Russia January 2024-

Written by  //  June 6, 2024  //  Foreign Policy, Russia  //  Comments Off on Russia January 2024-

The war in Ukraine has turned Russia’s biggest company into a massive money loser.
By David Von Drehle, Deputy opinion editor and columnist
(WaPo) Further evidence — not that any was needed — of the catastrophic idiocy of Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine is found in an internal study commissioned by Gazprom, a state-controlled energy firm and the largest company in Russia. As revealed by the Financial Times, the analysis concluded that the loss of European customers for Russian natural gas in response to Putin’s aggression cannot be made up by exports elsewhere for at least a decade.
Russia is not a country that can afford to destroy profitable businesses. Its entire economy is smaller than that of Texas. Yet that’s what Putin has done. Proof of the damage to Gazprom came last month, when the state-controlled company reported its first annual loss of the 21st century — the first of many to come.
Exporting large amounts of natural gas can be done in two ways: through pipelines and (when refrigerated to very low temperatures) in tanks as liquid. Having invested little in liquefied natural gas (LNG), Gazprom is heavily dependent on pipelines, and its pipelines are heavily dependent on Europe.

21-22 May
Russia tests the waters and threatens in space
(GZERO media) There’s no indication Russia will open a much larger conflict with NATO by pushing Baltic Sea boundaries as China has done in the South China Sea or that Russia will shoot down an American satellite. There’s nothing new about Russian muscle-flexing. But Western governments and intelligence agencies can’t afford to ignore these threats either. As defense experts often warn, once the capabilities are created, the willingness to use them may one day follow.
US says Russia likely launched anti-satellite weapon
The US says Russia launched a satellite last week which it believes may be capable of attacking other such probes.
Russia Pulls Notice of Baltic Sea Border Plan That Raised Alarm
Defense Ministry paper removed from regulatory website
Lithuania called Russian proposal an ‘escalation against NATO’
(Bloomberg) A Russian Defense Ministry proposal to change the country’s Baltic Sea border and territorial waters next to NATO rivals that prompted sharp responses from Lithuania and Finland was removed from a government website without explanation.
The document, which had been published for public discussion, said the ministry wanted to adjust coordinates for points at which it calculates Russia’s territorial waters and referenced a 1985 document passed by the Soviet Union to justify the proposal. The regulatory website said Wednesday the project had been deleted.
Baltic concerns over Russian plan to move sea borders
The decree was first highlighted on Tuesday, when Russia’s Tass news agency and other media reported on its proposal to redraw old borders dating back to the Soviet era in January 1985.
(BBC) There have been calls for calm in Finland and the Baltic states after a draft Russian decree proposed revising its borders in the Baltic Sea.
Latvia said it was trying to clarify the situation, but Lithuania warned that the Kremlin was aiming to intimidate its neighbours with a “deliberate, targeted escalatory provocation”.
Finnish President Alexander Stubb said political leaders were watching the situation closely and Helsinki “acts as always: calmly and based on facts”.
The draft Russian defence ministry decree suggested moving the sea borders around Russian islands in the Gulf of Finland and around the exclave of Kaliningrad.

3 May
Russia’s gas business will never recover from the war in Ukraine
Hopes of a Chinese rescue look increasingly vain
(The Economist) When Russia’s leaders stopped most of the country’s gas deliveries to the EU in 2022, they thought themselves smart. Prices instantly shot up, enabling Russia to earn more despite lower export volumes. Meanwhile, Europe, which bought 40% of its gas from Russia in 2021, braced itself for inflation and blackouts. Yet two years later, owing to mild winters and enormous imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from America, Europe’s gas tanks are fuller than ever. And Gazprom, Russia’s state-owned gas giant, is unable to make any profits.
Russia was always going to struggle to redirect the 180bn cubic metres (bcm) of gas, worth 80% of its total exports of the fuel in 2021, that it once sold to Europe. The country has no equivalent to Nord Stream, a conduit to Germany, that allows it to pipe gas to customers elsewhere. It also lacks plants to chill fuel to -160°C and the specialised tankers required to ship LNG. Until recently, this was only a minor annoyance. Between 2018 and 2023 just 20% of the total contribution of hydrocarbon exports to the Russian budget came from gas, and despite sanctions Russia continues to sell lots of oil at a good price.

