“In Russia, too, they understand that the tsar will collapse very soon” – Podolyak about the incident in Bryansk region

March 4 2023

A frame from the video of the “Russian Volunteer Corps”, shot in the Bryansk region on March 2, 2023

On March 2, the Russian authorities reported the penetration of a Ukrainian sabotage group into the Bryansk region bordering Ukraine. There were conflicting reports from the region. Later, videos shot in Lubechany appeared on social networks. In the footage, people dressed in camouflage claim that they are fighters of the “Russian Volunteer Corps” (RDK), which is part of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and consists of Russian emigrants fighting for Ukraine. The RDK stated that their fighters crossed the border with Russia and entered the villages of the Bryansk region in order, as they say, to liberate their native land from “Putin’s regime.”

Mykhailo Podolyak, crisis adviser to the head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, commented on the incident in the Bryansk region of Russia on the Svoboda Live program.

 Mr. Podolyak, you tweeted that the news about the “Ukrainian DRG” is a provocation. And you, I understand, could have hinted that it was about partisans. That is, this is probably the internal history of Russia.

Do you understand whether these were really the representatives of the Russian Volunteer Corps (RDK), whose videos we see on social networks, which allegedly confirm that it was them?

– First of all, let’s immediately record that Ukraine is definitely not fighting on the territory of Russia, and is not sending any DRGs. Moreover, it did not solve any military objective in the Bryansk region. I mean in these settlements that we are talking about with you today.

That is, it is absolutely pointless to go there and fight there against the civilian population. Only Russia can talk about it and do so. This is the first. That is, Ukraine certainly has nothing to do with this.

The second component. There are really two versions. They can be intertwined. And they do not contradict each other. Just as there is no contradiction in the fact that a certain number of ethnic Russians who fled the Russian Federation at the beginning of the war and got the opportunity with our help to somehow manifest themselves from the point of view of trying to break Putin’s vertical in Russia, then this can certainly take place.

But, meanwhile, in Russia itself today there are more and more different groups, small or large, which are gradually beginning to behave aggressively towards the Russian power vertical. This could be one such example. I will now move on to the second version, which is more clear to me.

In Russia, we see many different excesses not only in the regions bordering Ukraine, for example, such as, in this case, we are talking about Bryansk region, such as Belgorod region or Kursk region, or even Krasnodar region, or Tula region and so on, and even deep in the depths of Russia, there are many excesses that are artificial in nature. That is, they are provoked either by some sabotage or really partisan actions.

This suggests that there are many such groups in Russia. This is the first. They start to wake up. They understand that there is practically no power vertical anymore. Yes, there are still a certain number of security forces trying to maintain control over Russian communities.

But, in the meantime, they begin to behave very actively. And this is a good sign. A good sign that, after all, transformation can begin not only with social riots, as we think. Because the standard of living has fallen significantly. Besides, a lot of funerals come.

And also because there are a large number of people who want to redistribute power in the Russian Federation at various levels. This can only be the beginning.

The most likely theory is that it was staged by the Russian special services. She is not very successful. Because all these mutually exclusive explanations, what it was, a bus…, a girl and a boy, here is this eloquent story about the fact that some boy, like Pashka Korchagin or the young man Moroz, took someone into the forest, hid them, they ran away from people who children are killed on the road and so on, then this suggests that this is a staged story.

It is needed in order to mobilize the Russian communities, which today are sabotaging all this propaganda hysteria that there is a “holy war”, “we must continue to fight”, “we must tighten the belts” and once again kill and kill Ukrainians.

And in order to somehow strengthen it, somehow to put the emphasis in a different way, that “if not us, then us” (a classic Russian antithesis), that’s exactly why such a production was invented.

That is, to say that the “Ukrainian DRG”, which speaks in the sincere Ukrainian language, came to the center of the Bryansk village. They said there, by the way, in their information reports that “Ukrainian language was heard” there.

But, in the meantime, I still believe that this is an attempt by the Russians to abandon this topic. And you know, it seems to me that the further we go into the forest, I mean until the end of this war, the more severe and provocative actions the Russians will take against their people in order to somehow demobilize or frighten them.

