Putin speaks at Moscow rally in first public appearance since Ukraine invasion
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday made his first public appearance since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine at a rally in Moscow.
Police say there were 200,000 people in and around the stadium he spoke at as the crowd cheered for their president, The New York Times reported.
People were seen waving Russian flags as Putin claimed the country was more united now than ever as they celebrated the anniversary of the annexation of Crimea.
Russia has taken severe steps to crack down on independent media since the invasion began, shuttering radio stations and other outlets that do not repeat the Kremlin’s talking points. They’ve also taken sites such as the BBC off the internet in Russia.
One person at the rally had a poster that said “For a world without Nazism” as the Russian government continues to falsely tell the people the invasion of Ukraine was to stop Nazism.
Although the event seemed full of supporters, some reports stated workers connected to the state were forced to go by the government, with some telling reporters at the scene they were brought there in buses by their leaders, according to the Times.
A poll previously found that 58 percent of Russians support the war while 23 percent are opposed.
Support for the events in Ukraine has a generational divide, with older people much more likely to be supportive of Putin’s actions than the younger generations.
Individuals living in Moscow told The Hill of the misinformation spread in Russia about the war and how it is difficult to get the older generations to believe news from outside state-funded media.