As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues into its fourth week, embattled Russian leader Vladimir Putin delivered a speech calling on his nation to undergo a “self-cleaning of society” to rid them of the “bastards and traitors” who don’t share his vision for the future of Russia.
The Russian president looked visibly angry as he delivered his remarks on Wednesday, though the former KGB agent turned politician maintained his composure throughout.
“Any people, and particularly the Russian people, will always be able to tell apart the patriots from the scum and traitors and spit them out like a fly that accidentally flew into their mouths,” Putin said.
“I am convinced that this natural and necessary self-cleansing of society will only strengthen our country, our solidarity, cohesion, and readiness to meet any challenge.”
Putin seemingly targetted the wealthy in particular with his remarks, saying, “these people cannot live without oysters and gender freedom,” though he claimed he has no issues with that as long as their “minds” are with Russia.
The speech comes on the tail of widespread protests against the invasion of Ukraine throughout Russia, as well as increasingly harsh crackdowns from Russian state authorities. In recent weeks, the Russian government has passed a series of regulations banning various social media platforms and even outlawing any news outlets from contradicting official Russian government narratives.
Thousands of Russian citizens have been arrested or detained for speaking out against the invasion, with at least 4,500 arrested in a single day of protests earlier this month.
Kremlin military officials have claimed that nearly 500 Russian soldiers have been killed in the fighting thus far, but Western and Ukrainian assessments show a significantly higher figure.
According to the Kyiv Independent, which—it should be noted—is an independent news organization operating inside Ukraine, Russian forces have lost at least 14,000 troops thus far in the fighting.