Head of Russian propaganda mill resigns, warns nuclear war may be imminent

Is the world on the brink of nuclear war over Ukraine? That’s what the former editor-in-chief of Kremlin propaganda mill Russia Today said after resigning over Vladimir Putin’s invasion. 

In an interview with Fox News, Maria Baronova said she quit the state-run news operation also known as RT because of her concerns that the conflict could turn atomic.

“The problem is, I know these people very well. They never send threats, they just kill, so there is kind of [a] weird silence around me, but I really think we’re on the brink of a nuclear war right now,” she told Fox News from Moscow, according to an interview published Monday. “I’m not exaggerating.”

Despite the potential threat to her safety by staying in Russia, she’s more concerned about the situation around the world.

“I have a son, I can’t leave because his father won’t allow me to leave with him, and so I just prefer to stay in Moscow … It seems like we’re either in North Korea or we are going to be killed by a thermonuclear mushroom,” she said.

“I wouldn’t quit, and I wouldn’t lose my salary and job if I was sure that we are going to be alive for many years, but I really don’t know what is going to happen to all of us next.”

And, according to Baronova, it’s not necessarily Putin who might resort to nukes over Ukraine.

“I suspect the Western world will use (nuclear weapons),” Baronova said. “This is a very dangerous situation.”

As for Baronova’s resignation from RT, Baronova said it wasn’t necessarily over the propaganda on the network, but instead a co-worker’s Instagram message which read, “If you are now ashamed of being Russian, don’t worry, you are not Russian.”

“I was really disturbed by that tone and level of support,” she said.

“That was the moment I decided, ‘OK, that’s it.’”

“If I chose to be with Russia, this does not mean that I should walk in a totalitarian system, be silent or, for example, rejoice that the regime, which I do not want for my country, is being exported somewhere else,” Baronova said in a response to the message. “And this regime will finally turn our life into one endless hell. What’s there. Already turned.”

Baronova has been on both sides of the fence when it comes to support for Putin’s regime.

She was previously an opposition figure, having been described in 2014 as “for a short while, one of the most visible protesters in Moscow.”

She was previously with Dozhd, an independent TV channel known as TV Rain; now shut down, it was considered one of the top media outlets for the opposition.

However, she joined RT in 2019, a move that was unpopular with Putin’s opponents.

“People felt betrayed when I decided to join RT,” she said. “But I decided on purpose in order to have a reasonable conversation with people who are in power right now in Russia.”

That conversation has been shuttered, at least via traditional media channels.

Dozhd/TV Rain has been shut down by Putin’s regime for the moment. RT, meanwhile, has faced shutdowns in the West, with Germany and Poland banning it and the United Kingdom close on their heels. Facebook and YouTube have also restricted their reach on social media.