A Russian television panelist argued against the Vladimir Putin regime’s imperialist view of Ukraine in a rare moment of candor on the state-controlled NTV network earlier this month.
Television pundit Alexander Sosnovsky rebuked Russian ultranationalists Sept. 12 on “The Evening with Vladimir Solovyov,” according to the Daily Beast.
Nearly all major media networks in Russia are controlled by the state. NTV is owned by state-owned energy company Gazprom.
In the segment, Russian ultranationalist Dmitry Drobnitsky argued against the existence of Ukraine.
“Recognizing the existence of the Ukrainian people was the biggest mistake in our Soviet history,” Drobnitsky said, according to a translation shared on Twitter by the Daily Beast’s Julia Davis.
“The Ukrainian people do not exist,” he added. “Any historian will confirm they do not exist.”
Drobnitsky’s fanatical beliefs on the topic merited a rebuke from another guest.
“Why would you say something stupid like that? Of course there is a Ukrainian language,” Sosnovsky, who is based in Germany, said in response to Drobnitsky’s belief that Ukrainian is merely a “dialect” of Russian.
“This is clear-cut nationalism,” he said of the panelist’s views, using language that pro-Kremlin propagandists themselves have frequently used to describe Ukraine.
“We can’t do this, turning all of that nation’s population against us.”
“Are We The Baddies?” moment on Russian TV: one pundit—responding to his genocidal colleagues, who assert that Ukrainian nationality and language do not exist—suddenly realizes he is in the company of actual Nazis and says, “This is clear cut nationalism.”https://t.co/9If9zMLrn2 pic.twitter.com/qZUX0etGlL
— Julia Davis (@JuliaDavisNews) September 14, 2022
The heated exchange came as the Russian military suffered serious combat defeats in Ukraine.
The Ukrainian armed forces drove Russia out of Kharkiv Oblast earlier this month in the most significant territorial change in the war in months.
Russian military leaders reframed the objectives of the invasion after the loss, pointing to the supposed liberation of the Donbas region.
Its leaders have cited their own intolerance for Ukrainian nationality as justification for the war since its onset.
Putin falsely described Ukrainian nationhood as a creation of Communist leader Vladimir Lenin in a February speech, repeating his own longstanding belief that Russians and Ukrainians are “one people.”
The “special military operation” that Putin suggested would end in days continues, with some analysts predicting that Russia intends to mobilize draftees in a bid to reverse what has become a geopolitical humiliation.