Russian President Vladimir Putin rarely gets public criticism. But because the Russian people were told that the Ukraine war would last 48 hours. By May 31, it has endured 97 days—Putin has faced public criticism from senior Kremlin officials and other well-known Russian influencers, indicating Putin may be losing support.
Before the invasion, people who publicly disagreed with Putin on political issues disappeared or mysteriously turned up dead. Some examples include Ukraine’s third president Viktor Yushchenko said that he hoped Europe would wake up to the Russian threat. He was poisoned with dioxin (but lived). Other political opponents, such as Sergei Skripal, Boris Nemtsov, and Denis Voronenkov, were killed. Putin also has a different way of dealing with what he considers fake news. The murders of journalists Natalia Estemirova, Anastasiya Baburova, and Yuri Shchekochikhin are examples.
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People in senior Kremlin positions have publicly criticized the war and its handling. Some are even resigning. This is being done despite Putin’s track record of murdering opponents.
Here are some examples of the Russian critics:
- Anatoly Chubais, who has been a senior member of the Russian government since the days of Boris Yeltsin when he orchestrated mass privatization of the economy, resigned because he disagreed with the Ukraine invasion. After his resignation, he left the country ASAP before Putin could do anything to him. Before the war, that wouldn’t[ always help. Viktor Yushchenko was in Britain when he was poisoned.
- Boris Bondarev, a veteran Russian diplomat at the Geneva U.N., “handed in his resignation before sending out a scathing letter to foreign colleagues inveighing against the ‘aggressive war unleashed’ by Russian President Vladimir Putin in Ukraine. Adding’ I been so ashamed of my country as on Feb. 24 of this year,'”
- Maxim Vlasov, and Vitaly Kovtun. Each Colonel cussed out Putin over the war in a phone call bugged by the Ukraine secret service. “Kovtun was heard saying, there must have been a f****** missile hitting Kyiv, the Supreme Rada. “Why didn’t it? Why not? I don’t understand, f*** Putin, motherf*****! Why wasn’t there a missile strike at Kyiv?” Vlasov blasted Defense Minister Shoigu as a “totally incompetent layman…he is simply a showman.”
- Sergei Sobyanin, Moscow’s Mayor, worried about the effect of the Putin war on the economy. “According to our estimates, about 200,000 people are at risk of losing their jobs,” Sobyanin wrote in an official blog post, according to a translation from Business Insider.
- Mikhail Khodarenok, a military analyst and retired Colonel, displayed his displeasure with the Ukraine war while being interviewed on Russian TV. He indicated that the war was all about politics and was already lost. Three days later, he took a half step away from his comments, claiming, “The Russian Federation is yet to utilize even one-tenth of its military-economic potential.” MMMmmm.
- Oleg Deripaska, a metals tycoon, called the war “insanity” in late March, saying it could have ended “three weeks ago through reasonable negotiation.” He warned fighting could continue for “several more years.
- Aleksandr Sladkov, a Russian military journalist and ex-serviceman, wrote on Russian cross-platform social media Telegram, saying, “‘Notice the difference: we used to speak of the Kharkiv offensive, the Kyiv offensive,’ Mr. Sladkov said. ‘Now our successes are of a different format, and we’re naming successful offensives with the names of modest towns.'”
These are just a few examples of the many public figures publicly disagreeing with Putin. This raises the question, is the Russian tyrant losing the support of senior Russian influencers, and if there are many publically criticizing Putin’s war and how it is being handled, how many agree with the Putin critics but not speaking out publicly.
I believe that is the case. We will know soon.
In the interim, Putin should hire a food taster.