Video Shows Russians Urging End to Putin’s War: ‘Government Deceives Us’

Video Shows Russians Urging End to Putin’s War: ‘Government Deceives Us’

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Russian citizens have spoken out against the war in Ukraine in a newly released video by BBC News as the conflict nears a new milestone.

Russian President Vladimir Putin first launched his invasion of neighboring Ukraine in late February 2022, with the conflict having since dragged on longer than most would have ever predicted as it nears its two-year anniversary. According to estimates from the Ukrainian military, Russian forces have suffered nearly 360,000 deaths in the war, as well as countless losses of military hardware. The Kremlin does not provide a running total of reported Ukrainian losses, but said on Saturday that 660 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed in the past day. Newsweek could not independently verify either count.

While Ukrainian sources might be inflating such numbers, other experts agree that they reflect a dire situation for Russia’s forces. In addition, Russian citizens have weathered heavy economic sanctions as a result of the invasion.

While Putin and his allies have remained staunchly committed to the conflict, a new video released on Sunday by the BBC showed some reactions from everyday Russian citizens, to the war and to the state of the country in general. The interviews were filmed in the town of Orekhovo-Zuyevo, roughly 60 miles east of Moscow.

russian citizen war video
Russian President Vladimir Putin is seen. Russian citizens have spoken out against the war in Ukraine in a newly released video by BBC News as the conflict nears a new milestone.
Ramil Sitdikov/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images

“How can there be hope?” one unnamed woman asked. “It’s the same old bureaucrats running things…Our government deceives. That’s what worries me. They rake in the money.”

Another woman, when asked about her hopes for the new year, attempted to brush off the question, stating that she had no hopes.

“If I had a decent pension, then I’d have some hope,” the woman said. “As long as there is no war…I hope it ends. So that it ends.”

“The main thing is that the war ends soon,” an unnamed man said. “Because our young generation are being killed. So many of them. We didn’t need this war. But it wasn’t us who started it.”

It is unclear in the video who the man was blaming for the onset of the war in Ukraine.

At one point in the video, BBC Russia editor Steve Rosenberg noted a massive building mural dedicated to the memory of a young Russian soldier killed in Ukraine. A local museum had been dedicated to the same soldier’s memory.

Newsweek reached out to Russian officials via email for comment.

Previously speaking with Newsweek, Beth Knobel, a professor of communications and media studies at Fordham University and former CBS News Moscow bureau chief, gave a blunt prediction for what it might take for the conflict in Ukraine to end next year.

“The only way I can foresee the Ukraine war possibly ending in 2024 is if Vladimir Putin dies,” Knobel said. “It is theoretically possible that Russia could take advantage of a change in leadership to try to declare victory and just hold onto the land it grabbed since February of 2022. But even if Putin dies, I think there’s only a miniscule chance that Russia would back off from the war, because it has already invested so much of its national image in winning.”