I shall be reporting on all this, I hope, by the end of the day.
For now, I am concentrating on the final touches of my project which I also hope to be able to post today.
Today I once again appeal to all citizens of Russia. Thank you for your endurance, solidarity and patriotism. This civic solidarity has shown that any blackmail, attempts to arrange internal unrest are doomed to failure.
I repeat, the highest consolidation of society, executive and legislative power at all levels was shown. A firm, unambiguous position in support of the constitutional order was taken by public organizations, religious denominations, leading political parties, in fact, the entire Russian society. Everyone was united and rallied by the main thing – responsibility for the fate of the Fatherland.
I emphasize that from the very beginning of the events, all the necessary decisions were immediately taken to neutralize the threat that had arisen, to protect the constitutional order, the life and security of our citizens.
An armed rebellion would have been put down anyway. The organizers of the rebellion, despite the loss of adequacy, could not fail to understand this. They understood everything, including that they went to criminal acts, to split and weaken the country, which is now confronting a colossal external threat, unprecedented pressure from outside. When at the front with the words “not a step back!” our comrades are dying.
However, the organizers of the rebellion, having betrayed their country, their people, betrayed those who were drawn into the crime. They lied to them, pushed them to death, under fire, to shoot their own.
It was precisely this outcome – fratricide – that Russia’s enemies wanted: both the neo-Nazis in Kyiv, and their Western patrons, and all sorts of national traitors. They wanted Russian soldiers to kill each other, so that military personnel and civilians would die, so that in the end Russia would lose, and our society would split, choke in bloody civil strife.
They rubbed their hands, dreaming of taking revenge for their failures at the front and during the so-called counteroffensive, but they miscalculated.
I thank all our military personnel, law enforcement officers, special services who stood in the way of the rebels, remained faithful to their duty, oath and their people. The courage and self-sacrifice of the fallen heroes-pilots saved Russia from tragic devastating consequences.
At the same time, we knew and know that the overwhelming majority of the fighters and commanders of the Wagner group are also Russian patriots, devoted to their people and state. They proved it with their courage on the battlefield, liberating the Donbass and Novorossiya. They tried to use them in the dark against their brothers in arms, with whom they fought together for the sake of the country and its future.
Therefore, from the very beginning of the events, on my direct instructions, steps were taken to avoid a lot of bloodshed. This took time, including to give those who made a mistake a chance to change their minds, to understand that their actions are strongly rejected by society, and to what tragic, destructive consequences for Russia, for our state, the adventure into which they were dragged leads.
I thank those soldiers and commanders of the Wagner group who made the only right decision – they did not go to fratricidal bloodshed, they stopped at the last line.
Today you have the opportunity to continue serving Russia by entering into a contract with the Ministry of Defense or other law enforcement agencies, or to return to your family and friends. Whoever wants to can go to Belarus. The promise I made will be fulfilled. I repeat, the choice is yours, but I am sure it will be the choice of Russian soldiers who have realized their tragic mistake.
I am grateful to President of Belarus Alexander Grigoryevich Lukashenko for his efforts and contribution to the peaceful resolution of the situation.
But I repeat, it was the patriotic spirit of the citizens, the consolidation of the entire Russian society that played a decisive role these days. This support allowed us to overcome the most difficult trials for our Motherland together.
Thank you for that. Thank you.