24 April
Russia arrests deputy defence minister suspected of corruption
Timur Ivanov, who was in charge of military construction and repair contracts, is suspected of taking bribes ‘on a particularly large scale’. … The 48-year-old deputy defence minister oversaw military construction and repairs and is accused of taking part in a “criminal conspiracy” in managing contracts that greatly benefitted him personally, reportedly contributing to a lavish lifestyle.

17 April
The desperate alignment of Russia, China, Iran and North Korea
As The Washington Post reported this week, U.S. officials say Iran has bolstered its defenses against a potential retaliatory strike by Israel with the purchase of Russian weapons, part of a strategic alliance forged by Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022 and the extensive use of Iranian-manufactured drones there.
Moscow hasn’t just been looking to Tehran for a mutually beneficial relationship. Last year, Russian President Vladimir Putin met with North Korea’s reclusive leader, Kim Jong Un, to cement a deal that gave Russian troops much-needed ammunition and other war materials in exchange for more advanced technology coveted by Pyongyang.
But the most significant partner by far in this convergence is China, which provided a trade lifeline for Russia amid Western sanctions. U.S. officials told the Associated Press last week that much of this support goes beyond regular business, however, with China surging exports of technology that Russia can use to produce missiles, tanks and planes — making up for both battlefield losses and export controls by the United States and its allies.
Iran, Russia, North Korea and China are part of a far broader group of nations and movements — among their ranks include the relatively small but influential groups like Hamas and the Houthis — that seem to be opposed to the West. Some Western officials, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), have repeatedly suggested these countries mark a new “axis of evil” — a reference to a phrase infamously used by President George W. Bush at the start of the war on terror.
The man who coined that phrase apparently sees this new alliance as even broader. “The world faces a global alignment of dictators, thugs and aggressors, from Tehran to Moscow to Beijing to Palm Beach,” David Frum, the former White House speechwriter, said on X this week after Iran’s failed attack on Israel — the last item on his list, a reference to Florida man and former president Donald Trump.
Secret Russian foreign policy document urges action to weaken the U.S.
(WaPo) The Foreign Policy Concept of the Russian Federation, which was published March 31, 2023, and approved by Russian President Vladimir Putin, deploys bland diplomatic language to call for “the democratization of international relations,” “sovereign equality” and the strengthening of Russia’s position on the global stage. Though the Foreign Policy Concept also charges that the United States and “its satellites” have used the Ukraine conflict to escalate “a many-years-long anti-Russia policy,” it also states that “Russia does not consider itself an enemy of the West … and has no ill intentions toward it.”
Russia hopes the West will “realize the lack of any future in its confrontational policy and hegemonistic ambitions, and will accept the complicated realities of the multipolar world,” the public document states.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it did not comment “on the existence or nonexistence of internal ministry documents” and on the progress of work on them. “As we have stated several times on different levels, we can confirm the mood is to decisively combat the aggressive steps taken by the collective West as part of the hybrid war launched against Russia,” the ministry added.
Russia’s recent veto against extending U.N. monitoring of sanctions against North Korea over its nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles program, effectively ending 14 years of cooperation, was “a clear sign” that the work contemplated in the classified addendum is already underway, said a leading Russian academic with close ties to senior Russian diplomats. The academic spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive deliberations in Moscow.

29 March
Nine detained in Tajikistan in relation to Moscow concert hall attack
A Russian court meanwhile charged one more suspect in last week’s deadly attack on Crocus City Hall.
“Nine residents of the Vakhdat district were detained for contact with the persons who committed the terrorist attack at Crocus City Hall on March 22,” the RIA Novosti news agency reported on Friday, citing information from an unnamed source in Tajikistan’s special services, who said that Russian security forces were also involved in the operation to detain the suspects.
This came as a court in Moscow charged another suspect in the deadly concert hall attack – Lutfulloi Nazrimad – and ruled that should be held in custody until at least May 22, pending investigation and trial.

