Putin escalation in Ukraine fuels discomfort in Russia

Putin escalation in Ukraine fuels discomfort in Russia

“The news was worse than I expected,” said Andrei, a 30-year-old financial analyst in Moscow who also declined to give his last name for fear of his safety. “I am stunned by the degree of absurdity and madness we are now witnessing.”

Throughout Putin’s tenure, the Kremlin has fostered a reputation for testing the limits of a deal in which Russian citizens largely agree to stay out of politics if the state stays out of their lives. But he always displayed a sense of restraint, a hesitation to take things too far and risk triggering a large-scale reaction.

With his military in retreat and Ukraine advancing, analysts say Putin appears to have made the biggest political gamble of his career.

“The social contract has been violated,” said Andrei Kolesnikov, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “In the medium term, this is a problem for public trust in Putin and his regime. In the short term, they will not receive serious protests, but sabotage,” he said, referring to the potential of individuals called upon to undermine the war effort.

Wednesday’s statement is only the third time in Russian history that the government has called for military mobilization. The other two came in 1914 and 1941, during the First and Second World Wars.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu spoke on television shortly after Putin.SHOVEL

Although the Kremlin insists that mobilization is “limited” to 300,000 reservists, the actual wording of the order does not specify or impose any significant limitations on the preliminary orders.

This has left many racing to find out if they are about to be summoned.

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“The presidential decree is purposefully vague about the expected number of draftees, their qualifications and general drafting period, which means the scope can always be expanded,” said Andrei, a financial analyst. He added that he didn’t expect to be summoned in the first wave, but expected to be sent into battle if this war goes on long enough.

“There are many signs that this will become a significant social and political issue for Putin,” said Tatiana Stanovaya, a Russian political analyst and founder of political consultancy R.Politik. “People are searching Google for things like ‘How to get out of the country’, ‘What is mobilization?’ and ‘Who can be called?

Not all Russians are alarmed at the prospect of being drafted, however.

For weeks, as Ukraine successfully staged two counter-offensives that put Putin’s military on the back burner, pro-war activists have been calling for the Kremlin to take off its gloves – criticizing the way much of Russian society has been allowed to sit. . the sides.

Alexander, a 32-year-old man in Moscow, said he was not worried about being drafted. “Well, it’s okay,” he said. “Let’s fight a little.” Alexander, who declined to give his last name, said he was prepared to fight, that he himself has military experience – he was a T-90 tank commander.

In the early days and weeks of the conflict, there was a real sense of shock in Russia as the country became a global pariah abandoned by Western companies.

But over time and with ample encouragement from the Kremlin, the general public was able to get on with life and not think too much about the war. Especially in Moscow and St. Petersburg, the summer of 2022 was enjoyed like any other.

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The war seemed a world away. Now, suddenly, the war seems very close to home.

Source : www.nbcnews.com

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