Pro-Putin TV host criticizes Russian draft effort on state television

State media spin-doctor Vladimir Soloviev criticized the handling of Russia’s “partial mobilization” effort on live state television on Sunday — a rare move for the pro-Kremlin talk-show host.

Soloviev questioned why employed people, or musicians or people with a “million illnesses” or students — all of whom he said should be exempted from the draft — should be called up to serve.

But he firmly drew the line at criticizing Russia’s President Vladimir Putin directly.

“The idiots out there who are calling up musicians or individuals with a million illnesses […] or students, despite the clearly defined exemption, not only should they be punished, but they should be the first to be sent to the front lines. If anyone wishes to discredit our supreme commander-in-chief, I’d strongly advise against it,” Soloviev said.

“And if it turns out that someone [overseeing the partial mobilization] chooses to turn a blind eye, then they should be punished in the harshest manner conceivable.”

Soloviev was previously singled out by the US State Department as perhaps being the Russian government’s “most energetic” propagandist, figuring prominently in the Kremlin’s information war.

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