Putin orders Russians to work a six-day week in desperate Soviet-style crackdown

Laura Keunssberg shows Russian ambassador Andrei Kelin clip

Russian propagandists are pushing for the country’s economy ministry to force people to work an extra day a week to support Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine. According to the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD), the “Soviet-style” rhetoric would push for people to work with no extra pay.

In its latest intelligence update, the MoD said: “In recent weeks, the tone of public debate in Russia has moved beyond merely punishing those who criticise the ‘Special Military Operation’ towards mandating citizens to actively make sacrifices in support of the war effort.

“Russian state-backed media and business groups have petitioned the Economic Ministry to authorise a six-day week for workers in the face of the economic demands of the war, apparently without additional pay.

“On 21 May 2023, leading Russian propagandist Margarita Simonyan mooted that citizens should work for two extra hours in munitions factories each day, after their regular jobs.

“The evolving tone of the conversations clearly echoes a Soviet-style sense of societal compulsion.

“It also highlights how the leadership highly likely identifies economic performance as a decisive factor in winning the war.”

The update comes as Russia’s ambassador to the UK has warned of an escalation to the war in Ukraine as Britain and other Western allies commit more weapons to aid President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Speaking to the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg, Andrei Kelin said the actions of NATO countries, “especially” the UK, risk lengthening and triggering a “new dimension” in the war.

He said Russia had “enormous resources” and despite the war already raging for over a year, he claimed his country had not yet started to “act very seriously”.

Mr Kelin said: “Russia is 16 times bigger than Ukraine. We have enormous resources.

“Sooner or later, of course, this escalation may get a new dimension which we do not need and we do not want. We can make peace tomorrow.”

When asked about widespread mounting evidence of Russia’s war crimes, the ambassador said Ukraine was the one committing war crimes.

He then changed tack and said the United Nations had no power to investigate war crimes.

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