Israel, Gaza
Photo of remains of Sderot police station after IDF recapture, shared by Yoav Karen via Wikimedia Commons under a CC BY-SA 4.0 license. Photo of damage in Gaza Strip (left) shared by Al Araby via Wikimedia Commons under a CC BY-SA 3.0 DEED.

Russian Reactions to Hamas-Israel Conflict: From Offers of Mediation to Schadenfreude

October 13, 2023
Conor Cunningham, Olga Kiyan, Mikael Pir-Budagyan

As violence escalated between Israel and Hamas in the wake of the latter’s indiscriminate attacks on multiple civilian and military targets this week, top Russian officials seized the opportunity to blame the crisis on what they described as America’s repeated failure to use its “monopoly” on mediation between the two sides to reach a fair and lasting peace deal. Putin and the top members of his team have also called for a cessation of hostilities, citing the urgent need to prevent further casualties, which Israel and Gaza estimated at 1,300 and 1,799, respectively, as of Oct. 13, and expressed a willingness to mediate.

Prominent Russians who publicly oppose Vladimir Putin’s authoritarian rule also called for a cessation of hostilities, while some of them argued that the Kremlin actually stands to benefit from the fighting as it distracts the U.S. and some of its allies from aiding Ukraine in its defense against Russia. At the same time, some of these opposition figures have argued that Putin does not want a significant further escalation of the conflict, and expressed skepticism that this deadly crisis will draw Moscow closer to Iran.

Of hardline Russian-language Telegram channels that support Putin’s war in Ukraine (Z channels), many focused on the military and security aspects of the conflict. Some argued that the fact that Hamas was able to launch multiple attacks from Gaza into Israel constitutes an intelligence failure. They also claimed that the Israeli side had been repeating mistakes that the Russian military committed at the beginning of its offensive against Ukraine but then corrected. Some of these Z channels’ editors could not help engaging in schadenfreude, recalling criticism of the Russian military’s conduct in Ukraine by some Israeli analysts.

Below is our compilation of the reactions of the following categories of Russians toward Hamas’ attacks and Israel’s response to them. 

  1. Officials
  2. Analysts, commentators and media outlets that publicly criticize Putin’s authoritarian rule in Russia and favor democracy
  3. Analysts, commentators and media outlets that either support Putin’s rule or refrain from criticizing him
  4. Blogs and bloggers who support Russia’s war in Ukraine
  5. The public

The entries in each category are listed in alphabetical order.

I. Officials

Mikhail Bogdanov, special representative of the President of the Russian Federation for the Middle East and Africa:

  • “This is a recurrence of a conflict that has lasted for 75 years. .... We call for an immediate ceasefire and peace.” (TASS, 10.07.23)
  • “We call for the immediate start of the peace process based on existing internationally recognized agreements. UN Security Council resolutions have not been implemented, the work of the Middle East Quartet has been torpedoed, negotiations have not taken place, and this is the result.” (TASS, 10.07.23)

Ramzan Kadyrov, head of the Chechen Republic:

  • “I appeal to the international community to unanimously make a fair decision on the situation in Palestine at least once. I appeal to the leaders of Muslim countries - create a coalition and call on those whom you call friends, Europe and the entire West, so that they do not bomb civilians under the pretext of destroying militants.” (“Kadyrov_95”/Telegram, 10.09.23)
  • “We support Palestine. And we are against this war, which, unlike other conflicts, can escalate into something more.” (“Kadyrov_95”/Telegram, 10.09.23)
  • “If necessary, our units are ready to act as a peacekeeping force to restore order and counter any troublemakers.” (“Kadyrov_95”/Telegram, 10.09.23)

Alexander Khodakovsky, Deputy Head of the Main Directorate of the Russian National Guard in the Russian-held parts of the Donetsk region: 

