Home World Russians grow more critical as Putin’s military operation drags on and sanctions take a toll

Russians grow more critical as Putin’s military operation drags on and sanctions take a toll

by News Desk
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November and December are known to be the darkest months in Moscow. The days are short and dark, the weather is too cold and rainy to be outdoors, but it is still too warm and rainy to enjoy a real Russian winter.

This year, the depressing mood is compounded by the sight of shuttered shops in many of the capital’s streets as businesses face a crisis. economic depression from massive Western sanctions in response to war in ukraineRussian authorities still call it a “special military operation”.

“The mood in Moscow and the country is very gloomy, quiet, intimidating and desperate right now,” said Lisa, 34, who declined to give her last name and said she was a film producer. . “The planning horizon is lower than ever. People don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow, or she a year from now.”

While the shelves of most stores are well stocked, western products are becoming increasingly scarce and extremely expensive, already hitting many Russian households.

“From toilet paper and Coca-Cola to clothes, familiar products are disappearing,” says Lisa.

“Of course, you can get used to all this. It’s not the worst thing at all,” she said. But she also accused Western governments and companies of withdrawing from the Russian market in response to the Ukrainian aggression. “I’m not quite sure how this will help resolve conflicts, as it will affect the public, not the people making the decisions,” Lisa said.

Some economists say Russia will face increasing economic difficulties and people will become increasingly critical of “special military operations” amid a series of defeats such as those seen in the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson. I’m thinking of going

Sergey Javoronkov, a senior fellow at the Gaidar Institute for Economic Policy, said the mood was already more critical than before, thanks to “both the economic price and frustration with unresolved issues.” I’m here. Kremlin.

“We should have won. Officials promised to capture Kyiv within three days, but as we see it, it turned out to be stupid,” he told CNN.

“In a speech on February 24, (Russian President) Vladimir Putin said military operations would only be carried out by professional troops. However, in September a partial mobilization was declared. It’s an unpopular measure, recruiting people who don’t want to fight.

“It’s a known effect. A short, victorious war may provoke frenzy, but a war that goes on endlessly and doesn’t lead to the desired outcome brings disappointment.”

After Putin announced a nationwide partial mobilization on September 21, many believe that the situation is stable after the first escape of Russians not only from Western sanctions, but also from the possibility of conscription. ing.

The Kremlin is home to more than 300,000 Russians conscripted into the army From late September to early November, hundreds of thousands of mostly young Russian men fled the country, fleeing to places such as Kazakhstan and Georgia.

“The first wave of panic has passed, everyone has calmed down a little. Many have left, but many remain. I am happy with the people who are staying and supporting us in Russia,” Irina told CNN. rice field.

At the same time, she emphasized her opposition to the war in Ukraine. , as Ukrainian forces successfully recaptured the great city of Kherson from Russian forces. The region was annexed by Russia in September and Putin would remain part of Russia “forever,” she said.

“I have a negative attitude. I believe that any aggression or war is evil. And if we don’t attack them, they will attack us.” is, of course, absurd,” Irina said, referring to Putin’s repeated claims that Russia was acting in self-defense in its aggression against Ukraine.

Dmitry Puchkov, a well-known Russian blogger known as “Goblin” who supports his country’s military operations in Ukraine, admitted that recent battlefield defeats had shaken the confidence of many. there is

“From the point of view of civil society, it is not good for our troops to leave the territories that have become part of the Russian Federation. But it is a tactical move and will not last long,” he wrote. In response to a written question from CNN online, Puchkov said he believed Russia would fight back violently and force Ukraine into a ceasefire.

Russian citizens conscripted during partial mobilization are deployed to the combat coordination area after the military call-up for the war between Russia and Ukraine on October 10, 2022 in Moscow, Russia. You can see

“The morale of the Russian army is very high,” Puchkov wrote, explaining how he thought the victory would be won. “The necessary strategic decisions are well known. First and foremost is the destruction of Ukraine’s infrastructure. Electricity, hot water and heat systems must be destroyed,” he said.

The Kremlin seems to be following that strategy. According to Ukrainian officials, Russian forces have repeatedly targeted Ukraine’s power infrastructure in recent weeks, with his first wave of strikes a week ago that blacked out more than 7 million people.

But Ukrainians remain steadfast in the face of Russian missile attacks, and despite being America’s commander-in-chief, hopes of a negotiated end to the war of any kind remain distant. push forward diplomacyNATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called on NATO allies on Sunday for greater support for Ukraine, saying: “We must be prepared to support Ukraine for the long term.”

When asked how the mood in Russia’s business world was, given the potential protraction of the conflict, Jabolonkov replied simply: “Pessimistic!”

“Economic experts know that if military action continues, nothing can be expected from the economy,” Jaboronkov said. The Russian economy is now officially in recession and he believes it will only get worse.

The country’s industrial enterprises are facing a major problem of replacing Western technology, with car company AvtoVAZ (maker of the Lada car brand) halting production earlier this year and then replacing basic equipment such as airbags and anti-locks. We have moved to the production of vehicles with no significant electronic features. brake system.

Ukrainian tanks are seen as Ukrainian forces fight on the front lines in the Kherson region of Ukraine on November 9, 2022.

Problems range from aviation to consumer electronics, with former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev calling for the nationalization of foreign assets.

Evgeny Popov, a prominent journalist and member of the Russian parliament, outspokenly criticized Medvedev’s ideas.

“What are we going to drive, we have nothing to drive. Are we going to drive rail cars?” I yelled at the former Russian general who supported me.

“Let’s nationalize everything. But what do you drive, how do you call, what do you do? Yes, our technology is all Western,” Popov said.

The Kremlin has promoted the idea of ​​increasing Russia’s own production as well as replacing Western products with products and technology from allies such as China and Iran.

The Russian Foreign Ministry building is visible behind an advertising billboard showing the letter

On Monday, Putin opened a turkey breeding farm in the Tyumen region via video link. Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for the Kremlin, hailed the move as a sign of Russia’s growing economic independence, stating that “in the president’s schedule related to the development of domestic breeding and the selection of the meat and poultry sector of the agricultural industry. An important event. An important sector directly linked to the food security of Russia.”

But Russia’s increasing isolation from the world is not necessarily welcomed by all citizens. Film producer Lisa said she wants her country to end war and renew relations with foreign countries.

“I wait and hope it all ends because nothing is more valuable than a human life,” she said.

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