Mykhailo Podolyak, anti-crisis adviser to the head of the Office of the President

– Mr. Podolyak, but if it is still about the Russian Volunteer Corps, if we assume that it is indeed the work of this group… Why do I think it makes sense? Because, at least, their official resources say so. Journalists called the representatives of this corps. And they confirmed it. Now, I understand, you are refuting this, at least denying that these are representatives of this particular group? Or not?

– I am not saying that it is not this group. The question is how much work they did and what exactly they did. Have you recorded a video…

– There is a video. Yes really.

– …did they carry out certain types of work in addition to informational work? Because everything that was later told by the Russian official sites about the fact that there was a huge battle going on there, that hostages were being taken there, that the “Ukrainian DRG” was pushed out into the territory of Ukraine and destroyed by artillery, all this was not a fact.

This does not mean that these partisans, including the Russian Volunteer Legion, are not there. Of course, they could be there. I don’t see any contradiction in this. I’m just saying once again, they could have been there, to fulfill a certain mission, to show that the Kremlin is not such a terrible devil as it is portrayed, that we need to work further, that we can…

I will say, by the way, that they, if it was them, highlighted some important points.

  • First, that Russia does not control its internal space.
  • Secondly, the protection of the territory of the Russian Federation is weak enough.
  • The third. They emphasized that no one is an analyst of what is happening.
  • The fourth is that all these, in this case, Bogomaz or Starovoyt (in this case, the governor of the Bryansk region), who say that they train people there to protect the region, that this is all a fiction.

That is, if these guys from the Russian Volunteer Legion went there and even made these informational materials that they did, then this already says a lot about the quality of Russia’s control over its space.

– These people in the video are in the uniform of the Armed Forces. And they are probably part of the Armed Forces, part of the International Territorial Defense Legion of Ukraine. Can you comment on this moment?

– I comment on this moment quite simply.

Again, there is no contradiction in the fact that a certain number of people from various countries, including the Russian Federation, came to us at the beginning of the war, for example, and got the opportunity to liberate their country. That is, we provided such an opportunity.

This does not mean that they are an integral part of the Armed Forces, which reports specifically to the General Staff in terms of direct participation in hostilities, but they have the opportunity to use a certain resource, because we have to defend our territory because they are ethnic Russians or even citizens of Russia.

A frame from the video of the “Russian Volunteer Corps”, shot in the Bryansk region on March 2, 2023

– Don’t you see a problem here? First, there are not only Russians in the International Legion. After all, these are people who are in the ranks of the Armed Forces. Despite the fact that you now say that they are not necessarily subordinate to the General Staff, they use this resource. And this can then be used to discredit Ukraine. How can you comment on this? How to distinguish it?

– As for the discrediting of Ukraine, Russia will certainly try to use it. But the question is whether she will prove that there were exactly some terrorist attacks, as Putin stated. Because Putin always tells false information, we have to understand.

And, secondly, we will explain that any people who are enslaved, and Russian citizens who are actively resisting Putin’s regime, are enslaved and have the right to do so.

But I emphasize once again that legally there is the Armed Forces, there are citizens of Ukraine who perform their duty directly on the battlefield (this is very important), and there are citizens of other countries who are legally motivated in a completely different way to perform this or that job .

– How are they legally registered? Can you explain this mechanism? There is little information about this. When I was getting ready, I couldn’t find her.

– The Foreign Legion should, of course, be addressed to the General Staff so that it explains what legal relations they are in today…

– Aren’t the parts of the TRO a part of the Armed Forces? How can it be that some part of the Armed Forces is not part of the Armed Forces? Or what are you trying to say?

– Again. If you want information on the legal component, I don’t quite understand. I emphasize once again. Please clarify the legal component at the General Staff. They will then talk about the legal component.

I am telling you that there are citizens of another country who are not citizens of Ukraine. Citizens of another country have a different legal component regarding what kind of relationship they have with the Armed Forces. Because Ukrainian citizens can be in the Armed Forces.

The Russians, when they sided with Ukraine in the first weeks of the war, were given the opportunity to use weapons to defend their territory, which they call “Russia”, from the Russian occupation regime, as they perceive it in Russia itself. This is how it should be perceived.

– That is, you don’t know whether the people who today, at least probably, are soldiers of the Armed Forces…?

– Legally, only the General Staff can know about the relations between certain units.

Second. Ukraine does not officially attack the territory of the Russian Federation, does not send any DRG within the framework of the orders of the General Staff!