  • “So, a new point of attraction has been formed. Having mistaken forecasts more than once, let us not rush to make statements about what further events will be and what scale they will achieve.” 
    • “Obviously, if they become large-scale and protracted, it will inevitably affect our main cause - the current war. So far, we see that the bulk of the attacking Israel is a crowd of hungry people with machine guns in their hands, without bulletproof vests and equipment, rushing and chattering in their own language.” (“Alexander Khodakovsky”/Telegram, 10.08.23)
    • “At the same time, there are signs of the presence of quite effective weapons - in particular, drones equipped with suspended bombs.” ( 10.08.23)
  • “The few shots that show the nature of the actions of the Israeli security forces tell us that they will be able to cope with a crowd of untrained enthusiasts, but if they suddenly must face a more organized enemy, the Israelis are in for a big surprise: their army is incapable.” 
    • “Having relied on technology, they move unconfidently on the ground. We would have run out of tanks on the city streets in the first quarter - they would have been simply destroyed. But the Israelis drive blithely through the city’s suburbs without fear of militants with rocket-propelled grenades. Maybe they are convinced of the inability of the surging horde to act effectively, but even an old woman can be ruined [even the wisest can make mistakes].” (“Alexander Khodakovsky”/Telegram, 10.08.23)

Sergei Lavrov, Foreign Minister:

  • “[Moscow is] deeply concerned that hundreds of Israelis and Palestinians have died…and that the Gaza Sector has been declared a target for Israeli retaliation.” (, 10.09.23)
  •  “We demand the creation of political prospects and a fair resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.” (MT/AFP, 10.09.23)
  •  “Creating a Palestinian state would have been the “most reliable” solution for peace in Israel and fighting terrorism alone would not ensure security.” (MT/AFP, 10.09.23)
    • “We cannot agree with those who say that security can only be ensured through a fight with terrorism.” (MT/AFP, 10.09.23)
  •  “We call on everyone to firmly advocate cessation of any hostilities.” (, 10.09.23)
  • “Necessary efforts have not been made to eliminate the main reason undermining stability in the Middle East. I am referring to the settlement of the Palestinian problem on the basis of the two-state formula in accordance with the decisions of the UN Security Council, the agreements of the parties in Oslo and Madrid, and the Arab Peace Initiative. All these agreements and decisions provide for the creation of a Palestinian state that will live side by side with Israel in peace, security and cooperation.” (, 10.09.23)
  • “I cannot help but mention the destructive policy of the United States, which is frustrating collective efforts within the quartet of international mediators.” (, 10.09.23)

Dmitry Medvedev, ex-president, now deputy chairman of Putin’s Security Council:

  • “Clashes between Hamas and Israel on the 50th anniversary of the start of the Yom Kippur War could have been expected. That’s what Washington and its allies should have been focused on.” (MT/AFP, 10.09.23)
  • “Instead of actively working to resolve the Palestine-Israeli [conflict], these idiots have picked a fight with us.” (MT/AFP, 10.09.23)
  • “What can stop America’s maniacal passion to stoke conflict across the entire planet? Probably only a civil war on the territory of the United States.” (MT/AFP, 10.09.23)

Sergey Mironov, leader of A Just Russia party:

  • “Even if it is sacred, war is always a horror and a tragedy. And I can say only one thing to my compatriots: love Russia, take care of Russia and live in Russia.” (“Sergey Mironov”/Telegram, 10.09.23)

Dmitry Peskov, deputy head of the presidential administration and Kremlin spokesman:

