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“People are being taken to slaughter like sheep.” Moment of truth about war in Ukraine on Russian state TV

Russian state-owned propagandist channel NTV aired the truth about the war in Ukraine and the Russian government’s actions – if only for a few minutes. Rapper Ptakha, a guest in the propaganda talk show Mesto Vstrechi (“Meeting Place”), said that young people fail to see the point of this war, Russian mobilized soldiers are “taken to slaughter like sheep”, and sick people are sent to the front without any medical examination. The hosts kept interrupting Ptakha, demanding that he give specific examples. So he did.

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Rapper Ptakha (David Nuriev) said in a live NTV broadcast that young Russians fail to see the purpose of the invasion of Ukraine and that they are driven to war “like sheep to the slaughter”. The musician appeared on the talk show episode “In the Image and Likeness?” on December 14; the full recording of the episode is available on the channel's website.

“Few people understand what we’re doing there [in Ukraine]. Because they [Ukrainian troops] have not crossed the border. Few understand. Leveraging the Soviet Union, the Soviet ideology, saying that we are fighting the Germans, is very questionable.”

In response to the host's question of whether he could make a video explaining “what we're doing there”, Ptakha said: “I don't really understand it myself.” To the suggestion to go there himself and figure it out, the rapper replied:

“I've been there. I have a lot of friends in the Wagner PMC now, guys fighting as we speak. They're making money. I'll be honest with you: whoever joins Wagner does it for money. Do you really think they’re going there for the motherland? <...>
Young people resist; they are taken there forcibly, like sheep to the slaughter. It happens in every region, anywhere you look. Dima Pavlyuk, my buddy from Posledny Geroy [a reality show], a guy with physical and mental health issues, currently on medication, came to me yesterday after a visit to a military enlistment office and just sat there, shaking. Right in front of him, they enlisted a dude who had a heart valve problem... He had a pile of papers to prove it, but they said: ‘You look just fine to us, so go ahead and sign here.’ No physical examination, nothing. And it’s no big secret. How’s that for a specific example? I understand that you make propaganda here. But do it in a way that works, use what you have, and don't try to make up what you don't have. People are taken to slaughter like sheep. <...>
What kind of Nazism are you fighting against? Are you saying that all Ukrainians are Nazis?”

At the same time, Ptakha noted that he does not condemn the “special military operation” in general: “I don't condemn the SMO; I'm one of those who supported the SMO. I started supporting the SMO after I saw our guys there get shot in droves.”

Throughout Ptakha’s monologue, the propagandists threw random historical facts about the Third Reich and the Nazis at him, recalled “the Paulus army”, and suggested that the rapper retake his school course.

Attempts to present an alternative take on the events in Ukraine on Russian TV channels have been made before. Thus, in March, Channel One editor Marina Ovsyannikova appeared in the frame behind host Ekaterina Andreeva with a poster during a live broadcast. The sign read: “Stop the war! Don't trust propaganda. They are lying to you.”

Ovsyannikova was fined under the article on «discrediting» the army and resigned from the channel. Later, however, she continued to oppose the war. After Ovsyannikova went on a picket with a poster «Putin is a murderer» and a story about killed Ukrainian children, a criminal case for «fakes» was filed against her and she was sent under house arrest.

In October, Ovsyannikova escaped arrest and disappeared with her 11-year-old daughter. She was soon put on a federal wanted list and arrested in absentia.

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