22-25 March
Russia’s Tragedy, Putin’s Humiliation
Expect wild claims from supporters of the humiliated dictator.
By Tom Nichols
(The Atlantic) As we untangle the ghastly attack just outside of Moscow, bear in mind three realities about politics in Russia.
First, some terrorist groups have a long-standing hatred of the Russians, and mass-casualty attacks in Russia’s cities are not new. Americans, scarred by 9/11, often think that they are the prime target of Islamist extremists, but over the past two decades, Russia has endured more mass-casualty terror attacks from Islamist extremists than the United States, including barbaric assaults on a school and a downtown Moscow theater. The most recent massacre is only one of a series of such attacks in Russia over the past 30 years.
Second, reliable information will be scarce for some time. The immediate Russian response in such circumstances is to clamp down on the media while government officials mostly dummy up, in part because people who may have been asleep at the switch will already be engaging in desperate ass-covering. And third, always remember that Russia and its useful idiots in the West will try to shift blame and obfuscate as much as possible as they try to blow the stench of failure away from Moscow.
Death Toll Rises to 133 in Moscow Concert Hall Attack
The Russian authorities said Saturday that they had arrested the four people who carried out a mass killing and arson at a suburban Moscow concert venue, which left at least 133 people dead in one of the worst terrorist attacks to jolt Russia in decades.
Rescuers have ended the search for survivors at the suburban Moscow concert venue where the attack took place, the governor of the Moscow region announced Saturday night. The death toll remains at 133, of which 50 have been identified, but the search for bodies will continue, the governor said.
The evening news reports on the Russian state network Channel One were dismissive of claims of responsibility for the attack by the Islamic State, instead suggesting the assault was a “false flag” operation by Ukraine and possibly the West.
Vladimir Putin begins Operation Blame Ukraine
The Kremlin senses an opportunity in the tragedy of Crocus City Hall
(The Economist today Sunday edition) Even—or especially—for an autocrat who just won a sham election, there is a risk of looking weak or wrong-footed after such a horrific event. Vladimir Putin, a spy by training, tends to stay out of the public eye when confronted by unexpected crises. …
This time, Mr Putin hopes to pin the blame for the Moscow attack on his foes in Ukraine. … An affiliate of Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, and it bore the group’s hallmarks. Russia has suffered from Islamist attacks on civilian targets before. Indeed, just a few weeks ago American intelligence warned of an imminent assault by such actors in Russia. Mr Putin dismissed their claims as blackmail.
Moscow massacre sparks battle of blame
(Politico Eu) Islamic State’s claim of responsibility for Friday’s terror attack hasn’t halted the clash of accusations between Moscow and Kyiv over the killings.
Putin links Ukraine to Moscow massacre without evidence
The suspected gunmen “tried to hide and moved toward Ukraine,” Russian president says in televised address. Kyiv denies any involvement.
Gunmen Kill at Least 60 at Moscow Concert Hall, Russian Officials Say
U.S. officials said the Islamic State was responsible for the attack, one of the deadliest in Russia’s capital region in more than a decade.
(NYT) A branch of the Islamic State claimed responsibility, and U.S. officials confirmed the claim shortly afterward. The United States collected intelligence in March that Islamic State-Khorasan, known as ISIS-K, the branch of the group based in Afghanistan, had been planning an attack on Moscow, according to officials.
7 March –US Embassy advises its citizens to avoid large gatherings in Moscow through at least March 9 due to possible security threat: US Embassy advises its citizens in Moscow, Russia, to avoid large gatherings through at least March 9 due to possible extremist targeting.

22 March
At least 40 killed and more than 100 wounded in Moscow concert hall attack
Gunmen in combat gear opened fire and reportedly set off explosives at Crocus City Hall in city’s outskirts
(The Guardian) At least 40 people have been killed and more than 100 wounded according to unofficial reports in the worst terror attack in Russia in years, as gunmen in combat fatigues opened fire and detonated explosives in a big concert hall in the outskirts of Moscow.
Photos showed the Crocus City Hall engulfed in flames as videos emerged from the concert hall attack, showing at least four gunmen opening fire from automatic weapons as panicked Russians fled for their lives.