  • “The continuation of such a round of violence is, of course, fraught with further escalation and expansion of the conflict. This is a great danger for the region, so we are extremely concerned.” (MT/AFP, 10.09.23)
  •  “The continuation of this round of violence, of course, is fraught with further escalation and an expansion of this conflict.” (NYT, 10.09.23)
  • “First, everything there [in Israel and Gaza] should get out of the active combat phase of war. While this active phase is ongoing, it is difficult to talk about anything for now.” “The risk of third forces becoming involved in this conflict is high.” (MT/AFP, 10.09.23)
  • Told reporters that Russia maintained contact with Israeli and Palestinian officials and intends to “continue helping them in finding a settlement solution.” (FT, 10.09.23)
  •  “We need to put the situation back on the peace track as quickly as possible—if this violence goes on like this, the conflict could spiral further. This is a great danger for the region,” Putin has not spoken to Israeli or Palestinian leaders but could do so “if necessary.” (FT, 10.09.23)

Vladimir Putin, President:

  • “Unfortunately, we are seeing a sharp deterioration of the situation in the Middle East.” (, 10.10.23)
  • “I think that many will agree with me that this is a clear example of the failure of the policy of the United States in the Middle East, which tried to monopolize the resolution [of the conflict] but, unfortunately, was not concerned with finding compromises acceptable to both sides.” (, 10.10.23)
  • “Rather [the U.S. has been] putting forward their own their own ideas about how this should be done, putting pressure on both sides.... but each time it did so without considering the fundamental interests of the Palestinian people... [failing to factor in] ...the need to implement the decision of the UN Security Council on the creation of an independent, sovereign Palestinian state.” (, 10.10.23)
  • In a call with Turkey’s President Erdogan, deplored the “catastrophic rise in the deaths among civilians” and said that the conflict could only be solved through the “two-state” plan.” (Reuters, 10.11.23)
  • “What is happening is terrible. We understand that there is a lot of violence on both sides, but no matter what level of violence there is on both sides, we must strive to minimize or reduce to zero casualties among the civilian population, among women, children and the elderly.” (TASS, 10.11.23)
    • “If men have decided to fight among themselves, then let them fight among themselves. Leave the children and women alone. This applies to both sides.” (TASS, 10.11.23)
  • “I hear Iran is being accused of all grave [sins], as usual, without evidence. There is no evidence. See. I hope that common sense will prevail.” (TASS, 10.11.23)
  • “I don't understand why the United States is dragging aircraft carrier groups into the Mediterranean... Are they going to bomb Lebanon, or what? ... Or just decided to scare someone? But there are people there who are no longer afraid of anything.” (TASS, 10.11.23)
    • The United States “tried to replace the solution of fundamental political problems with some material handouts.” (TASS, 10.11.23)
    •  “It is necessary to avoid the expansion of the conflict because this will impact the international situation as a whole and not only on the region.” (TASS, 10.11.23)
    • “Now, we need to deal not with the military side of the matter but with diplomacy. We must find a way to end the fighting… [and the] negotiation process must be acceptable to all parties, including the Palestinians.” (TASS, 10.11.23)
  • “We are hearing about plans to prepare for a ground operation in Gaza. Well, we understand that…the use of heavy equipment in residential areas is a complex matter fraught with serious consequences for all parties.” (TASS, 10.13.23)
  • “Israel…has been subjected to an attack of unprecedented brutality and, of course, has the right to defend itself, has the right to ensure its peaceful existence.” (TASS, 10.13.23)
  • “[Israel] has the right to protect itself [after being] subjected to an attack that was unprecedented in its cruelty.” (NYT, 10.13.23)
  • Criticized a possible Israeli ground operation in Gaza using heavy military equipment as “semi-professional,” saying: “Without that equipment in the same residential areas, it will be even more difficult to carry out such operations. … Civilian casualties would be completely unacceptable.” (NYT, 10.13.23)
  • “What matters now is to stop the bloodshed. … Russia is ready to coordinate with all constructive partners … we need to find a way out of the situation. In my opinion, it, of course, can also be achieved as a result of some kind of mediation efforts.” (MT/, 10.13.23)
  • When asked to comment on a Tweet by U.S. Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene in which she asked whether any U.S. weapons used by Hamas against Israel came from Ukraine, Putin said he has no doubt that weapons are “leaking from Ukraine,” but said he doubts that “this is being done at the level of the leadership of Ukraine.” (RM, 10.13.23)

