Russia hopes a circus sideshow can boost morale among besieged conscripts fighting the nation’s unprovoked war with Ukraine.
Kremlin officials on Telegram Wednesday announced a “CREATIVE frontline bridge” of singers and artists as forces stepped up attacks on civilian infrastructure across Ukraine – aiming to leave residents cold and in the dark, as winter approaches.
“In their hands – not machine guns, but microphones!” warring officials wrote disrespectfully, according to Google Translate, announcing the conversation.
Efforts to raise morale “probably have not been able to materially allay concerns” about “very high casualty figures, poor leadership, wage problems, shortages of equipment and ammunition, and a lack of clarity about the war’s objective.” according to the British Ministry of Defence.
The entertainment program of “opera singers, actors and circus performers” was “strongly intertwined with the Soviet-era concept of ideological civic education,” British officials noted on Sunday.
Russia’s attempt to improve sentiment on the front lines as it tried to retake former Soviet territory-turned-candidate for NATO and the European Union, came as it began to lose the propaganda battle at home.
According to Kremlin and independent polls, support for the war across Russia recently plummeted to 30% as economic sanctions paralyzed the country and news of rising death tolls crept into the national debate.
President Vladimir Putin last week canceled his annual year-end press conference for the first time in a decade amid speculation that he was either ill or ran out of answers about the beating invasion.
Tatiana Yashina, 62, the mother of jailed opposition leader Ilya Yashin, said the tide of support for Putin had turned after a veteran Kremlin reporter confronted Putin about the nine-year prison sentence in a viral video last week.
“Wobbly Putin… lied about not knowing my son, then lied about not knowing about the verdict,” Yashina told The Daily Beast.
“Putin is falling apart,” she is said to have said. “He’s clearly right in front of the cameras – with no confidence in his voice.”
Vera Aleksandrovna, 57, a lawyer from Saint Petersburg, told the outlet that “Russia, like any other nation, wants to live a stable life without being ashamed of our Moscow leadership.”
“Before the war, Putin guaranteed us a stable life, but now he’s telling us that life in Russia will only be good in 10 years,” he said. “I liked Putin before the war, my son was an IT technician, we liked the IT opportunities in Russia; But now all the brains and talent are fleeing the country, my son is gone too and I can’t afford to wait another 10 years for a good life.”
Half of Russia’s last 300,000 conscripts are expected to be deployed in February 2023 — when Ukrainian officials fear the invaders will try again to take the capital, Kyiv. Russia’s first attempt was blocked by a surprisingly agile Ukrainian counteroffensive.
“They may not be as well equipped, but they still pose a problem for us,” Ukraine’s General Valery Zaluzhny told The Economist on Thursday about the conscripts.
“We estimate they have a reserve of 1.2 to 1.5 million people… The Russians are preparing about 200,000 fresh troops. I have no doubt that they will attack Kyiv again,” said the country’s top military commander.
The prediction came as Russia extended its conscription from one to two years next year, according to a video statement by Russian Lieutenant Colonel Mikhail Fotin, translated by The Daily Mail.
The military had launched around 54 rocket, mortar and tank attacks on central Kherson on Saturday, killing three people and wounding six, according to a Ukrainian regional official.
In the northern region of Belgorod, Ukrainian officials said one person was killed and eight injured in shelling on Sunday.
On Friday, an infant was among four people killed in an attack on Kryvyi Rih’s power infrastructure as attacks continued on Nikopol, Marhanets and Chervonohryhorivka across the river from the Russian-held Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, officials said.
About three dozen rockets fired at Kyiv were intercepted by air defenses on Friday. Two-thirds of the capital had electricity and water supplies again a day later, and the subway was running again after serving as a shelter, Mayor Vitali Klitschko said.
A senior US general estimated last month that more than 100,000 Russians had been killed during the 10-month invasion so far, but said there were likely a similar number of casualties in Ukraine.
With postal wires
https://nypost.com/2022/12/18/russia-to-entertain-front-line-soldiers-with-opera-circus/ Russia wants to entertain front-line soldiers with opera and circus