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16 Feb, 2024 16:03

Ukrainians ‘zombified’ by Zelensky’s propaganda – ex-PM

The country’s citizens are constantly hammered by news of ‘Russian orcs,’ but they still want peace, Nikolay Azarov said
Ukrainians ‘zombified’ by Zelensky’s propaganda – ex-PM

Ukrainian propaganda seeks to dehumanize and instill hatred toward Russians, but it has failed to convince most people that they must fight Moscow to the bitter end, former Ukrainian Prime Minister Nikolay Azarov has said.

In an interview with the Russian daily Izvestia on Friday, Azarov, who led Ukraine's national government between 2010 and 2014 when a violent Western-backed coup in Kiev plunged the country into a decade of bloody turmoil, suggested that a significant portion of Ukrainians are reluctant to keep fighting.

”I don’t think that most people want the conflict to continue or to return to the 1991 borders,” the ex-official said, explaining that an ordinary Ukrainian married couple does not want their son to go to the front only to die in the trenches.

Kiev has repeatedly insisted that peace is possible only if Moscow withdraws from Crimea and four other former Ukrainian regions that overwhelmingly voted to become part of Russia in 2014 and 2022, respectively.

However, Azarov also pointed out that a significant part of Ukrainian society has been “zombified” by national TV. “Every 5–10 minutes they get pummeled by news about ‘Russian orcs’. Many are now being brought up in the spirit of hatred, resentment, and so on,” he noted.

He added, however, that this does not mean 90% of Ukrainians are “ready to grab a weapon and run into the trenches and die for no reason.”

Azarov lamented that the Ukrainian political elite has been virtually wiped out over the past 10 years. “There are practically no people there who have even an ounce of common sense left. There are [only] opportunists, blank spaces. They will do whatever the Americans tell them”.

Ukraine can only recover if its current leaders are replaced, the ex-PM argued. He stressed that this does not mean Kiev would become either pro-Russian or pro-American, but rather that it will return to “the realm of common sense.”

Azarov’s comments come after the New York Times reported last month that Ukrainians are getting tired of the national broadcast because it paints “too rosy a picture” of the conflict with Russia while downplaying Kiev’s military defeats. 

The reported propaganda fatigue comes on the heels of Ukraine’s much-hyped counteroffensive last year that failed to gain any substantial ground. Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu estimated Kiev’s losses last month at more than 215,000 troops in 2023 alone.