As many readers of this site’s exemplary reporting already know, the sheer folly of Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked war on Ukraine becomes more and more apparent with each passing month that the conflict grinds on. Wholly separate from the raw numbers documenting the battlefield losses of men and equipment sustained on the Russian side are numerous anecdotal accounts of terrible morale among Russian soldiers surfacing since the war’s inception in Western news outlets, various social media, in statements by both Ukrainian intelligence sources, by the U.S. Department of Defense, and even in Kremlin-controlled Russian media.

Two weeks ago, a Russian paratrooper named Pavel Filatyev published a scathing 141-page memoir of his experiences on VKontakte (Russian Facebook), castigating what he saw as the appalling condition and ineptitude of the Russian military. Filatyev had been involved in Russia’s capture of Kherson. He composed this devastating missive while recuperating from an eye injury sustained during the Ukrainian bombardment near the town of Mykolaiv.

Filatyev’s account has (apparently) not yet been fully translated into English, but major portions have been summarized on Twitter (see thread below) and by the independent Russian news site Meduza. In those translated portions, Filatyev details the dismal state of readiness he experienced in the Feodosia VDV airborne during the months in the runup to the war. Western reports have since documented outright refusal of airborne units to fight, primarily because of reported deficiencies in their command and equipment.

12. On the war memoir of the former Russian paratrooper Pavel Filatyev:https://t.co/yAdj81Mybe

According to reporting by Sophia Ankel for Business Insider, other portions of Filatyev’s account detail instances of Russian soldiers shooting themselves in the foot to escape further combat assignments. He also describes widespread theft and looting by Russian soldiers of Ukrainian homes.

Ankel also reports that after publishing his denunciation of the Russian military, Filatyev was kidnapped and interrogated by Russian Special Ops agents in Moscow. He says he was accused of selling “secret data to the Americans” about the war. According to the report, Filatyev was given the impression that his interlocutors were not concerned about his actual views of the war but were more intent on exposing him as an extremist or terrorist. After being held for 16 hours, he was released, whereupon he fled the country and is now at an undisclosed location in Europe.

On Tuesday, CNN released a video interview with Filatyev taken at that location. As reported by CNN’s Matthew Chance, Rob Picheta, and Katharina Krebs, Filatyev is believed to be the “first serving member of the Russian military to publicly criticize the invasion of Ukraine and leave the country.” In the interview, Filatyev describes the war as it is presented to the Russian people as a complete “lie.”

“We understood that we were dragged into a serious conflict where we are simply destroying towns and not actually liberating anyone,” Filatyev told CNN’s Matthew Chance. CNN is not disclosing the location of the interview for the security of the interviewee.

“Many understood that we do not see the reason that our government is trying to explain to us. That all of it is a lie,” he said. “We are just destroying peaceful lives. This fact immensely influenced our morale. That feeling that we are not doing anything good.” ...

According to Filatyev, the soldiers and their commanders did not know what they were expected to do in Ukraine. He added that they soon became disillusioned with the government’s reasoning for its invasion after arriving in Kherson and facing resistance from locals who did not want to be “liberated.”

“I will either be put in prison … or they will just silence me by taking me out. There were a lot of cases like that in the past,” he said.

Unfortunately, he’s probably right.

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'All of it is a lie:' A former serving member of the Russian military publicly criticizes invasion

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25.08.2022

As many readers of this site’s exemplary reporting already know, the sheer folly of Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked war on Ukraine becomes more and more apparent with each passing month that the conflict grinds on. Wholly separate from the raw numbers documenting the battlefield losses of men and equipment sustained on the Russian side are numerous anecdotal accounts of terrible morale among Russian soldiers surfacing since the war’s inception in Western news outlets, various social media, in statements by both Ukrainian intelligence sources, by the U.S. Department of Defense, and even in Kremlin-controlled Russian media.

Two weeks ago, a Russian paratrooper named Pavel Filatyev published a scathing 141-page memoir of his experiences on VKontakte (Russian Facebook), castigating what he saw as the appalling condition and ineptitude of the Russian military. Filatyev had been involved in Russia’s capture of Kherson. He composed this devastating missive while........

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