Russia August 2022-

Written by  //  November 27, 2022  //  Russia  //  No comments

Russia

26-27 November
Russian official staggeringly admits ‘we have no socks, shorts, doctors, or intelligence’
(Daily Express) One of the Kremlin’s most prominent nationalist politicians said the Russian military does not have an adequate number of doctors or other adequate supplies in an extraordinary tirade against the state of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. During a meeting on Saturday with the mothers of soldiers mobilised for the war, Leonid Slutsky, leader of the populist Liberal Democratic Party and chairman of the foreign relations committee in the lower house of parliament, has been a staunch supporter of the invasion – but offered a surprising public admission of issues facing the Russian military.
He said at the meeting: “There are not enough doctors in the military units; everyone says this. I cannot say they do not exist at all, but they are practically not seen there.
“We must understand that the whole world is watching us. We are the largest state and when we do not have socks, shorts, doctors, intelligence, communications, or simply care for our children, questions arise that will be very difficult to answer.”
Western sanctions catch up with Russia’s wartime economy
By Catherine Belton and Robyn Dixon
(WaPo) For months, Putin claimed that the “economic blitzkrieg” against Russia had failed, but Western sanctions imposed over the invasion of Ukraine are digging ever deeper into Russia’s economy, exacerbating equipment shortages for its army and hampering its ability to launch any new ground offensive or build new missiles, economists and Russian business executives said. 
“All objective indicators show there is a very strong drop in economic activity,” said Vladimir Milov, a former Russian deputy energy minister who is now a leading opposition politician in exile. “The spiral is escalating, and there is no way out of this now.”
The Western ban on technology imports is affecting most sectors of the economy, while the Kremlin’s forced mobilization of more than 300,000 Russian conscripts to serve in Ukraine, combined with the departure of at least as many abroad fleeing the draft, has dealt a further blow, economists said. In addition, Putin’s own restrictions on gas supplies to Europe, followed by the unexplained explosion of the Nord Stream gas pipeline, has led to a sharp drop in gas production — down 20 percent in October compared with the previous year. Meanwhile, oil sales to Europe are plummeting ahead of the European Union embargo expected to be imposed Dec. 5.

18 November
Russia risks becoming ungovernable and descending into chaos
By Arkady Ostrovsky, Russia editor, The Economist
There is growing opposition to President Putin at home
After months of Ukraine’s fierce resistance, its statehood and its identity are stronger than ever, and all the things that Mr Putin had intended to inflict on Ukraine are afflicting his own country.
Mr Putin’s war is turning Russia into a failed state, with uncontrolled borders, private military formations, a fleeing population, moral decay and the possibility of civil conflict. And though confidence among Western leaders in Ukraine’s ability to withstand Mr Putin’s terror has gone up, there is growing concern about Russia’s own ability to survive the war. It could become ungovernable and descend into chaos. (paywall)