12-14 March
What to watch in this weekend’s Russian presidential “election”
GZERO Media’s “decision desk” is now ready to project that Vladimir V. Putin will be reelected president of Russia this weekend. We’re walking out on this limb because the Kremlin controls most media in Russia, any opposition candidate who might embarrass Putin is barred from running, and protests are not tolerated.
But there are a few factors worth watching. Will the government get the turnout it wants? Probably. As Eurasia Group’s Alex Brideau told us yesterday, “Government employees, soldiers, and people working for state-owned companies will be under pressure to vote and ensure others vote for Putin, too.” Even if turnout is low, Russian state media will likely tell us it was high.
We should also watch to see if protesters, including supporters of recently deceased political prisoner Alexei Navalny, ignore the risk of arrest, violence, or both to hit the streets of Russia’s largest cities.
The wildcard to watch is whether Ukraine has plans to disrupt the voting in whatever way possible. Recent drone attacks on Russian infrastructure have demonstrated the Ukrainian military’s long reach.

What to watch in Russia’s stage-managed presidential ‘election’
(Atlantic Council) Talk long enough and eventually a truth will slip out. “Our presidential election is not really democracy, it is costly bureaucracy,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the New York Times in August about Russia’s upcoming presidential election. While Russia retains many of the visual markers of democracy—campaign commercials, candidate debates, and election volunteers—Russian elections completely lack the competitive nature of a true democracy. The outcome is not in doubt; Russian President Vladimir Putin will assuredly be reelected following the March 15-17 vote. But there are still aspects of this exercise in “costly bureaucracy” that are worth watching for signs of what to expect next from Putin’s Russia
Talk long enough and eventually a truth will slip out. “Our presidential election is not really democracy, it is costly bureaucracy,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the New York Times in August about Russia’s upcoming presidential election. While Russia retains many of the visual markers of democracy—campaign commercials, candidate debates, and election volunteers—Russian elections completely lack the competitive nature of a true democracy. The outcome is not in doubt; Russian President Vladimir Putin will assuredly be reelected following the March 15-17 vote. But there are still aspects of this exercise in “costly bureaucracy” that are worth watching for signs of what to expect next from Putin’s Russia.
For the first time, voting for the Russian presidential election will be conducted over the course of three days. Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who was prohibited from competing in the 2018 election after his conviction on trumped-up charges and who died in prison just weeks before this year’s election, called on supporters to turn out to vote at a specific time—noon on Sunday, March 17—to show the strength of the opposition to the Kremlin in a way that could not be altered or falsified by authorities. Navalny’s widow, Yulia Navalnaya, repeated the call to supporters after his death.

Russians go to the polls in a sham election for their president
The charade takes place amid murder and repression
(The Economist) AT THE END of this week millions of Russians will participate in the re-election of president Vladimir Putin, the country’s longest-serving dictator since Stalin. In a land where opposition politicians are dead, in prison or in exile, where speaking truth to power is a criminal offence and where a paranoid autocrat is happy to kill hundreds of thousands of his own people and his neighbours in order to assert and maintain his power, an election seems entirely unnecessary; a strange charade or a quaint anachronism.
The three-day voting exercise that will begin on March 15th is not an election in the way most people in the Western world understand one. Had Russia been a democracy Mr Putin would have left power in 2008, when his second and constitutionally last term in office expired. But where war is peace, ignorance is strength and freedom is slavery, the essence of this election is the absence of choice.

“I am calling on you…”: Putin urges Russians to take part in presidential polls
BTW, on 13 March 1881, Czar Alexander II was assassinated in St. Petersburg – an omen?

