Russia’s elite quarrels with Putin: “They are fed up with the war”

Rocket attacks on Russian border towns, tens of thousands of dead soldiers, an increasingly aggressive conscription policy and criticism of the Kremlin: dissatisfaction with President Vladimir Putin’s leadership style is growing in Russia.

“The elites are stuck in an impasse. They are afraid of becoming the scapegoat for a senseless war,” the American quoted Bloomberg news agency Kirill Rogow, a Russian journalist in exile in Austria.

Bloomberg spoke to a total of seven insiders as part of extensive research. They say that the Russian business and political elite now have massive doubts about Putin.

“They are fed up with the war and want it to end as soon as possible. But they doubt that Vladimir Putin will do anything about it,” the agency quotes one of the sources, who all have asked to remain anonymous for fear of their own safety.

Trust in Putin continues to erode

Trust in Putin continues to erode. According to the report, fewer and fewer people trusted him to solve the conflict. Many who still longed for Ukraine’s defeat now see the “best way out” in freezing the conflict.

“That would require negotiations later this year that would allow Putin to announce a Pyrrhic victory by keeping some of the conquered territories for Russia.”

The increasing criticism may also lead to tougher clashes in the Kremlin. After all, there are already people who openly criticize Putin’s leadership. For example, Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of the “Wagner” mercenary group.

After reports from Moscow that 1,500 Ukrainians had been killed and almost 30 German Leopard tanks destroyed, Prigozhin etched via the Messenger service Telegram that such reports should surprise “even the lying baron Munchausen”. “I think Baron Münchhausen can sit down again,” wrote the mercenary boss about the numbers mentioned.

Wagner boss warns of a Russian civil war like in 1917

At the end of May, Prigozhin even warned of a new revolution in Russia. If the children of ordinary Russians come back in coffins while the offspring of the elite sunbathe abroad, Russia faces a turmoil similar to that of the 1917 revolution.

This culminated in a civil war, Prigozhin wrote on Telegram. Even if the Wagner boss is a special case. More and more war enthusiasts no longer believe in the success of the “special operation,” explained political scientist Abbas Galliamov.

Attacks in the Russian-Ukrainian border region are also to blame. “The attacks in Belgorod finally shattered the myth of the invincibility of Putin’s military,” Galliamov told Bloomberg.

Believing in your own strength, in your own power, was the “most important war argument” for many Russians. According to Galliamov, this is exactly what is costing Putin support: the inability to protect people.

Open criticism of Putin even from propaganda TV

Meanwhile, Russian bloggers, such as Andrei Proshakov, are also reporting on the dwindling support. “Judging by the dynamics of events and the growing freedom of expression, including in the official media, the elites are no longer looking to Putin as the country’s next president,” says one of his contributions on Telegram.

And the pro-government media are now also expressing doubts about the Kremlin boss’ course. Margarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of the Moscow propaganda channel RT, caused a stir when she recently supported Indonesia’s peace plan.

Among other things, this stipulates that both warring parties should withdraw 15 kilometers from the front lines and that referendums should be held on future national affiliation.

Concern among Russian population has peaked

“People should stay with whoever they want. That’s fair, isn’t it? Do we need territories that don’t want to live with us?”

Incidentally, after Putin announced the call-up of a further 300,000 reservists last fall, concern among the Russian population reached new heights.

This is also shown by a survey by the opinion research institute FOM among 1,500 Russians. The data were collected from May 19th to 21st. 53 percent of those surveyed said their families and friends were concerned – 11 percent more than in April.

Hank Peter

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