Leonid Slutsky, leader of the right-wing populist Liberal Democratic Party of Russia party and chairman of the Russian parliament’s international affairs committee:

  • Accused the West and the UN of “blocking” progress on resolving the decades-long Palestinian-Israeli crisis through peaceful means, drawing parallels with Russia’s war against Ukraine.” (MT/AFP, 10.09.23)
  • “Moscow again—as it was before the start of the special military operation—warned that it is better to solve problems, no matter how complex they may be, through negotiations and compromises, and not with weapons.” (MT/AFP, 10.09.23) 
  • “It is necessary to stop the violence as soon as possible and return the parties to the negotiating table.” (MT/AFP, 10.09.23)

Anatoly Viktorov, Russian ambassador to Israel:

  • “From the very beginning of the escalation, we have been in contact with all parties—with the Palestinians, Israelis, regional neighbors.” (MT/AFP, 10.09.23)
  • “It seems that there is no specific reason for such a sharp escalation…we need to look at the fact that the political process [toward a peace settlement] was actually blocked—it was blocked by the efforts of the United States and the European Union.” (MT/AFP, 10.09.23)
    • The West was attempting to impose a “new security architecture without due consideration of Palestinians’ just desire to create their own independent state.” (MT/AFP, 10.09.23)
  • Promised to take “radical measures” to evacuate Russian citizens from the country should it become necessary.” (MT/AFP, 10.09.23)
  • “The number of losses on both sides is large, very large. We do not exclude [the possibility] that there may be Russian citizens among the victims. As soon as we have this information, we will provide all possible assistance to the relatives and all the victims.” (MT/AFP, 10.09.23)

Maria Zakharova, spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs:

  • “Russia is gravely concerned over a sharp escalation of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. In this regard we would like to reaffirm our principled and consistent stance that this conflict, which has continued for 75 years, cannot be resolved by force and can be settled exclusively by political and diplomatic means.” (MT/AFP, 10.09.23)
  • “We regard the…escalation as another extremely dangerous manifestation of a vicious circle of violence resulting from a chronic failure to comply with the corresponding resolutions of the UN and its Security Council and the blocking by the West of the work of the Middle East Quartet of international mediators made up of Russia, the United States, the EU and the UN.” (MT/AFP, 10.09.23)

Gennady Zyuganov, leader of the Communist Party which is represented in the State Duma:

  • “Today, a fire is breaking out in the Middle East. We fully support the position outlined by Lavrov. The Russian Foreign Minister proposed to sit down at the negotiating table, stop the violence and implement the decisions already adopted by the UN and the Security Council.” (“Gennady Zyuganov”/Telegram, 10.10.23)


II. Analysts, commentators and media outlets that publicly criticize Putin’s authoritarian rule in Russia and favor democracy

Alexander Gabuev, director of the Carnegie Russia Eurasia Center:

  • “No one in the Kremlin is rushing to show sympathy to the victims [of the escalation] (NYT, 10.10.23)
  • “This also shows you the emotional attitude—'grievance’ is the right word.” The Kremlin “passively is a beneficiary for now, at least, [of the fighting].” “If only because senior officials in Washington may have less time to focus on how best to support Ukraine.” (NYT, 10.10.23)

Abbas Gallyamov, independent Russian expert and former member of Putin’s speech-writing team:

  • “Palestinian friends carefully prepared a second front for the Russians.” (“Abbas Gallyamov”/Telegram, 10.12.23)
  • “This case, however, is not just about Netanyahu. The failure of his attempts to appease Hamas is a reminder to all the doves of world politics that there are people and organizations with whom it is impossible to hope for an agreement.”
    • All this will hit the positions of those European and American "Putin verstehers" who call for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine and argue that Kiev must come to a compromise with Moscow. With whom is there a compromise? With people who massively rejoice at the success of savages who cut off children's heads? (“Abbas Gallyamov”/Telegram, 10.11.23)
  • “There is another…explanation for the growing anti-Israel sentiment in the Russian leadership: a weakening Russia is becoming dependent on Iran and losing the ability to pursue an independent policy in the Middle East. If earlier Putin built his own game, balancing between the Islamic Republic and the Jewish state, now he can no longer afford this. He has to choose, but since he cannot get anywhere now without the ayatollahs, he essentially has no choice. From an independent player in the region, Russia is turning into another Iranian proxy.” (“Abbas Gallyamov”/Telegram, 10.11.23)

Andrey Illarionov, Russian economist, former policy advisor to Vladimir Putin:

  • “Putin de facto fully supported the terrorists. With his statement, Putin fully expressed solidarity with the terrorist organization (“Utro Fevralya”/Youtube, 10.11.23)
  • “He believes that [a war] in the Middle East will divert U.S. European and the whole world’s attention away from the…war he prosecutes in Ukraine to the Middle East and Israel [and] reduce the opportunities [and] resources that Ukraine's partners…provided.” (“Utro Fevralya”/Youtube, 10.11.23)
  • “It is known that at least some of the weapons originating in Russia [were transported] from Wagner through Libya to Hamas, and there are reports that Wagner trained Hamas militants. We know the leader of Hamas met Lavrov in Moscow and that Putin met with Hamas leaders earlier.” (“Utro Fevralya”/Youtube, 10.11.23)

Dmitry Kolezev, editor of the Republic independent media outlet:

  • “The foreign policy context is also important: the “mega deal” between Israel, the United States, and Saudi Arabia, which the Arabs compared in scale to the end of the Cold War. Now, it is either postponed indefinitely or completely canceled.” 
    • “What is important is to realize that Hamas is not all of Palestine and not even all of the Gaza Strip. And that the Israeli government is now apparently trying to compensate for its enormous failure with furious bombing. And the ground operation is unlikely to be easy for the Israeli army, which will have to fight in close quarters in a city riddled with underground passages.” (“Kozelev”/Telegram, 10.11.23)

Mediazona, independent media outlet:

  • “At the official level, Russia is in no hurry to take sides, while propagandists and supporters of the war practice gloating and anti-Semitism. Surely, the official position of the Kremlin will be banal - the escalation must be stopped, and so on. The Kremlin benefits from what is happening: the more conflicts there are in the world, the less everyone pays attention to the war in Ukraine. Everyone remembers the visits of Hamas leaders to Moscow - yet not every country openly accepts terrorists at the highest level. But there is a more important fact - active military cooperation between Russia and Iran, which openly supports Hamas and supplies it with weapons.” (“Mediazona”/Telegram, 10.10.23)

Ilya Ponomarev, Executive Council member of the Congress of People's Deputies, an anti-war coalition of former Russian lawmakers:

  • “He [Putin] is probably making a rather cold pragmatic calculation. [Western] Governments support Israel, but the population does not. It is very divided on this topic. For the Kremlin, there is a huge scope for internal political manipulation.” (“Utro Fevralya”/Youtube, 10.11.23)

Tatyana Stanovaya founder of R.Politik:

  • “On October 7, the Palestinian militant organization Hamas initiated an unprecedented multi-front attack on Israel. The operation, which completely took Israeli forces by surprise, was marked by its scale and audacity.” (R.Politik, 10.08.23)
  • “Fyodor Lukyanov, an expert on foreign affairs with close ties to the Russian establishment, has said (Rus) that what happens next depends on Iran, Hamas’s main backer. He warned that Hamas’s surprise attack may instigate a direct confrontation between Iran and Israel. Any such conflict would decisively and permanently alter the geopolitical landscape of Western Asia.” (R.Politik, 10.08.23)
  • “Russia’s stance on the conflict is complex.” (R.Politik, 10.08.23)
    • “On the one hand, Moscow might draw on its history of intra-Palestinian mediation and its ties with Hamas to gain a foothold in any peace process. It also sees the importance of its growing relationships with Iran and Arab states.”
    • “On the other hand, despite recent tensions, Russia’s relationship with Israel remains strong and pragmatic, hallmarked by open lines of communication, a degree of practical coordination in Syria and shared views on the historical significance of the Second World War.” (R.Politik, 10.08.23)
  • “While some believe this war might push Russia closer to Iran, Moscow is more likely to keep its position as a mediator, aiming to counter Western influence and interact as a constructive peace broker.” (R.Politik, 10.08.23)
  • “In the information sphere, though, the narratives that are promoted are much less impartial. The authorities and the media frequently attribute the situation to the failure of the West, notably the consistent disregard for UN resolutions and the decisions of the Security Council. Media outlets close to the Kremlin have also primarily focused on the Western fault of the massacre.” (R.Politik, 10.08.23)
  • “Speculation is rising among some in Moscow that the unrest may dampen the Democratic Party’s prospects in the 2024 U.S. presidential elections, helping their favored Republican candidates (CNN explains why Israel-Gaza conflict is so complicated for Biden); the turmoil could hamper any Israeli plans to help Ukraine; and finally, the crisis may divert the West’s attention away from Ukraine. However, as mentioned earlier, for pragmatic reasons apart from anything else, Moscow does not want a large-scale escalation.” (R.Politik, 10.08.23)

Vyorstka, independent media outlet:

  • “The topic of an attack on Israel has completely crowded out the war in Ukraine from the information field. Russians were up to 16 times more interested in the attack by the Islamist group Hamas on Israel last weekend than they were in the war in Ukraine. This is evidenced by the statistics of search queries from Google Trends, Vyorstka noted.” (“Vyorstka”/Telegram, 10.09.23)


III. Analysts, commentators and media outlets that either support Putin’s rule or refrain from criticizing him

Sergei Karaganov, member of the Scientific Council of Vladimir Putin’s Security Council:

  • “New great powers, new “imperialist” countries will emerge. We need to install the fuses now so that these inevitable frictions that are already arising - for example, friction between China and India over some tiny piece of uninhabited mountains - do not lead to irreparable consequences. And there will be many more such conflicts. They are inevitable - simply because this is how the world changes. A new Israeli-Palestinian conflict is flaring up before our eyes. This conflict is also from this predictable series.” (,10.09.23)

Fyodor Lukyanov, Chairman of Presidium of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy:

  • “A frontal attack by Hamas on Israel was not expected as it was believed to have been suicidal... But in an “extremely diversified world,” “independent capabilities” do not equal the amount of material assets.” (Kommersant, 10.10.23)
  • “The breakdown of [the global] hierarchy is a product of accumulated imbalances in the world system. It opens the way for the most daring, decisive and tough (or cruel). On the contrary, it takes those who are accustomed to established rules and a priori balance of power by surprise.” (Kommersant, 10.10.23)
  • “The breakdown of the hierarchy is not a landslide-like this time, but rather a creeping one. And the weaker provoke the stronger to actions that further push [the stronger ones] towards decline. In this sense, the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, are a perfect example. It was not the attack itself that shook the U.S. positions in the world, but rather the long-term consequences of Washington’s erroneous reaction to it.” (Kommersant, 10.10.23)
  • “Israel’s permanent representative to the UN announced that what was happening was “Israeli September 11.” The analogy is dangerous if you think about how that event [9/11] ultimately turned out for the United States.” (Kommersant, 10.10.23)

Alexei Zhivov, ​​political scientist: 

  • “[He] predicted that the Middle East conflict would affect aid supplies to Ukraine. “ All the help that they wanted to give to Ukraine will go to Israel. These are planes, shells, and money, which is very good for us ,” he said. “And after a while, the Ukrainian army will begin to starve, and Ukrainian officials will begin to feel the lack of salaries.” (Vyorstka, 10.11.23)

