Russian TV hosts' bleak nuclear war prediction: 'We will go to heaven'
Russia's state controlled media appears to be preparing its audience for things to get much worse in the country's war with Ukraine and the West.
One of the country's prominent news shows called 60 Minutes, whose host has been dubbed "Putin's Iron Doll of TV", continues to ramp up the doomsday rhetoric.
Speaking with other pundits on the show recently, Olga Skabeyeva said, "Either we lose in Ukraine, or the Third World War starts.
"I think World War III is more realistic.
"Knowing us, knowing our leader, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, the most incredible outcome that all this will end in a nuclear strike seems more probably to me," she said.
"To my horror on one hand, [but] on the other hand with the understanding that it is what it is," she added.
Fellow host Vladimir Soloviev (who has previously ranted on air about being impacted by sanctions) seemed unperturbed about such an outcome.
"But we will go to heaven," he responded. "And they will simply croak."
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Sharing the clip online, US journalist Julia Davis, creator of the Russian Media Monitor, lamented that Russian state-run TV was "raging about an inevitable escalation" in hostilities.
"Citizens are being primed to believe that even the worst outcome is a good thing, because those dying for the Motherland will skyrocket to paradise," she tweeted.
Putin's fresh warning to the West: 'We will use them'
Meanwhile Vladimir Putin overnight has warned Russia will carry out "lightning fast" counterstrikes on any nations interfering with his invasion of Ukraine.
Speaking to lawmakers at the Council of Legislators in St Petersburg, the Russian leader again made a threat of deploying hitherto unused weapons.
"If someone intends to interfere in what is going on from the outside they must know that constitutes an unacceptable strategic threat to Russia," he said.
"They must know that our response to counterstrikes will be lightning fast.
"We have all the weapons we need for this. No one else can brag about these weapons, and we won’t brag about them. But we will use them."
Russian state TV is raging about WWIII and an inevitable escalation over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Citizens are being primed to believe that even the worst outcome is a good thing, because those dying for the Motherland will skyrocket to paradise.https://t.co/PzAt9jCBLt pic.twitter.com/DK2mXXWdfe
— Julia Davis (@JuliaDavisNews) April 27, 2022
Fleeing Russians 'waiting for Putin to die'
While TV propagandists are falling in line behind the Kremlin, not all Russia citizens have.
Eric Campbell, reporter for the ABC's Foreign Correspondent program has been spending time in eastern Europe speaking with Russians who have decided to flee the country since war broke out.
"I've been covering Russia for 25 years now ... the last vestiges of a managed democracy have basically been stamped out," he told RN Breakfast on Thursday morning.
"There is no longer any independent media in Russia ... there is no way you can protest any more."
As for the many thousands who have fled the country, some hold out hope of returning.
"They're hoping Putin will be dead soon," Mr Campbell said. "I suppose that's as optimistic as they can get. Everyone is seizing on any imagined or any vindication of Putin's ill health."
While figures aren't actually available, estimates show at least 200,000 Russians have left the country since the invasion commenced in late February.
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