Ever since Vladimir Putin ordered his troops to invade Ukraine in February, Moscow has been clamping down on any form of dissent which cast doubt on the war effort, with protesters being mysteriously arrested across the country.
Instead, the Kremlin maintained that Russia had no choice but to start a war – falsely accusing their European neighbours of being run by neo-Nazis.
As the weeks drag by, Russia has left a trail of destruction through Ukraine but ultimately has not been able to declare any concrete victories.
Military analyst Mikhail Khodarenok has subsequently made headlines around the world for being the first senior Russian commentator to reveal the Kremlin is on the back foot and likely to lose.
Speaking on Russian state TV, he said: “Let’s not consume info-sedatives.
“Sometimes information is being spread about some sort of psychological breakdown in Ukraine’s Armed Forces, suggesting some sort of a breakthrough is imminent.
“None of this has a basis in reality.
″Of course, there are separate incidences with prisoners of war, some divisions, but those are separate incidents.
“We should be looking at the totality of circumstances.”
He continued: “Ukraine’s Armed Forces can arm one million men. One million of armed Ukrainian soldiers should be accepted as a result of the near future.
“We should consider that in our strategic calculations.
“The situation in that sense for us will keep worsening.
″As far as the desire to defend their Homeland, according to the understanding that exists in Ukraine, it’s most definitely present there.
″It is a component of an Army’s high combat capability, it’s one of the most important components.”
As the TV host and hardline propagandist Olga Skabeyeva tried to undermine his claims, he replied: “The most important thing is remain realistic.”
Suggesting that Russia needs to be aware of just how strong the Ukrainian resistance is, he explained: “If you don’t then sooner or later reality will hit you so hard you won’t know what’s hit you.
He said the Ukrainian Army’s professionalism stems from its level of training and “its morale and readiness to shed blood” for their country.
Despite his words, the anchor maintained that Russia’s entire existence is on the line and that they had “no choice” in invading Ukraine.
Khodarenok just pointed to the geopolitical isolation Russia is now facing, explaining that “the whole world is against us, even if we don’t want to admit it″, urging the Kremlin to resolve it as soon as possible.
Th BBC’s Francis Scarr, who translated the video, called it “damning” take on the war.
This is not the first time Khodarenok has spoken out against Russia.
Ten days ago, the analysis dismantled the idea that Russian mobilisation would work, pointing out: “We don’t have the reserves, the pilots or the planes, so the mobilisation would be of little help.”
He added: “Sending people armed with weapons of yesteryear to fight against global-standard Nato weapons would not be the right thing to do.”
Other commentators, such military analyst Konstantin Sivko, have also pointed out that the conditions are not favourable for a Russian victory right now.
He said: “Current economic market system is unfit to meet the needs of our Armed Forces and of the entire country under the conditions.”
It appears morale is flagging among the general public in Russia, too.
One local told The Guardian: “I look at my government totally different since the war started. There are some very harsh things I would like to say about our leadership, but maybe best if I don’t because they would put me in prison for it.”
In late March, Moscow admitted that around 1,351 soldiers had been killed and 3,825 wounded in the first month.
Since then, Russia has only said that the subsequent casualties are “significant”, although some Western estimates suggest the death toll could now be up to 30,000 soldiers.
Russian troops’ recent attempt to cross the Ukrainian Donets River – which failed, dramatically – alone left more than 485 Russians dead and up to 80 vehicles destroyed, according to the Institute for the Study of War.
Russia has also been accused of hiding the real number of dead from its public, to keep people on side.
There have been reports that Vladimir Putin is now commanding various elements of the war himself, despite his senior position – suggesting he is conscious that the conflict is not going as he had hoped.