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‘We’re faced with a betrayal’ Vladimir Putin addressed the country, promising harsh measures for Yevgeny Prigozhin and Wagner insurgents
Vladimir Putin gave an emergency address on Saturday morning, stating his position on Yevgeny Prigozhin’s professed “march of justice,” which appears to be a developing armed coup. The full text of the president’s address has been posted on the official Kremlin website. We have translated it.
I appeal to the citizens of Russia, to the personnel of the Armed Forces, law enforcement agencies, and special services; to the soldiers and commanders who are now fighting at their combat positions, repelling the enemy’s attacks and doing it heroically. I am also addressing those who have been lured into this criminal venture and pushed onto the path of the gravest crime, armed mutiny, through deception or threats.
Russia today is fighting an uphill battle for its future and is repelling the aggression of the neo-Nazis and their masters. In fact, the entire military, economic, and propaganda machine of the West are directed against us. We are fighting for the life and security of our people, for our sovereignty and independence. For the right to be and remain Russia — a state with a 1,000-year history.
This battle, when the fate of our people is being decided, requires the unity of all forces, and total consolidation and responsibility. Our adversaries take advantage of any kind of discord to undermine us, and anything that weakens us must be put aside.
The actions that divide our unity are, in essence, a betrayal of our people and our comrades-in-arms who are fighting on the frontlines right now. It’s a stab in the back for our country and our people.
This is exactly the kind of blow that was dealt to Russia in 1917, when the country fought in the First World War. But victory was stolen from her. Intrigues, squabbles, politicking behind the backs of the army and the people resulted in the greatest of shocks, the destruction of the army, the collapse of the state, and the loss of vast territories. And in the end, in the tragedy of the civil war.
Russians killed other Russians, brothers killed brothers, and mercenary gains were made by all kinds of political adventurers and foreign forces who divided up the country and tore it apart.
We will not let this happen again. We will protect both our people and our statehood from any threats. Including internal treachery.
What we’re faced with is precisely a betrayal. Excessive ambition and vested interests have led to treason, to a betrayal of one’s country, its people, and the cause for which Wagner Group soldiers and commanders had fought and died, side by side with our other units. The heroes who liberated Soledar and Artyomovsk, towns and villages of Donbass, fought and gave their lives for Novorossiya, for the unity of the Russian world. Their name and their glory have been betrayed by those who are trying to organize an insurrection, pushing the country towards anarchy and fratricide, and ultimately towards defeat and capitulation.
I repeat, any internal turmoil is a mortal threat to our statehood and to us as a nation. This is a blow to Russia, to our people. And our actions to defend the Fatherland against such a threat will be tough. All those who deliberately stepped onto the path of treachery, who prepared an armed insurrection, who followed the path of blackmail and terrorist methods, will suffer an inevitable punishment, will have to answer before the law and before our people.
The Armed Forces and other government agencies have received the necessary orders, and additional anti-terrorist measures are now being introduced in Moscow, the Moscow region, and a number of other regions. Decisive action will also be taken to stabilize the situation in Rostov-on-Don. The situation remains complex, with the work of the civilian and military administrative bodies effectively blocked.
As President of Russia and Commander-in-Chief, and as a citizen of Russia, I shall do my utmost to defend the country, to protect the constitutional order and the lives, security, and freedom of our citizens.
Those who organized and prepared the armed insurrection, who raised their weapons against their comrades-in-arms, have betrayed Russia. They will be held accountable for it. I call on those who are being dragged into this crime not to make the fatal, tragic, and irreparable mistake, and to make the only right choice: to stop participating in criminal actions.
I believe that we will save and defend what is dear and sacred to us. Together with our Motherland we will overcome any trials and become even stronger.
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