The Russian Presidency's office has responded to billionaire Elon Musk's "Russia-Ukraine Peace" Twitter poll which he put out Monday, and resulted in swift backlash among pundits who accused the Tesla and SpaceX founder of mimicking "pro-Russian" talking points. Musk pushed back against the avalanche of detractors, explaining that he's interested in exploring ways to arrive at a peaceful settlement, and not continued escalation toward nuclear war.
Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Tuesday told reporters, "We consider it very positive that a man like Musk is looking for a peaceful way out of the situation around Ukraine," according to Interfax.
Musk had floated the idea of "redoing" last week's referendums on the four Ukrainian territories in the east joining the Russian Federation under UN supervision. He also controversially said that as basis of a peace deal Ukraine would have to permanently cede Crimea.
It was particularly the Crimea aspect which sparked an immediate backlash and pile-on of pundits, journalists, and even diplomats - on up to Ukrainian President Zelensky himself - who suggested this means Musk "supports Russia".
According to more of Peskov's words via Interfax (machine translation):
At the same time, he recalled that from the very beginning, Russia advocated that the conditions put forward by Moscow be fulfilled through negotiations. Unlike many professional diplomats, Peskov noted, Musk is still trying to find ways to achieve peace.
"Achieving peace without fulfilling Russia's conditions is absolutely impossible. Many ideas there deserve attention," he said
But Peskov underscored there can be no "redo" of the referendums, given Moscow has already moved to bestow legal recognition of the four regions' integration into Russia.
Vast majority of the woke mob attacking him haven’t contributed anything to the Ukrainian war effort except a blue & yellow emoji.— David Sacks (@DavidSacks) October 3, 2022
"And there can be nothing else here. Today the president will sign decrees, and this will become the territory of the Russian Federation. But I repeat once again, the fact itself is very positive, when such people think, try to think logically, what could be done, to switch to a peaceful course," Peskov said.
To review, Musk's poll had laid out four proposals:
- Redo elections of annexed regions under UN supervision. Russia leaves if that is will of the people.
- Crimea formally part of Russia, as it has been since 1783 (until Khrushchev’s mistake).
- Water supply to Crimea assured.
- Ukraine remains neutral.
After more than 2.7 million votes, of which Musk said many were bots attempting to skew the results, it's clear that public opinion remains fiercely divided on the war, given sizeable groups on either side.
Meanwhile Chinese state media pundit Hu Xijin pointed out the following...
Elon Musk has released his personality too much, and he believes too much in the US and West’s “freedom of speech.” He will be taught a lesson. pic.twitter.com/nv4VU7rFIv— Hu Xijin 胡锡进 (@HuXijin_GT) October 4, 2022
The final results were 40.9% "yes" on the Ukraine-Russia peace poll, and 59.1% rejecting it. And yet, tragically in terms of the current battlefield, a potential future peace deal or even ceasefire seems nowhere on the horizon at this moment.