Putin May Have Used Actresses And Kremlin Staffers To Stage A Meeting With ‘Mothers’ Of Dead Russian Soldiers And People Are Losing It

Let’s state the obvious: Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine is not going well for him. This still-unfolding disaster has led the Russian president to see half of his first deployment killed. He followed up with a massive draft and has reportedly been “very afraid” that he’ll be assassinated if he loses this war, which sparked a “civil war” amid his dwindling supply of allies. Even some of his closest inner circle members have apparently lost hope for a victory, so he’s obviously hoping to turn the tide of public opinion.

On that note, Putin met with a group of women, many of whom were claimed to be “soldiers’ mothers,” to discuss their supposed support of the military conflict. At best, as the New York Times described the pre-Mother’s Day event, this was a “highly choreographed” meeting, in which Putin “said that he shared their pain in an apparent attempt to contain a growing outcry over the Kremlin’s handling of the war.”

Reportedly (and according to the NYT), “[s]ome of the 17 women who attended said they had lost their sons on the battlefield.” However, The Guardian cast a critical eye on the “handpicked cadre” as well while noting that “[o]ne of the women sitting next to Putin was Olesya Shigina, an ultra-conservative Russian poet, film-maker and activist who recently travelled to the Donbas region to direct a pro-war film featuring Russian troops.”

In addition, The Guardian cites “dozens of ordinary mothers” who say they attempted to meet with Putin, and he declined. Instead, Putin apparently met with “the mother of a senior military and police official from Chechnya, and other women active in pro-war NGOs financed by the state.” It’s not terribly surprising, of course, given that the Kremlin does love its propaganda. On social media, the Getty photos have been greeted with hefty criticism and accusations of Putin beefing up his sympathy game with actresses and Kremlin staffers.

Meanwhile, Putin’s war has been ongoing for nine months with no signs of ending.

(Via New York Times & The Guardian)