23 February
The toll on Russia from its war in Ukraine, by the numbers
(Atlantic Council) …the war has also wreaked devastating self-inflicted wounds on Russia, including catastrophic casualty rates, growing economic isolation from the West, and the mass emigration of skilled workers. Below, our experts quantify the staggering human and economic toll that the invasion of Ukraine has cost Russia since the war began.
$27b to $34b Russia’s projected shortfall in 2024 gas revenues compared to prewar projections
For context, these figures track closely to Russia’s planned spending on education and health care in 2024, allocations that have dropped as funding was diverted toward Moscow’s brutal military campaign.
315,000 Russian troops killed or wounded in Ukraine
With a ground force of 360,000 prior to the invasion, Russia has expended almost 90 percent of its prewar troops. … Russia’s losses in the recent four-month campaign for Adviikva, according to figures provided by Ukraine’s military, were greater than the Soviet Union suffered in its decade-long war in Afghanistan. Russia’s high casualty rates in this war have acutely set back its fifteen-year-long effort to modernize its ground forces as Russia has taken “extraordinary measures” to sustain its fighting capacities, including the recruitment of convicts and older civilians.
10% Amount of the IT workforce that left Russia in 2022
In 2022, 10 percent of the information technology (IT) workforce left Russia, along with more than one thousand Western firms. The IT sector is vital to the Russian economy, having driven nearly a third of the country’s growth since 2015. …more than one hundred thousand of these young, highly-educated professionals [have left] the country. According to the Russian minister for digital development, the IT sector now faces a shortfall of over half a million workers.
The effects of a growing “brain drain” are compounded by the exit of Western tech firms such as IBM, Intel, Microsoft, and others. … The sector is now deprived of access to global connectivity, research, scientific exchanges, and critical technology components, and in the long term is likely to fall behind other global powers such as the United States, China, and the European Union (EU).
$330b Sanctioned Russian Central Bank assets
In the weekend following February 24, 2022, the Group of Seven (G7) nations decided to ban transactions servicing the Russian Central Bank (CBR). The measure—implemented by the entire EU and a handful of other like-minded partners—keeps this money out of Moscow’s reach. …
$47.3b Lost Russian oil revenues from the G7’s price cap
… The oil price cap has reduced revenues for Moscow, but enforcement challenges have undermined its effectiveness. To circumvent the price cap, Russia reduced reliance on G7 shipping services, and switched to the use of “shadow fleet” tankers.
6 and 5 Russian and Belarusian Olympic athletes
According to the most recent count, just six Russian and five Belarusian passport holders will compete [in the 2024 Summer Olympics] … By the opening ceremony, these numbers may rise somewhat if more athletes qualify, but none will compete under the Russian flag, and none will hear the Russian national anthem on the medal stand.

20-21 February
Russia is rebuilding capacity to destabilize European countries, new UK report warns
(AP) — Russia is rebuilding its capacity to destabilize European countries and extend its influence in the Middle East and Africa, posing a strategic threat to NATO as its members focus on the war in Ukraine, a U.K.-based think tank said Tuesday.
In a sweeping report, researchers at the Royal United Services Institute argue that Western nations need to do more to counter Moscow’s use of unconventional warfare if they are to succeed in turning back Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“As the war in Ukraine protracts, Russia has an interest in creating crises further afield,’’ authors Jack Watling, Oleksandr V. Danylyuk and Nick Reynolds wrote, citing the Balkans as a region that is ripe for mischief.
“Russia also has an active interest in destabilizing Ukraine’s partners, and with a slew of elections forthcoming across Europe there is a wide range of opportunities to exacerbate polarization,’’ the authors said.
While Russian efforts to destabilize countries such as Moldova failed due to security lapses and the mass expulsion of Kremlin operatives, the Russian military is now strengthening its ability to launch unconventional attacks, the report says.
Using documents obtained from Russian secret services and interviews with official bodies in Ukraine and some European states, the report weaves a narrative of Russia’s efforts to extend its influence beyond the present conflict in Ukraine.
The threat “extends beyond Ukraine and the active collaboration of those states that are being targeted,” it said and urged for “sustained vigilance” over a range of issues.

Reconstituted Wagner Group Expanding Russian Influence In Africa, Mideast, Report Finds
The report says that President Vladimir Putin saw the development of economic ties with Africa and the Middle East as a means to “sanction-proof” Russia.
(Radio Free Europe) Russia is using unconventional methods to expand its influence, evade containment, and destabilize and disrupt its adversaries, including a rebranding of the private Wagner mercenary group that is making progress in forwarding the Kremlin’s Africa policy to gain access to natural resources, according to a new report.
The report, published on February 20 by the London-based Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), says that at a time when many Western states are trying to economically isolate Russia following its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin saw the development of economic ties with Africa and the Middle East as a means to “sanction-proof” Russia.

Dr Jack Watling , Oleksandr V Danylyuk and Nick Reynolds
(Royal United Services Institute/RUSI) This report details Russia’s unconventional military activities outside Ukraine, including efforts to prepare for destabilisation in European countries, expeditionary operations in Africa to seize control of critical resources, and outreach to target audiences in the Middle East.

