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Russian nationalist pressure on Putin

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Russia’s military reversal in Ukraine has stirred anger and frustration among the country’s hawkish nationalists. Do hardline grievances represent a serious threat to Vladimir Putin’s regime?

First, some household chores. I will be away next week, so the Saturday edition of Europe Express will be written by my colleague Sam Fleming, FT Brussels bureau chief.you can contact me tony.barber@ft.comFollowing the elections in Italy, the FT will host a virtual briefing for subscribers on 27 September to discuss the next steps for the country and Europe. Register now for free Please submit your questions to the panelists in advance.

It is understandable that Western society tends to focus on Putin’s liberal anti-war commentators. Indeed, we can only respect their courage.

Here are some examples.

Earlier this month, local lawmakers in Moscow and St. Petersburg signed a petition calling for Putin’s resignation.the authorities ready to shut down St. Petersburg district council where opposition surfaced.

Moscow voter Lev Karmanov Arrested for drawing a dove With the words “against war!” on ballots for local elections.

Classical pianist Polina Ossetinskaya has canceled her second concert in a week after speaking out against the war. A liberal creative her artist would expect worse. Glad (“hail”) appeared in the House or Congress to crack down on “anti-Russian cultural activities.”

From a Western point of view, the bitter truth is that liberals are a minority in Russia. Grigory Yudin, a prominent Russian political scientist, estimates that anti-war opponents – not all of whom are liberals anyway – make up about 20 to 25 percent of public opinion.

Their influence is limited because “they are banished from the Russian media and generally demoralized.” To get a feel for the atmosphere of Russian society, I recommend reading Yudin’s books. light up twitter thread Do not omit.

By contrast, the wrath of the Russian hawks Withdrawal of Northeast Ukraine It’s loud and intense.in the view of Tatiana Stanovayaanother Russian political analyst said: [liberal] oppose”.

Nationalist attacks on Putin’s war effort point to one of Putin’s major vulnerabilities — his near-superhuman invulnerability that has been cultivated over the years since he took power in 2000. The myth of

They show how the war exacerbates tensions in Russian society, including over-support for the Putin regime.Denis Volkov and Andrei Kolesnikov Contribution to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace:

Across Russia since February 24, old friends have fallen apart. Parents and children no longer speak to each other. Couples in long marriages no longer trust each other. And teachers and students are blaming each other.

Who are the hawks and how much influence do they have?

in the Words by Alexei KovalevInvestigative Editor of the Meduza news site:

[They are] Far-right ideologists, extremist extremists, veterans of the 2014 Donbass War, Wagner Group mercenaries, bloggers, war reporters who run their own Telegram channels, and individual Russian state media staff loosely Coalition – active primarily online. There are also soldiers and mercenaries fighting in Ukraine.

Let me be clear. The ferocity of Russia’s unprovoked aggression goes hand in hand with Putin’s intention to destroy Ukraine as an independent state with internationally recognized borders. Distinguishing between the Russian president and his inner circle on the one hand and ultranationalist fanatics on the other undoubtedly offends Ukrainians.

But Ekaterina Vinokurova Jarnobost websiteher contact with the Russian authorities said, “There are many balanced people in the Kremlin…[who]Treat extremists like barking dogs that should be kept on a leash. ”

applies to such men Igor Gurkinnom de guerre Strelkov, or “sniper”. He is a former Russian intelligence operative who has never forgiven the Kremlin. set him free After fostering separatism in Donbass in 2014.

Gherkin wanted Putin to implement “Novorossia” project, a vision of the Russian-controlled Ukrainian territory stretching from Kharkov to Odessa. He now blames the Kremlin for mishandling this year’s invasion.

Animated map showing regions of Ukraine under Russian rule since February.After its withdrawal from Kyiv, Russia is focused on the east and south of the country in a slow war of attrition

The most important question is to what extent the hawks are connected and influential with the security and military personnel, the people who ultimately put Putin in power.

In a Moscow Times article written weeks before the invasion, Mark Galeotti, a British expert on Russian security services, said: pointed out this point:

There is A powerful strand of nationalist criticism of Putin is interrelated with elements of the systematic and unsystematic opposition, but also has components within the security apparatus on which the Kremlin relies. ..

A scroll through their telegram channels and the more apathetic message boards reveals just how strong nationalist criticism of the government is, even within the kind of organization the National Guard was meant to be its bulwark. It will become clear soon. ”

in her next book hybrid warrior Russian-American author Anna Arutyunyan expresses a similar view. She said key figures in FSB intelligence and broader security in Russia said to have had

What do you think? Are ultranationalists a threat to Putin’s hold on power? Please vote here.

More on this topic

notable and citable

“God is peace. He always leads us not on the path of war but on the path of peace” — Pope Francis addressing the World Assembly of Faiths in Kazakhstan, obvious aim Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill supported Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and boycotted the conference

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https://www.ft.com/content/ac38541c-c24e-47bf-8b86-7212d7ed6662 Russian nationalist pressure on Putin

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