.’
One Russian talk-show host recently suggested that Russia ‘should declare any military target on the territory of France, Poland and the United Kingdom a legitimate target’.
According to the BBC, the same host advised ‘flattening an island with strategic nuclear weapons and carrying out a test launch or firing of tactical nuclear weapons so that no one has any illusions’.
The messaging is particularly effective with Putin’s support base – mostly older people who view him ‘as their own grandson’, Mr Muratov said.
Russian state propaganda is teaching its citizens that ‘nuclear war isn’t a bad thing’ and promoting it ‘like they’re advertising pet food’, a Russian Nobel prize-winner has warned
He said they see Putin ‘as someone who will protect them and who brings them their pension every month and wishes them Happy New Year each year’, adding: ‘These people believe their actual grandchildren should go and fight and die.’
But the propaganda is not convincing everyone. He said: ‘Twenty-one thousand administrative and criminal cases have been opened against Russians who’ve protested.
‘The opposition is in jail. Media outlets have been shut down. Many activists, civilians and journalists have been labelled foreign agents.’
Mr Muratov, who is not optimistic for the future of relations between Russia and Ukraine, warned: ‘Ukraine will not be able to come to terms with this tragedy.
‘In Russia, political repression will continue against all opponents of the regime. The only hope I have lies with the young generation – those people who see the world as a friend, not as an enemy, and who want Russia to be loved and for Russia to love the world.
‘I hope that this generation will outlive me and Putin.’
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