19 February
Who are other Russian dissidents besides the late Alexei Navalny?
(AP) The sudden death of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s most formidable antagonist has left an open wound in Russia’s political opposition.
Alexei Navalny was the Kremlin’s best-known critic at home and abroad. Before he died in a penal colony Friday, the anti-corruption crusader, protest organizer and politician with an arch sense of humor became the subject of an award-winning documentary. His channels on YouTube had millions of subscribers.
Navalny also was the first opposition leader in Russia to receive a lengthy prison sentence in recent years. There would be others, heralding a crackdown on dissent that became more punishing with the invasion of Ukraine. In the three years since Navalny lost his freedom, multiple prominent dissidents were imprisoned, while others fled Russia under pressure.
Over 300 detained in Russia as country mourns the death of Alexei Navalny, Putin’s fiercest foe

7 February
Is Africa Corps a Rebranded Wagner Group?
(Foreign Affairs) The death of Yevgeny Prigozhin has accelerated a shift in Russia’s interventions on the continent.
The nature of the restructuring shows that the center of gravity for Russian operations in Africa is shifting from the CAR to the Sahel. The change from Wagner to Africa Corps also marks a new phase in Russia’s export of security to Africa. Africa Corps differs from Wagner primarily in its official government status. The informal and private aspects of Prigozhin’s company have been largely removed, leaving a core expeditionary force intact. With this shift, Russia’s interventions on the continent are emerging out of the shadows of private initiative and into the limelight of official state project.

2 February
Russia Tomorrow: Five scenarios for Russia’s future
By Casey Michel, author, journalist, and director of the Combating Kleptocracy Program at the Human Rights Foundation
(The Atlantic Council) Imagine Russia in 2030. Will it resemble today’s imperial kleptocracy? Will it be a Western-style democracy? Will the Russian Federation exist at all? As Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine continues, the questions of what comes next have never been more pertinent. However, while questions of future developments in Ukraine continue to dominate discourse in places like Washington and Brussels, far less attention has been paid to what comes next in Moscow, and across the Russian Federation. Indeed, the discussion of developments within—and policy surrounding—Russia’s potential future has been largely muted across the West. …
Briefly, the five scenarios detailed below include:
Putin’s continued rule
Putin’s ouster, followed by the installation of a far-right, nationalistic figure or cadre
Putin’s ouster, followed by a technocratic, if still largely antidemocratic, regime
Putin’s ouster, followed by the rise of a liberal, thoroughly pro-Western government
Russian Federation state fracture

31 January
What is Russia’s role in the Israel-Gaza crisis?
Fiona Hill and Kevin Huggard
(Brookings) … Putin builds a museum of Judaism in Moscow and becomes, as he says, the “patron of the Jews.” He regularly meets with one Moscow-based rabbi, Berel Lazar, and constantly repeats jokes that Lazar tells him. In fact, the rabbi reputedly becomes one of his close confidants during his first presidential term. So, Putin creates this picture of a vibrant relationship with both Israel and the remnants of Russia’s Jewish communities. Putin designates Judaism as one of the official indigenous religions of Russia alongside orthodox Christianity and Islam. He sees this as part of Russia’s greatness—as a culture housing these three great world religions, and also Buddhism to some extent. It’s not that there aren’t tensions, of course. Many of the emigre Jewish groups who have archives and materials housed in Moscow—such as the library of the late Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, for example—and want them transferred to their communities in Israel, the United States, and elsewhere, end up clashing with the Kremlin. Putin refuses to relinquish the materials because he says they are part of Russian patrimony, Russian heritage. They were written or collected on the territory of the Russian Empire or the Soviet Union, so they belong to the Russian state, not a religious community.
Putin also uses the new relationship with Israel to enshrine Russia’s position in the Middle East. He sees Israel as a key pillar for Russian foreign policy in the Middle East, alongside Iran and Saudi Arabia, which makes for some strange bedfellows in Russian foreign policy.
… Now all of that becomes completely and utterly ruptured or unglued—all the wheels fall off this bus, not just on October 7, but beforehand as a result of the war in Ukraine. In the last two years since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, the Kremlin started calling Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the Jewish president of Ukraine, a Nazi and directly offended Israel on this issue.

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