Retired Colonel Says What Kremlin Doesn't Want to Hear

He urged fellow panelists on state TV not to 'drink information tranquilizers' about invasion
By Mike L. Ford,  Newser Staff
Posted May 17, 2022 7:45 PM CDT

If nothing else, it will be interesting to see whether Mikhail Khodarenok ever appears again on 60 Minutes, the twice-daily Russian state TV program that normally “promotes the Kremlin line on absolutely everything," according to the BBC. Khodarenok, a retired colonel and military analyst, crossed that line in stunning fashion last weekend when he said that "the situation [for Russia] will clearly get worse" as weaponry flows from the West to Ukraine and that Russia remains in "total political isolation." Per CNN, he urged fellow panelists not to "drink information tranquilizers," such as reports that Ukrainian forces are on the verge of a morale crisis or psychological breakdown. "None of this is close to reality," he said.

Khodarenok also warned that Ukraine can arm a million people. Host Olga Skabeyeva objected, claiming untrained Ukrainian conscripts were no match for Russian might. But Khodarenok replied that "a desire to protect one's homeland" outweighs training issues, and that "victory on the battlefield is determined by a high level of morale among personnel, which sheds blood for the ideas which it’s prepared to fight for." As to whether Russia should fully mobilize, he said that it would take too long to train and equip the masses, and that sending “millions of men armed with outdated Soviet [equipment] … against a NATO-equipped army [is] neither militarily nor morally justifiable,” according to Telegraph reporting.

Newsweek says Khodarenok made waves on Russian social media. A video of the exchange had nearly 4 million views as of Tuesday morning, and Russian commenters expressed shock that “common sense” and an “objective view” appeared on state TV. Some speculated that the world might not hear from Khodarenok again. Then again, he has criticized the Kremlin before, warning prior to the February invasion that it would be disastrous for Russia. With this in mind, the BBC wonders whether this was actually an intentional, "pre-planned burst of reality" intended to prepare the Russian people for future bad news. (Read more Russia-Ukraine war stories.)

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