Yevgeny Kiselyov, presenter for pro-Kremlin state television channel NTV:

  • Israel’s defenses flew away “Like golden leaves in a gust of autumn wind.” (DW, 10.10.23)

Sergei Mardan, presenter for Komsomolskaya Pravda radio:

  • “For Russia, there is a certain benefit in this mess,” since “the world’s toad will take its mind off Ukraine for a while and get busy putting out the eternal fire in the Middle East.” (Vyorstka, 10.11.23)           

Margarita Simonyan, chief editor of pro-Kremlin international news outlet RT:

  • “The country that is not at war with its neighbors is again at war with its neighbors. We await the exodus of Russian pacifists. Then again, we won’t hold our breath.” (MT/AFP, 10.09.23)

Olga Skabeyeva, television presenter for state channel Rossiya-1:

  • “The image of the invincible Israeli fortress has just collapsed.” (NYT, 10.10.23)

Vladimir Solovyov, television presenter for state channel Rossiya-1:

  • “[Hamas’ attack was] perfectly timed, perfectly prepared…[and] exposes the failure of everyone who should have known and understood something about Israel’s security and defense capabilities. They failed terribly.” (MT/AFP, 10.09.23)
  • “Who do we sympathize with? We sympathize with peace. This conflict was smoldering, it was inevitable. It was obvious that sooner or later, the situation would escalate to the point where it would flare up.” (MT/AFP, 10.09.23)

Dmitry Steshin, journalist with Komsomolskaya Pravda:

  • “[He] wrote that Israel does not evoke “not a drop of pity or sympathy” for him. He suggested that “our people who were a quarter of the time should be left in the past, by the relocants of the first wave, by the fighters with OVIR.” Today's Israel has a “strange alliance with ISIS and Syria, naturally tormented by a total civil war,” he is sure.” (Vyorstka, 10.11.23)


IV. Blogs and bloggers who support Russia’s war in Ukraine.

BMPD Z telegram channel affiliated with Russia’s Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies: 

  • “This is how the Israeli army envisions modern warfare - the 155 mm/39 M109A5 self-propelled howitzers deployed today to shell Lebanese territory in response to possible Hezbollah attacks. Wheel to wheel, without any camouflage, surrounded by stacks of ammunition - up to the first quadcopter or FPV drone.” (“bmpd”/Telegram, 10.08.23)
  • “The unprecedented attack by Hamas from the Gaza Strip on Israel…demonstrated the systemic crisis of the Israeli military organization, which rested on the experience and achievements of a long period of successful wars against the Arabs.” (“bmpd”/LiveJournal, 10.08.23)
    • “The reservist system of…the IDF [Israel Defense Force] is obviously problematic in modern conditions, with the disbandment of most of the military personnel for weekends. As a result, it appears that the IDF simply does not have enough units of constant readiness, nor even a sufficient number of people at the points of permanent deployment...” (“bmpd”/LiveJournal, 10.08.23)
    • “The main problem for Israel…is the change in the character and level of its opponents…Arab societies are rapidly changing, urbanizing, [getting] educated and entering the “information society.” (“bmpd”/LiveJournal, 10.08.23)
  • “Will Israel be able to find a solution? Given the current trends in the development of Israeli politics, it is not at all a fact. Most importantly, Israel does not have any long-term vision for a solution to the problem of the Gaza Strip and the occupied Palestinian territories in principle.” (“bmpd”/LiveJournal, 10.08.23)

Dva Mayora, Z telegram channel:

  • "The conflict is already diverting the attention of the West. Grandpa Bidon [Biden] is smacking tired lips in the night about supporting Israel, the U.S. arms industry is already preparing to open its purse wider to profit from a new bloodbath. This means that…you can make money and advertise your military-industrial complex products without the risk of being shot down with an S-400… (“Dva Mayora”/Telegram, 10.08.23)
  • “The West has a unique opportunity, making a very tragic face, to forget about Ukraine… “Look how many Jewish children Hamas has killed!” As for Ukraine, all doors are open, immeasurable support (now spiritual, less material) and good mood.” (“Dva Mayora”/Telegram, 10.08.23)

Voyenkor Kotyonok’s Z Telegram channel edited by Yuri Kotyonok:

  • “For Israel, it’s a Pearl Harbor...“The behavior of the IDF during the sweeps shows an inability to act in urban areas. I’m surprised by what I see....I don’t understand Israel’s readiness. They work in urban environments all the time. And yet here they are acting confused, in a crowd....I am astounded .” (“Voyenkor Kotyonok”/Telegram, 10.07.23)
  • “The planning of the operation should be given its due.”
    • “Overloaded Israel’s air defenses with thousands of rockets.” 
    • “Crushed the capabilities of Israeli communications with electronic warfare.!” 
    • “Broke into the bases. A naval base, two bases of infantry divisions and the base of the 143rd Division (the so-called “Gaza Division”), which provided military support for all mopping-up operations, raids and seizures in the Gaza Strip, were captured (according to Israel). For 12 hours, the base was in the hands of the Palestinians. A large amount of information was seized: codes, ciphers, entry points of sabotage and reconnaissance groups, their evacuation, support protocols - fire, physical…communications.”
    • “At the same time, a landing on the water is organized.” 
    • “Arab riots broke out in Jerusalem itself.” (“Voyenkor Kotyonok”/Telegram, 10.07.23)
  • “The Israeli army is fighting irregulars, i.e., militants, using the whole spectrum of carpet bombing to grenades in the windows of residential areas. What will the liberal public say? Will they care? [of course not] You’re all [criticizing] the Russian Army, which drove another European mobilized army out of the cities, and here you’re fighting against the irregulars and using the whole bouquet! Is it humanity? A total lie.” (“Voyenkor Kotyonok”/Telegram, 10.07.23)

Wargonzo, Z Telegram channel edited by Semyon Pegov:

  • “In the footage, Israeli special forces are working to clear the village of militants. I’ve never seen more incompetent work. If the level of training of the rest of the Israeli army is comparable to what we see in the video, Israel is in for a difficult task. The times of the Six-Day War are too long gone - you will have to learn how to fight again. And yes, it’s better to weld grates on tanks.” (“Wargonzo”/Telegram, 10.07.23)


V. The public

  • “The number of searches for “Israel” from Russia began to rise around 9 a.m. on October 7. It peaked at 100 points (the highest level of popularity) by midnight. At the same time, the query for ‘Ukraine’ reached only 6 points, and the request for ‘Hamas’ reached 42 points.” “By 11 a.m.” (Moscow time) on October 9, the search for ‘Israel’ fell to 44 points, ‘Hamas’ to 18 points. At the same time, the number of queries for ‘Ukraine’ also decreased to 4 points.” (Vyorstka, 10.09.23)
  • Makeshift memorials have emerged near synagogues and Israeli diplomatic missions across Russia in the aftermath of Hamas’ surprise offensive.” (MT/AFP, 10.13.23)


This item is part of Russia Matters’ “Clues from Russian Views” series, in which we share what newsmakers in/from Russia are saying on Russia-related issues that impact key U.S. national interests so that RM readers can glean clues about their thinking. The opinions expressed in the compiled quotes are solely those of the speaker.

Photo of remains of Sderot police station after IDF recapture, shared by Yoav Karen via Wikimedia Commons under a CC BY-SA 4.0 license. Photo of damage in Gaza Strip (left) shared by Al Araby via Wikimedia Commons under a CC BY-SA 3.0 DEED.


Conor Cunningham, Olga Kiyan, Mikael Pir-Budagyan