The third. Citizens of Russia can do whatever they want and be called whatever they want.

Officially, Ukraine did not send any DRGs to the Bryansk region by order of the General Staff or anyone else!

What people declare, who declares, what they do and so on, especially since these are Russian citizens who escaped from Russia, who pose as Russian partisans (and rightly so), they can declare anything. This has no significance for the official position of Ukraine.

Let’s also talk about how this situation can unfold in Russia. We can already see the reaction of the President of the Russian Federation. He already called it a terrorist attack.

Putin talks about it as an abstraction. What kind of “terrorist attack” is that? It certainly looks strangely like a terrorist attack. What terrorist attack? Please provide some evidence that this is some kind of terrorist act committed by someone.

They are trying to destabilize their society, to show that this is already a war for survival in them, so they should voluntarily gather together as quickly as possible, go to mobilize and come to the territory of Ukraine again, while there is still such an opportunity, to come to the territory of Ukraine and kill there are people here.

Therefore, they can legally say anything. They can talk about the fact that we will rename the “SVO” to “counter-terrorist operation”, rename it to “war” and there we will “wet bandits in the toilet” and so on. This is of no importance to you and me.

The following is important to us.

  • We continue our counteroffensive actions, regardless of the propagandistic elements that the Russian Federation constantly says that they have written new territories into the constitution.
  • The second component. Active offensive actions of Russia are taking place in the Donetsk direction. And in principle, we are engaged in active defense in this direction.
  • The third component. Undoubtedly, we are preparing further to speed up counter-offensive actions. And for this you need to accumulate a certain resource.
  • The fourth component. Of course, Russia will try to talk about it as much as possible. Because the usual mobilization tantrums they staged during the war year no longer work. They need, I emphasize once again, somehow rally their population and say: let’s go fight in Ukraine!

– When I was preparing for the broadcast, I saw that many people from the Russian audience, when commenting on it, asked the following question: is it possible to change the status, as you already said, from the so-called “SVO”, what the consequences might be. That’s what it’s called. A new wave of official mobilization. We talked about this on our airwaves, that supposedly it is not so important, since the mobilization probably continues even without it.

But what can change? They can, for example, close the borders. Certain sentiments within the country may, for example, grow. This can be used as an excuse to use nuclear weapons. This is an unlikely option, but it is being discussed again. Are these the risks you see? How can you comment?

– Let’s start with nuclear weapons. This is discussed by propagandists, of course, on their channels.

Of course, they need to say something: “we are beaten, but we are strong”, “we can take revenge”. Meanwhile, the risk of using nuclear weapons is quite low today. This is nonsense, let’s put it that way.

During the protest of a group of Russian citizens in front of the Russian embassy in Mexico on the anniversary of Russia’s large-scale invasion of Ukraine. 
February 24, 2023

The second component. As for the legal status of “SVO”, changes, for example, to “counter-terrorist operation” and the closing of borders, today their borders are almost completely closed, they continue to mobilize today.

That is, there will be no significant changes. But, meanwhile, it can only increase hysteria in Russia itself. That is, the Russians will understand that everything is not going according to plan. They already understand it today. Because, of course, the number of corpses returning to the Russian Federation from Ukraine is very large. But, in the meantime, they will be even more scared. They understand that the war in Russia itself has already been clearly established. It is very important. But this will not increase loyalty to the war

Russian tanks damaged by the Defense Forces of Ukraine near Vugledar after the attempt of the Russian army to attack this city.  Donetsk, February 2023
Russian tanks damaged by the Defense Forces of Ukraine near Vugledar after the attempt of the Russian army to attack this city. Donetsk, February 2023

The Russians understand, at least the main thing is that they did not attack Russia, and if Russia did not continue to attack Ukraine after 2014, and if Russia did not enter Ukraine in 2014, and if Russia did not enter Ukraine on a full scale in 2022, then they do not have there would be problems. They already subconsciously understand it. And they will understand consciously.

The more such provocations, the more Putin talks about terrorist attacks here, the more terrorist attacks, the more these excesses will be at critical facilities in Russia – airfields, oil depots and so on, the more there will be “unidentified flying objects » fall everywhere in Russia, the more they will understand that the war is an irreversible problem, a growing problem in Russia.

