As Putin rises in Russia, elites are weighing the cost of war


Vladimir Putin’s move this week appears to be a reprieve from hardliners who have been calling for more decisive action from the Russian president as he launched missile strikes targeting Ukrainian cities and critical infrastructure.

“Run, Zelensky, run,” cheered Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, who sent militias into Ukraine, referring to the Ukrainian president. Kadyrov has been criticizing Russia’s military leadership for weeks for its disastrous recent retreat, saying he was “100 percent happy” with the way the war was going.

But some high-ranking Russian officials and people in the business elite are tired and worried – and the political and economic situation is expected to worsen. If Putin’s military expansion is intended in part to put a lid on the chaos caused by the war’s mismanagement, the impact is likely to be only temporary, several officials and business executives said in an interview.

“There are other problems on the battlefield,” said one influential Moscow businessman interviewed for this report, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of personal security concerns. “I don’t think it will increase the pressure,” he said, referring to the missile attack.

In addition, the business executives and officials said that although the war dragged on into the snowy winter and succeeded in damaging more of Ukraine’s electricity and energy networks, There are questions about how many missiles Russia has deployed and how long it can continue bombing. The missiles are being manufactured. But in individual parts. And the old stock is running out,” said a government official.

The new Russian commander in Ukraine was decorated after the atrocities in Syria

Ever since the Ukrainian army began recapturing territory in Ukraine’s south and east, Putin has been forced to send in hundreds of thousands of barely trained Russian troops — a move that has sparked protests across Russia and at least sent 300,000 Russians are fleeing the country’s borders to avoid the draft.

Saturday’s disgraceful attack on the Kremlin’s Kerch bridge seemed to be the last straw in Crimea as rifts began to emerge in Putin’s inner circle.

“No one is happy at the moment,” said a Russian state official. “It is clear that neither military nor political victory is possible. But loss is also impossible. This is turning into a chess situation called a zigzag, where each move is worse than the next, but no movement is possible.

According to a second state official, the optimism of the summer, when many believed that the country’s elite would “change everything and pave the way,” has completely evaporated. “People see that there is no future,” he said.

The forced mobilization has already damaged Putin’s popularity, which is one of the legitimate bases for his presidency, and as the corps of reservists begins to return to the front, the situation could worsen, said a Moscow businessman.

“In several months, there will be a very negative dynamic in Russia: the mood in society will worsen,” he said. “Everything depends on the face.”

“Putin’s arsenal of weapons is very limited,” said former deputy governor of Russia’s central bank Sergei Aleksandrenko, who now lives in exile in the United States. “In addition to hitting civilian infrastructure, it is only an option to use a tactical nuclear weapon. The question remains before Putin about what to do next if the Ukrainian counterattack continues.”

Russia’s accession puts world ‘two or three steps away from nuclear war’

But few in Moscow say Putin will try to launch a tactical nuclear strike despite Kremlin statements, a Moscow businessman said, because “then he will have no cards” because China could block such a proliferation. “This is Pandora’s box. [the Chinese] “I don’t want to open,” he said.

Saudi Arabia’s support for oil production this summer appears to have emboldened the Russian president, said the same Moscow executive with ties to political officials. Even if the price of energy remains at the same level, Putin “thinks that Europe will fall into a crisis and will not have time for Ukraine.”

“As long as one side is unable to continue the war, this is still a war of attrition,” he said.

Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller warned on Wednesday that “all cities” in Europe could freeze and said there was no guarantee that Europe would survive the winter with its current gas reserves.

Economists and business executives say sanctions are starting to hit the Russian economy harder, budget cuts have already been imposed – the proposed price ceiling Payable In the group of seven nations From December, there will be further damage to Russian oil sales. “He will be low on cash … he will need money to pay for weapons for Iran and North Korea,” the Russian president said. But in December, we’ll see a whole new reality, says Sergei Guriev, provost at the Paris-based Paris-based Paris-based Paris-based Paris-based Polytechnic University.

A second member of Moscow’s business elite said every front line of bad news is a new setback for the Russian economy as more and tougher sanctions are expected.

“The whole business is suffering from what is happening. All have suspended their investment plans. Earlier beliefs that Russia would divert trade from the West through China, Kazakhstan and India are quickly melting away, the two business executives said. Kazakhstan has begun blocking shipments of European goods to Russia, and the Chinese have begun cutting off some supplies.

“Everybody was completely upset. The feeling is very bad,” said a third senior Russian businessman.

Members of Moscow’s elite are beginning to talk about a leadership change unprecedented in Putin’s more than 20 years in power – though no one can say how or when that might happen.

“We are starting to enter a revolutionary situation,” said the first government official. “Other than what’s happening now, everyone is waiting: a different leadership, a different war. The Hawks need a strong action. Pigeons want no war. The time is ripe for a change in the political system. But I don’t know how it will happen.”



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