14-15 November
Russia’s Road to Economic Ruin
The Long-Term Costs of the Ukraine War Will Be Staggering
By Konstantin Sonin
(Foreign Affairs) … No matter the outcome, however, Russia will emerge from the war with its government exercising authority over the private sector to an extent that is unprecedented anywhere in the world aside from Cuba and North Korea. The Russian government will be omnipresent yet simultaneously not strong enough to protect businesses from mafia groups consisting of demobilized soldiers armed with weapons they acquired during the war. Particularly at first, they will target the most profitable enterprises, both at the national and local level.
For the Russian economy to grow, it will need not only major institutional reforms but also the kind of clean slate that Russia was left with in 1991.
The collapse of the Soviet state made institutions of that era irrelevant. A long and painful process of building new institutions, increasing state capacity, and reducing corruption followed—until Putin came to power and eventually dismantled market institutions and built his own system of patronage. The lesson is grim: even if Putin loses power and a successor ushers in significant reforms, it will take at least a decade for Russia to return to the levels of private-sector production and quality of life the country experienced just a year ago.
The Russian Empire Must Die
A better future requires Putin’s defeat—and the end to imperial aspirations.
By Anne Applebaum
(The Atlantic) Ideas move across time and space, sometimes in unexpected ways. The notion that a country should be different—differently ruled, differently organized—can come from old books, from foreign travel, or just from its citizens’ imaginations. At the height of the Russian empire, in the 19th century, under the rule of some of the most ponderous autocrats of their time, a plethora of reform movements flowered: social democrats, peasant reformers, advocates of constitutions and parliaments. Even some of the people born into the Russian imperial elite came to think differently from others in their social class.
…even the decades of fear and poverty that followed the Russian Revolution did not eliminate the belief that another kind of state was possible. New generations of thinkers kept emerging out of the Soviet gloom. Some of them would help start the modern human-rights movement. Others, like the founders and students of the Moscow School of Civic Education, would try to create an alternative Russia in the years following the Soviet Union’s collapse.
… Outside the country, hundreds of thousands of ordinary Russians are beginning to understand how closely the empire and the autocracy are linked. Some of the new exiles have given up on politics altogether, and many are just dodging the draft. But a large cohort oppose the war from abroad, through Russian-language websites that report on the war and try to get information to Russians in Russia. TV Rain, shut down by the government in March, is up and running again, online, based in Riga. Navalny’s team, the remnants of his large national organization, is making videos that have millions of viewers on YouTube, which can still be accessed in Russia.
… In at least one respect, all of these 21st-century exiles are unlike their 20th-century predecessors: They remain abroad, or in jail, because of a terrible war of imperial conquest. Many therefore oppose not just the regime, but the empire; for the first time, some argue that it is not just the regime that should change, but the definition of the nation. Kasparov is one of many who argue that only military defeat can bring political change. He now believes that democracy will be possible only “when Crimea is liberated and the Ukrainian flag is flying over Sevastopol.”

18 October
Head of Russia’s mobilization against Ukraine latest to die under ‘suspicious’ circumstances
Lt. Col. Roman Malyk was found dead on October 14 near a fence at his home in the Primorsky region of Russia
Suspicious deaths of high-profile Russians have been a reoccurring matter since the beginning of president Vladimir Putin’s brutal invasion of Ukraine in February. From falling out of windows to being stabbed by a jealous wife, the official causes of the deaths of more than 11 executives remain a mystery.
Just days before, on Oct. 12, top gas industry executive-turned Putin loyalist Nikolay Petrunin allegedly died from COVID-19 complications after being in a coma for a month, the Daily Mail wrote, although the reports cannot be confirmed.

12 October
Moral Career: Why Are Russia’s Technocrats Silent on the War?
Alexandra Prokopenko
In the system of Russian state administration, excessive reflection and compunction are, if anything, a distraction from focusing on the result, and therefore a disadvantage. Efficiency and loyalty are the two main criteria for success.
(Carnegie Endowment) Ever since their country invaded Ukraine, there has been a deafening silence from the group of Western-educated technocrats who are in charge of running Russia’s economy. Former finance minister Alexei Kudrin, Sberbank CEO German Gref, central bank head Elvira Nabiullina, and all the other apolitical technocrats refrain from public criticism, remaining a convenient asset for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
They are successfully steering the Russian economy through the current turmoil, all while studiously avoiding anything political. As a result of their efforts, the Russian financial system remains relatively stable despite mounting sanctions, while the country’s GDP is declining gradually instead of an initially expected collapse. It seems they can tackle the self-made crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine even while ignoring its cause.

