The Kremlin’s Campaign against the West resembles a Milblogger Campaign: Victory in Ukraine, Survival in the War with the West
Mr. Dugin said that victory in Ukraine is vital to Russia’s survival in the battle against the West.
The timing couldn’t have been worse. As he declared that the DONETSK region had been annexed by Russia, Putin lost Lyman.
Two powerful Putin supporters called for using harsher fighting methods when they railed against the Kremlin a day before, because they believed that the illegally annexed area of Russia would be Russian forever.
But the soldiers interviewed on the Sunday broadcast said they had been forced to retreat because they were fighting not only with Ukrainians, but with NATO soldiers.
“The current onslaught of criticism and reporting of operational military details by the Kremlin’s propagandists has come to resemble the milblogger discourse over the past week. General statements of progress and avoiding detailed discussions of current military operations were some of the things the Kremlin narrative focused on. The Kremlin had never openly recognized a major failure in the war prior to its devastating loss in Kharkiv Oblast, which prompted the partial reserve mobilization.”
The broadcast seemed intended to convince Russians who have doubts about the war or feel anger over plans to call up as many as 300,000 civilians that any hardships they bear are to be blamed on a West that is bent on destroying Russia at all costs.
In an interview, the father of a prominent nationalist commentator who died in a car bomb in August repeated the idea that Russia is fighting a broader campaign.
Mr. Dugin and Mr. Putin have accused Western countries of attacking the Nord Stream gas pipe, which blew up after underwater explosions last month.
The West accuses us of blowing up the gas pipelines, he said. The war is happening on a scale and extent that we don’t know. In other words, we must join this battle with a mortal enemy who does not hesitate to use any means, including exploding gas pipelines.”
The nonstop messaging campaign may be working at the moment. Russian citizens feel threatened by the West said a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace who is from Russia.
The display of brutality and vengeance by Putin might be a reaction to the destruction of his signature bridge. With his indiscriminate target ofUkrainian civilians, a new turn in the war is possible.
Editor’s Note: Peter Bergen is CNN’s national security analyst, a vice president at New America, and a professor of practice at Arizona State University. Bergen is the author of “The Cost of Chaos: The Trump Administration and the World.” The views he has expressed are of his own. CNN has more opinions on it.
The War Between Russia and the Soviet Union: A Revisionist Viewpoint of Putin’s Strategy for a Solution to the Ukranian Crisis
Russian President Putin had a plan to take over Ukranian. The Russians did not capture the city of Kyiv in the first few days of their invasion.
The Ukrainian counteroffensive has made its mark on key areas of Russian- controlled territory, such as the transportation hub city of Lyman.
With even his allies expressing concern, and hundreds of thousands of citizens fleeing partial mobilization, an increasingly isolated Putin has once again taken to making rambling speeches offering his distorted view of history.
His revisionist account paints a picture of his rationale for the war in Ukraine, stating that even though the Soviet Union had ended, Russia had still remained a part of it.
The book about the soviet invasion of Afghanistan, “Afghan Crucible”, was written by historian Elisabeth Leake, and explains that the soviets wanted to install a puppet government in Afghanistan as soon as possible.
The war against the Soviets in Afghanistan resulted in a larger conflict with the Soviet Union, meaning that the US initially resisted ramping up its support for the Afghan resistance. It took until 1986 for the CIA to arm the Afghans with highly effective anti-aircraft Stinger missiles, which ended the Soviets’ total air superiority, eventually forcing them to withdraw from Afghanistan three years later.
If Russia does use a nuclear weapon in Ukraine, it would be the first nation state to do so since the United States bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. It would also be alms to the increasingly aggressive pundits and influencers who have worked overtime to keep up support for the war at home.
But the US put those fears to rest relatively quickly, and American-supplied anti-tank Javelin missiles and High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), GPS-guided missiles, have helped the Ukrainians to push back against the Russians.
The story of the Russian revolution in Bucha, Ukraine, and the defeat of the Romanov monarchy by the Russo-Japanese army in 1905
Putin is also surely aware that the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 was hastened by the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan two years earlier.
Looking further back into the history books, he must also know that the Russian loss in the Russo-Japanese war in 1905 weakened the Romanov monarchy. The Russian Revolution was started by Czar Nicholas II, because of his leadership during the First World War. Subsequently, much of the Romanov family was killed by a Bolshevik firing squad.
Observers say that Russia’s military has been adapting. While Putin never got the victory parade in Kyiv his generals were planning for, he has appointed a new battlefield commander, signaling another change in strategy.
Instead, the war has given the world an unending series of surprises. Putin was not the genius many believed; the army of Russia was not as good as was 888-269-5556 888-269-5556 888-269-5556 888-269-5556.
Putin is a tragic example of how delusions and illusions can be allowed to shape events without any challenge. The autocrats who control the media, put their cronies in key positions, and force their subordinates to follow foolish orders are able to command their subordinates.
A former colonel- general in the Russian military said that they need to stop lying. “We brought this up many times before … It is not getting through to individual senior figures.
The Ministry of Defense was evading the truth about Ukrainian cross-border strikes in Russian regions, according to Kartapolov.
Valuyki is in Russia’s Belgorod region, near the border with Ukraine. A neither-confirm-nor-deny stance has generally been adopted by the Kyiv when it comes to attacking Russian targets.
