MOSCOW — The Kremlin has decided to cease a variety of malign activities for Lent, reports say. The 40-day period includes all manner of hybrid warfare activities ranging from assassinating dissidents with nerve agents and shooting down civilian airliners to hacking US political parties and spreading propaganda on the Internet.
Russian President Vladimir V. Putin made the announcement this morning in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow. The former KGB thug has positioned himself as "a pretty Christian kind of a guy" in recent years.
"For real, guys."
Lent, the 40 days that precede Easter, are not just a time for Christians to give things up, but also are often a time when Christians undertake more noble works.
"We won't just be giving up indiscriminate bombing attacks on hospitals in Idlib or fanning far-right sentiment throughout the world," Putin said. "We'll also be doing charitable works as well — cleaning up nuclear radiation, turning around our tanking economy, even taking care of our rapidly aging population.
Intelligence analysts and journalists believe the Putin's sentiment is genuine.
"We're well aware of Russia's tricks but we think they're legit this time," said Eliot Higgins of the investigative journalism site Bellingcat. "We'll use the opportunity to take some well-deserved leave over the next six weeks."
"Or at least until Russia starts organizing coups in NATO countries."