Russian Propagandist Admits Military Failings: 'We Had to Calm Down a Bit'

A top Kremlin propagandist admitted on national television Russia's military failings in Ukraine, saying that Moscow "had to calm down a bit" after believing it would take over Kyiv in "a couple of weeks."

Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an invasion of Ukraine on February 24 last year. Despite making progress in the east and south of the country, Russia has suffered numerous setbacks on the battlefield because of Ukrainian counteroffensives and Western countries supplying Kyiv with arms.

Pro-Putin Solovyov Live host Sergey Mardan made the comments about Russia's military failures in a video posted on Monday.

"A lot has happened over the year," he said, referring to the war. "Although we are not satisfied with ourselves, and although we have experienced quite a few disappointments over the year, we really believed at first that with one might blow we would raise the Russian flag over Kyiv in a couple of weeks."

Red Square Moscow Army
Russian servicemen march along the Red Square in Moscow on May 7, 2019, during a rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade. A top Kremlin propagandist admitted on national television Russia’s military failings in Ukraine, saying that Moscow “had to calm down a bit” after believing it would take over Kyiv in “a couple of weeks.” Alexander Nemenov/Getty

The Ukrainian capital was the main target of the Russian army in the early days of the invasion and Putin even sent paratroopers into the Presidential Palace targeting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. But after fierce Ukrainian resistance, the Russian military was pushed back from Kyiv, and Putin's forces turned their attention to Eastern Ukraine.

"We had to calm down a bit, but nevertheless the fact remains, Russia is being treated very differently, much more seriously than it was treated a year ago," Mardan said. "This is what the ability to project one's power, including military power, is all about. That's what distinguishes an independently politically subject country from a country just drawn on a map, there are a lot of them.

He added: "90% of the countries on the map aren't really countries, they're just territories existing on the rights of limited self-government. Like urban settlements, like the urban settlement of Estonia, or the urban settlement of Nepal."

Estonia was part of the Soviet Union until 1991. Newsweek reached out to the Estonian Foreign Ministry for comment on Mardan's remarks.

In another video with Mardan, posted by Anton Gershchenko, adviser to the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, on Monday, a guest on the show said that the Russian army is seriously lacking in the officer corps and has "nowhere to get them."

"The third problem, of course, is obvious. It is the lack of proper officer corps. This is now beginning to have a very serious impact," said the unnamed guest, addressing Mardan on the talk show. The guest appears to be military expert Vladislav Shurygin.