“You Die Like A F***** Earthworm”

Barry Gander
11 min readDec 6, 2023

Russian Soldiers and Civilians Turn Against Putin’s War

The bodies of 11 Russian soldiers lie in a village near Kharikiv, Ukraine.

“There’s no f — — — ‘dying the death of the brave’ here,” a Russian soldier told his brother from the front in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region. “You just die like a f — — — earthworm.”

Secret recordings obtained by The Associated Press give a glimpse of the reality of the pain of the Russian war on its soldiers.

At the same time, a new poll in Russia shows that the core of civilian support for the war is only 12 percent. This is down 10 points from an already-dismal 22 percent in February 2023; by one year after the start of the war, in other words, only one in five Russians supported it, and that has now cratered to about one in ten.

You’d have to look at the Republican Party’s support of abortion restrictions to find an equivalent civilian drop. And if you have to compare yourself to Republicans, you are doomed anyway.

The Moscow-based Chronicles research group, which was founded by Aleksei Miniailo, a Russian opposition politician, and a team of sociologists, says its surveys are accurate.

Restrictive laws in Russia that criminalize criticism of the war are aimed to curtail poll results, which are often based on questions that require only yes or no answers. But the Chronicles asked 1,199 adults across Russia a series of questions in a phone poll between October 17 and 22, so they were able to get more depth than YES/NO. They say they have an accurate snapshot of public opinion.

According to Newsweek: “More than half (52 percent) of respondents said they experienced anxiety or depression, an increase from 32 percent in March 2022, a month after the invasion started. A main reason for dissatisfaction with the war is the financial concerns that Russian households are facing.”

The Russian state is facing financial concerns as well. At least 40% of its budget will be directed to military expenses in 2024. Not a bad upgrade from the 17.% military spend at the start of Putin’s ‘special military operation’.

I doubt if any of his soldiers have had a chance to ask Putin what the difference is between a special military operation and a war, if the army is fighting it anyway?



Barry Gander

A Canadian from Connecticut: 2 strikes against me! I'm a top writer, looking for the Meaning under the headlines. Follow me on Mastodon @Barry