28 September
Do Russia’s conscripts deserve our sympathy?
Ukrainians and anti-war Russians have a common enemy
Robin Ashenden
(The Spectator) As one looks at the photos and films of drunk bewildered ‘conscripts’ bussed off to the front, or the shots of their howling women, it’s clear that war – a war many of them didn’t seek – has come home to the Russians now, and few could quibble with that. One’s feeling may be of justice satisfied, but the compassion previously extended to the Ukrainians should surely be spread more widely now. For if anything has become blindingly obvious in the last few days it’s that, whatever the situation on the battlefield, the entire region’s fighting men, young and old, skilled and unskilled, Ukrainian and Russian – yes, them and their wives, mothers, sisters, daughters – now share one common enemy. How long it will take them to realise this fact is something that concerns all of us.
What Mobilization Means for Russia
The End of Putin’s Bargain With the People
By Michael Kimmage and Maria Lipman
(Foreign Affairs) Russia has had many setbacks in Ukraine, but it is not a defeated country. It has the wealth and the population and the industrial capacity to keep the war going—but only if it mobilizes. It bears emphasis that calling for mobilization is much simpler than carrying it out, something Russia has not done for decades. Even if the military can master the logistics—and the experience of the first days suggests that the likelihood of this is slim—mobilization will be only as good as the strategy behind it. Mobilization for the sake of a losing strategy will create more problems for Putin than it will solve. It could even undermine Putin’s ability to govern.
At the very least, mobilization will bring politics back to Russia. It will eat away at the public indifference that has long been crucial to Putinism. … Political pressure will come to the Kremlin not just from opponents of the war but also from those dismayed by the military’s startling incompetence and seeming lack of determination. The first group has almost no political power. The second, however, has the potential to coalesce into a challenge to Putin. In the past week, some of the most ardent supporters of Putin and the war have expressed concern that the mobilization campaign seems poorly planned. … To steer clear of that risk to Putin’s power and the threat of large-scale resistance, the Kremlin will have to repress the Russian population much more than it has previously done.
‘We are not afraid’: Russians flee to Mongolia to evade Ukraine mobilisation
(Reuters) – Thousands of Russians have fled into Mongolia across its northern frontier in a bid to evade conscription to Ukraine, putting further pressure on the government in Ulaanbaatar and its efforts to distance itself from the conflict.
Officials say 98,000 Russians enter Kazakhstan after call-up
(AP) — Kazakhstan and Georgia, both part of the former Soviet Union, appeared to be the most popular destinations for those crossing by car, bicycle or on foot.
Those with visas for Finland or Norway also have been coming in by land. Plane tickets abroad had sold out quickly despite steep prices.

25 September
Iran and Russia protests expose their authoritarian regimes’ frailty
Jennifer Rubin
No doubt Putin will continue to brutally quash dissent. But he cannot suppress the persistent evidence of discontent within Russia over the conduct of the war. What with Russia’s faltering economy and near total isolation in the international community — when China is said to have expressed “concern and questions” about the conflict, you know Russia is truly the odd one out — Putin is in a much weaker position than he was earlier this year. Now is the time to maintain support for Ukraine’s offensive.
Police clash with people opposed to mobilisation in Russia’s Dagestan
(Reuters) – Police clashed on Sunday with people opposed to the mobilisation in the southern Russian region of Dagestan, underscoring the level of discontent with President Vladimir Putin’s decision to send hundreds of thousands more men to fight in Ukraine.
Russia’s first military mobilisation since World War Two, announced by Putin on Wednesday, has triggered protests in dozens of cities across the country. Public anger has appeared to be particularly strong in poor ethnic minority regions like Dagestan, a Muslim-majority region located on the shores of the Caspian Sea in the mountainous north Caucasus.
Putin’s call-up fuels Russians’ anger, protests and violence
(AP) — Long lines of cars on roads snaking to Russia’s border crossings with Georgia, Kazakhstan and Mongolia, and similar queues at airports.
Angry demonstrations — not just in Moscow and St. Petersburg — but in the remote far north province of Yakutia and in the southern region of Dagestan, with women chasing a police officer and shouting, “No to war!”
A gunman who opened fire in an enlistment office in a Siberian city and gravely wounded the military commandant, saying, “We will all go home now.”
Five days after President Vladimir Putin announced a partial mobilization to call up hundreds of thousands of reservists to fight in Ukraine, the move has triggered outraged protests, a fearful exodus and acts of violence across the vast country.
The nuclear threat might change the mood in Russia itself, stoking widespread fear
Putin’s propaganda glories in devastation but, like the Nazis, he is sowing the seeds of self-destruction
Peter Pomerantsev
(The Guardian) … It’s now clear the “partial” mobilisation is not partial at all; people are being grabbed on the streets and packed off to war. On social media, the sentiment towards mobilisation is highly negative. In polling, even the most pro-Putin Russians are against it.
More than 2,000 people detained during protests in Russia, says human rights group
More than 2,000 people in total have been detained across Russia for protesting against President Vladimir Putin’s partial military mobilisation, including 798 people detained in 33 towns on Saturday, according to independent monitoring group OVD-Info.
Reuters reports that frustrations even spread to pro-Kremlin media, with one editor at the state-run RT news channel saying problems such as call-up papers being sent to the wrong men were “infuriating people”.
When Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, was asked on Saturday why so many Russians were leaving the country, he pointed to the right of freedom of movement.
Russian mobilization blasted for rounding up sick, disabled and elderly
Scuffles broke out Sunday in Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan, where screaming women struggled with police, trying to prevent them from dragging male protesters to police vans, in rare signs of dissent that underscored the dangers of regional unrest over the mobilization.
A way to get rid of us’: Crimean Tatars decry Russia’s mobilisation
Members of ethnic group, which has largely opposed Russian rule since 2014, say they are being disproportionately targeted
24 September
Kremlin stages votes in Ukraine, sees protests in Russia
(AP) — Russian forces launched new strikes on Ukrainian cities Saturday as Kremlin-orchestrated votes took place in four occupied regions to create a pretext for their annexation by Moscow.
In cities across Russia, police arrested hundreds of people who tried to protest a mobilization order aimed at beefing up the country’s troops in Ukraine. Other Russians reported for duty, while the foreign minister told the U.N. General Assembly his country had “no choice” but to take military action against its neighbor

