As new and more terrible images and details appear about the massacre in Bucha, Russian propaganda sets new questions to strengthen the…
As new and more terrible images and details appear about the massacre in Bucha, Russian propaganda sets new questions to strengthen the “fake attack” narrative about the military crime. One of the questions was “why should Russians do such a horrible massacre?” “There is no reasonable explanation for the terrifying cruelty.” The dreadful images therefore look like a war propaganda to incite violence against Russians, strengthen the shaky morale of the Ukrainian forces and to force Western countries to provide more political and military support to Ukraine. So how can the massacre be reasonably explained? Obviously, anything like “inherent cruelty” or “diabolical possession” of Russian soldiers cannot be a reasonable explanation.
There are, however, multiple facts that make the terrifying cruelty rather expected. First, it is well known that the Ukrainian authorities supplied a large mass of civilians in Kiev with Kalashnikov and other similar weapon, to defend the city against the much larger Russian forces. Russian president’s press secretary Mr. Peskov already noted, in his account for civilians killed by the Russian army, that this is unacceptable and such civilians are not considered “non-combatants.” This is nothing less than a green light to kill civilians. Second, the war in Ukraine is not just an operation of the military forces. It is indeed the Great Patriotic War of the Ukrainian people. There are tons of reports and footage of civilians throwing Molotov cocktail to the Russian trucks, information about old babushka feeding the Russian occupants with poisoned pastries. There have been lots of reports that many civilians are eager to supply intelligence information to the Ukrainian forces. To support this, Bucha survivors report that Russians always searched, inspected and took away the smartphones of civilians. Third, the battle of Bucha was really devastating for the Russian military. The footage shows many tanks and trucks burned on the streets (e.g. Vokzalnaya), with minimum 100 Russian solders killed. Fourth, the morale of the Russian forces reportedly continues to be quite low. Most of them do not understand what they are really doing in Ukraine. What is even more important, they were told and prepared for an easy police-type operation with nearzero risk but met a strong and bloody resistance both of the Ukrainian army and the Ukrainian people. Radio and telephone intercepts report that the Russians suffer from and are raged by bad organization, poor supply, insufficient support, neglect on the part of high ranking officers considering them just the expendable cannon fodder. This will certainly lead to significant frustration and lead to strong redirected aggression.
These facts make it easy to understand why the rage of the Russian soldiers just came to such an extreme degree. To a stressed, frustrated, exhausted and raged soldiers who see massive death of their fellows, there is a strong motivation to perform atrocities towards the “enemy.” One important factor is likely the fear of responsibility characteristic of the lower command staff in the Russian forces, who are often reluctant to intervene and report crimes out of fear that they will be appointed the main culprits. It is also very likely that the higher commandment gave the forces green light to attack civilians (see  for intercepted intelligence evidence) who do not keep absolutely neutral in the conflict. This is nearly a direct order to exterminate anyone who dares to be on the Ukrainian side, which effectively means every Ukrainian people. In fact, indiscriminate attacks and terror have been the usual military strategy of the Russian forces in the past in Chechnya and Syria.
Sadly, the military crimes like those in Bucha may have already occurred in many other places occupied by Russia. An indirect evidence of this is the recent statement by general Mezentsev about intentional execution of 93 Ukrainian “neo-nazi” militants who allegedly deserted from Mariupol in civilian clothes. This essentially means intentional execution of nearly a hundred of civilians! Putin’s lack of adequate feedback about the risks and costs of the continued military operation, the continued insistence on “neo-nazi” presence in Ukraine and willingness to escalate at any cost means that military crimes like those committed in Bucha are likely to continue to occur in other places occupied by Russia, especially in Donbass region taken by less controllable “peoples republics” insurgents. The only way to stop further massacres is to make the continuation of the war really unbearable to the Russian forces by supplying Ukrainian army with heavy weapon, sending fighter jets, closing the sky over Ukraine and total oil and gas embargo  on Russia. These measures are not cheap but manageable  and should be taken as soon as possible because any delays mean immense suffering of Ukrainian people and continued fatalities.
Schmid, F. et al. (2022) Possible Evidence of Russian Atrocities: German Intelligence Intercepts Radio Traffic Discussing the Murder of Civilians in Bucha. , DER SPIEGEL. https://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/possible-evidence-of-russian-atrocities-german-intelligence-intercepts-radio-traffic-discussing-the-murder-of-civilians-in-bucha-a-0a191c96-634f-4d07-8c5c-c4a772315b0d.
Guriev, S. and Oleg Itskhoki (2022) The economic rationale for oil and gas embargo on Putin’s regime, https://www.dropbox.com/s/wmptre3vkfkqysf/Guriev%20Itskhoki.pdf.
Bachmann, R. et al. (2022) What if? The economic effects for Germany of a stop of energy imports from Russia, https://www.econtribute.de/RePEc/ajk/ajkpbs/ECONtribute_PB_028_2022.pdf.