Vladimir Putin ordered nationwide nuclear exercises to prepare Russia for “armed conflicts involving nuclear powers”, in an apparent bid to instill fear in his people and gain support for his war in Ukraine .
Sirens and loudspeakers sounded in every region of Russia’s 11 time zones during exercises that lasted two days, starting Tuesday – although many in cities like Novosibirsk and Vladivostok heard nothing at all.
Television broadcasts were abruptly interrupted to test the systems with the same message relayed: “Attention, everyone! There is a check on the readiness of the alert system among the population. Please stay calm! »
In some areas, schoolchildren were trained to don gas masks, while elsewhere officials were forced to hide in bunkers.
Experts say the tests were aimed at sowing fear among the population as Putin suppresses domestic dissent and prepares for a possible re-election next year.
The exercises were held to simulate how Russia would react if 70 percent of its homes were destroyed.
In some areas, people have learned to quickly put on gas masks in the event of a disaster.
School children were taught how to properly wear gas masks in the event of a nuclear war.
Some simulated exercises for moving towards anti-atomic shelters or protective bunkers. The exercises were meant to mimic Russia’s response if 70 percent of housing was destroyed.
The national exercise was based on the hypothesis of a giant nuclear attack from the West.
The tests took place as if martial law had been introduced and Russia had been fully mobilized.
Two fallout shelters were used in Volgograd, the ancient city known as Stalingrad. One of them could accommodate up to 36,000 people.
“The main goal of the exercises is to check our readiness for specific actions,” said Emergency Situations Minister Alexander Kurenkov, who supervised the exercises.
Observers have warned that the exercises may actually be aimed at population control, portraying the West as a nuclear threat and aggressor.
Irina Tsukerman, a national security lawyer and geopolitical analyst and president of Scarab Rising, told the Daily Express us: “Putin is not seriously concerned about the possibility of a nuclear or other large-scale attack by NATO.”
She said drone attacks on buildings (by Ukraine) did not warrant such extensive preparations across the country.
“The practice of martial law is particularly useful as Putin continues to repress and isolate Russia from external influence,” she told The Express.
Russia has launched a constant, multi-sector censorship campaign to curb dissent during the war in Ukraine.
In September, an opposition media outlet claimed that pro-Kremlin media outlets had received a memo setting out guidelines on how to report on speculation that Russia might seek to recruit more reservists to take part in its invasion.
Also last month, Duma deputy Anton Gorelkin said Russia should consider blocking WhatsApp in Russia if the app launches Russian-language channels.
State censor Roskomnadzor added that Russia could block WhatsApp if it spreads banned information, as the app prepares to launch a channel feature featuring more than 150 countries, likely including Russia.
Putin is now expected to announce that he will participate in the next elections in March 2024.
Kommersant reported this week that he was set to run for re-election for the next six years, citing unidentified sources close to the presidential administration.
Sixteen months after Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, support for the war remains high on paper, although 20% of respondents say they are opposed.
That’s a 9% drop in support since last year, according to a global Gallup poll. vote.
Researchers note the difficulty in obtaining valid and reliable data.
“Even though the basic result may be affected by self-censorship… changes in trend over time show that people are willing to report changes in opinion,” said regional editor-in-chief Galina Zapryanova.
In a real nuclear war, President Vladimir Putin would be in charge. During this week’s exercises, Emergencies Minister Alexander Kurenkov supervised the simulations.
The simulations were implemented as a planned response to the erasure of territories in Russia.
It is unclear whether Putin played a covert role in the exercises over the past two days.
In the event of a nuclear war, Putin would be responsible for the Russian response.
During the exercises, Kurenkov led the efforts.
This week’s simulations were set up as a planned response to the complete erasure of territories in Russia.
The test scenario reads: “In some constituent entities (regions) of the Russian Federation, as a result of emergencies or other types of physical impacts, complete destruction of life support facilities and up to 70% of the housing stock is possible. ‘.
It envisaged “accidents occurring in hydraulic structures and installations presenting a chemical and radiological risk” leading to “secondary dangers”.
As part of this strategy, the Kremlin has put all government structures on standby in terms of civil protection.
The document describing Russia’s civil nuclear defense exercises warns: “The risk of armed conflicts escalating into local and regional wars, including those involving nuclear powers, is increasing.
“The threat to the security of the population is the risk of enemy use of modern long-range means of defeat, as well as possible attacks using unmanned aircraft and boats.”
The Putin regime had “taken the decision to develop measures aimed at increasing the readiness of the civil defense forces and the means of taking measures to protect the population, material and cultural assets on the territory of the Russian Federation. Russia, including general evacuation of dangerous areas.
A message broadcast on television and read over loudspeakers says: “Attention everyone! There is a check on the readiness of the alert system among the population. Please stay calm’
Russia holds nationwide nuclear exercises on October 3, 2023 in anticipation of ‘danger of armed conflicts involving nuclear powers’
Critics see these exercises as the Putin regime portraying the West as an aggressor – when it started the war in Ukraine.
They fear he is exaggerating the threat of a nuclear attack in a desperate attempt to frighten his people into supporting his “patriotic” agenda before the presidential election in March.