23 September
Thousands of Russians head for Finland amid Putin’s Ukraine mobilization push
Number of Russians crossing into Finland heavy Friday ahead of plan to stop issuing tourist visas
(CBC) Traffic into Finland over its border with Russia was heavy on Friday. But the Finnish government, wary of becoming a major transit nation, plans to stop all Russians from entering on tourist visas within the coming days, Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto told a news conference in New York.
Exceptions may still apply on humanitarian grounds, but avoiding the military conscription was unlikely to constitute grounds for asylum, he said.

19 September
Kharkiv Retreat: What Will Military Losses Mean for Russia’s Domestic Politics?
More frequent military failures and defeats will exacerbate the split between the war’s supporters and increase the risks for Putin’s political leadership.
(Carnegie) More frequent military failures and defeats will exacerbate the split between the realms of “peace” and “war” and increase the risks for Putin’s political leadership. By trying to be the chosen one for both peace and war, he could end up as no one’s choice. For now, as long as the indignation and panic aren’t channeled personally against Putin, the Kremlin is unlikely to embark upon the destruction of the pro-war activists. But make no mistake: this panic will intoxicate the ruling elites and erode their faith in Putin’s capacity to control the situation.

16 September
Another Russian Businessman Dies Under Mysterious Circumstances
(OCCRP) Aviation Director for Russia’s Far East and Arctic Development Corporation (KRDV), Ivan Pechorin, died in what seemed to be a maritime accident, continuing a string of mystery deaths of Russian executives and affluent individuals.
This year, more than a dozen Russian business people died in bizarre ways.
It started with the alleged suicide of the head of transport of Gazprom Invest, Leonid Shulman, who was found dead in “a pool of his own blood” at his house in the village of Leninskoye on January 29, according to The Russian Crimes news outlet. A suicide note was allegeedly found next to his body.
Less than a month later, on February 24, Shulman’s colleague, General Director of the Unified Settlement Center (UCC) of Gazprom for Corporate Security, considered as the company’s treasury, Alexander Tyulyakov, was found dead, also with a suicide note, in the garage of his St. Petersburg residence.
Only a few days later, a Ukraine-born oligarch, Mikhail Watford, was found dead at his house in Surrey. The U.K. police treats his death as unexplained, according to The Guardian.

9 September
Police pursue local Russian lawmakers who urged charging Putin with treason
A group of district council members in St. Petersburg, President Vladimir Putin’s hometown, called for the Russian leader to be charged with treason and removed from office in a rare but brazen protest against the war in Ukraine.

Leave a Comment

comm comm comm