Russia has labelled those leaving the country and resigning from their jobs in response to the invasion of Ukraine as “traitors”, saying that it will make the country stronger if they are gotten rid of.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov (pictured bottom left) said many people in Russia were showing themselves to be “traitors”, following similar comments made by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“In such difficult times… many people show their true colours. Very many people are showing themselves, as we say in Russian, to be traitors,” Peskov said on Friday, March 18 as Russia enters its third week of war against its neighbor.
When asked about Putin’s remark that Russia would undergo a natural and necessary “self-cleansing”, Peskov responded:
“They vanish from our lives themselves. Some people are leaving their posts, some are leaving their active work life, some leave the country and move to other countries. That is how this cleansing happens.”
He brushed off comments by US President Joe Biden who publicly called Putin a war criminal for his actions in Ukraine which included bombing of civilian homes, schools and hospitals.
Peskov described Putin as a “wise, farsighted and cultured international figure”, adding that Biden had no right to speak as head of a state “that has been bombing people all over the world for years”.
His comments come after Putin said his country will “always be able to distinguish true patriots from scum and traitors” as he publicly denounced those who do not back him.
Referring to dissenters during a televised address, Putin on Wednesday said Russians will “simply spit them out like a gnat that accidentally flew into their mouths”.
He added: “I am convinced that such a natural and necessary self-purification of society will only strengthen our country.”
Putin, who calls the war in Ukraine a “special operation”, said the West is using a “fifth column” of traitorous Russians to create civil unrest.
“There is only one goal, I have already spoken about it — the destruction of Russia,” he said.