– Mr. Podolyak, you said that there are signs that certain, perhaps, disintegration processes are taking place in Russia, maybe someone there wants to fight for power, do you see how this may or may not develop into an armed conflict within Russia? Is it unrealistic?

– This is absolutely realistic. You are absolutely right here. It is realistic. I’ll say it again. Key element. What is Russian statehood based on? It is based on violence, on internal violence.

We are not talking about expansionism in terms of how it relates to its neighbors. But internally, the Russians exchanged their freedoms, the possibility of discussion for a guarantee of security as such and a guarantee of the “greatness” of Russia. That is, everyone is afraid of Russia. And so on. And for this, a power vertical was built, which guaranteed control over internal security everywhere. That is, over lawlessness, rather. And so on.

But, meanwhile, today they understand that there are no security forces, they are completely unprofessional. In Russia, they also understand this. And this period of chaos begins in Russia, when the security forces still seem to be there, but they also understand that the tsar will collapse very soon. That is, this political elite will not exist in this form.

And, what’s more, today in all foreign markets it is being talked about quite contemptuously, if you can say so, they are talking about Putin and his entourage, that they will definitely be on the dock. And it does not add points to this power vertical. And, of course, she is very weak.

But, on the other hand, there is a lot of criminalization. See what is happening in Russia. There is a heroization of people, that is, rapists, prisoners who participate in the war, are killed. This is the heroization of the criminal world on such a large scale. And then they will dominate. And they will use weapons. And they will want redistribution of power at local levels. They will want to redistribute wealth at local levels. This is an objective process that has already begun in Russia. Because there is mistrust of the king, mistrust of his power, including, by the way, in the immediate environment.

On the other hand, there is already an understanding on the ground that something will have to be taken away, especially in ethnic republics, ethnic territories. They understand that there may not be such a time again. Because today they are aware that it is possible to either rebuild the constitution of Russia into a confederation and get much more powers, or go into free swimming altogether. This is a very important historical moment.

Map at the meeting of the Forum of the Free Peoples of Russia held in Prague on July 22-24, 2022

And it seems to me that such excesses as in the Bryansk region (we will return to this now) make no difference whether it is the production of Russia itself or whether it is even the first manifestations of some partisan movements, including movements that consist of people who have fled to us, received here at the beginning of the war certain weapons and so on. But it doesn’t matter anymore. There will be many such movements. And therefore, armed conflicts in Russia will also take place. And this is after a fairly short period of time.

– Mr. Podolyak, can you explain what the logic is, why it is considered illegitimate if Ukraine, defending its sovereignty, will attack the territory of the Russian Federation?

– Three components. The first is that the world has not yet gotten rid of fear, the democratic world, a part of this world has not completely gotten rid of the fear of Russia, including those nuclear weapons that you talked about.

The second component. Pro-Russian lobbying networks, including information networks, are still quite active in the world. Including on international platforms, which use one or another tool to say that Russia had the right to do something there and it is not a war, but it is really Russia’s attempts to obtain some security guarantees, but through the war, through the “SVO” against Ukraine . And it really still continues to work partially. We are also working with this to explain that this is not the case.

Well, the third, very important component is international law. It clearly states that we legally have the absolute right to do whatever we want by destroying the enemy on our territory, including the occupied territories in their entirety. That is, we can conduct a defensive war, and, for example, an offensive war on the territory of another state, for this we need to obtain certain mandates from certain structures.

– Of course. This is a matter of international law.

– So.

One comment

  1. “In Russia, we see many different excesses not only in the regions bordering Ukraine, for example, such as, in this case, we are talking about Bryansk region, such as Belgorod region or Kursk region, or even Krasnodar region, or Tula region and so on, and even deep in the depths of Russia, there are many excesses that are artificial in nature. That is, they are provoked either by some sabotage or really partisan actions.”

    Are there more partisan actions in mafia land that nobody ever hears about?
    Certainly, mafia land is huge. How much law enforcement does it need to control this vast territory? How many are left since the war has scooped up so many people to die in Ukraine? It’s easy to imagine that there are many entities that don’t want to be controlled by Moscow anymore. I wish we could flatten Moscow. Without it, the entire shithole would collapse immediately.
    Let us hope that more action will take place inside the country. And, every news about subversive activities should reach every cockroach in Ukraine. That’ll do wonders for their morale.

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