To those who argue Ukraine should stop fighting now, and accept lost territory, I say, come with me and meet the citizens who survived Russian atrocities in Bucha. Come hear the stories that I hear of life in towns and villages in Eastern Ukraine overtaken by Russian forces: the killing and persecution of mayors, public activists, journalists, volunteers, priests, artists and countless others. During this brutal occupation, people have had no rights, they cannot protect their freedom, property, life and dearest. There can’t be peace until the Russians leave our territories.
There is no need for the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation to be shadowed by any traitors or incompetent commanders because of the gaps that exist today. “Indeed, many say that the Minister of Defense [Sergei Shoigu], who allowed this situation to happen, could, as an officer, shoot himself. But, you know, the word officer is an unfamiliar word for many.”
Kadyrov was a lot more willing to blame Russian commanders after Russia retreated from the strategic Ukrainian city of Lyman.
Writing on Telegram, Kadyrov personally blamed Colonel-General Aleksandr Lapin, the commander of Russia’s Central Military District, for the debacle, accusing him of moving his headquarters away from his subordinates and failing to adequately provide for his troops.
“The Russian information space has significantly deviated from the narratives preferred by the Kremlin and the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) that things are generally under control,” ISW noted in its recent analysis.
Kadyrov – who recently announced that he had been promoted by Putin to the rank of colonel general – has been one of the most prominent voices arguing for the draconian methods of the past. He recently said in another Telegram post that, if he had his way, he would give the government extraordinary wartime powers in Russia.
“Yes, if it were my will, I would declare martial law throughout the country and use any weapon, because today we are at war with the whole NATO bloc,” Kadyrov said in a post that also seemed to echo Putin’s not-so-subtle threats that Russia might contemplate the use of nuclear weapons.
My capital, which the Kremlin and the West expected to fall in three days, has withstood 12 months of Russia’s terrorist bombings and energy blackouts. The Russians have been able to bring the stars to closer to heaven because of the dark winter nights.
On the mountain-flanked steppes of southwestern Kyrgyzstan, the result in just one remote village has been devastating: homes reduced to rubble, a burned-out school and a gut-wrenching stench emanating from the rotting carcasses of 24,000 dead chickens.
The area fell victim last month to the worst bloodshed since the collapse of the soviet union, and both Russia and a military alliance dedicated to preserving peace did nothing to stop it.
And so it was via a video call that Ievheniia, a 36-year-old PhD candidate working as an IT consultant, told me her story. She trusted a stranger with her pain to raise awareness about the fight which, since the start of Russia’s invasion in February, has claimed the lives of thousands of Ukrainian soldiers.
Even amid irrepressible jubilation here in Ukraine in the aftermath of a massive explosion that hit the hugely strategic and symbolic Kerch Straight bridge over the weekend, fears of retaliation by the Kremlin were never far away.
For many in Ukraine, the blow to such a strategically important bridge was cause for celebration. The meme was produced by the postal service of Ukrposhta.
Even though Ukraine has not officially taken responsibility for the attack, there are many jokes about Putin’s 70th birthday.
Even though most may think of memes as a phenomenon that sprouted with the coming of age of the Internet, memes actually date back decades — if not centuries. Long before the invention of the internet, experts say, memes have functioned as an analog way for humans to communicate and joke with one another.
In Ukraine, the country has long used memes, along with others in the post-Soviet space, to be critical of the Soviet Union, says Sigita Struberga, a researcher at the department of political science at the University of Latvia.
The secretary general of the Latvian Transatlanic said that the meme gives an open door to address target audiences in a more sharp form.
Struberga says the Ukrainian army, politicians and civil society have all been using humor very well in order to reach local and foreign audiences.
Ukraine’s energy crisis during the Ukrainian air strike on Sunday centered on the Donetsk city close to the largest nuclear power plant in Europe
Michael Bociurkiw is a global affairs analyst. He is a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and a former spokesperson for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. He is a regular contributor to CNN Opinion. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his own. View more opinion at CNN.
Yesterday, Russia hit at least 11 Ukrainian cities with missiles in its broadest aerial assault against civilians since the invasion’s early days. But even amid destruction, many people sheltered for only a few hours. A few people went back to their lives. As my colleague Megan Specia, a Times foreign correspondent, left a shelter in the capital of Kyiv, she saw residents walking dogs and riding electric scooters.
The strike took place just after midnight on Sunday, targeting a vocational school housing Russian conscripts in Makiivka, in the Donetsk region, according to both Ukrainian and pro-Russian accounts.
The area around my office in Odesa remained quiet as air raid sirens blared, with reports that three missiles and five drones were shot down. Normally at this time of the day, nearby restaurants would be filled with customers and chatter of upcoming weddings and parties.
Monday’s attacks also came just a few hours after Zaporizhzhia, a southeastern city close to the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, was hit by multiple strikes on apartment buildings, mostly while people slept. Several dozens of people were injured and seventeen of them were killed.
In a video filmed outside his office Monday, a defiant President Volodymyr Zelensky said it appeared many of the 100 or so missile strikes across Ukraine were aimed at the country’s energy infrastructure. At least 11 important infrastructure facilities in eight regions and the capital have been damaged; some provinces are without power, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said.
In the northeastern city of Kharkiv, which has experienced more bombardment than Kyiv, there is a shortage of canned food, gas and drinking water. Yet they also entertained themselves at the Typsy Cherry, a local bar. “The mood was cheerful,” its owner, Vladyslav Pyvovar, told The Times. “People drank, had fun and wondered when the electricity will resume.” (Power came back hours later.)
Millions of people in cities across Ukraine will be in bomb shelters for most of the day in order to be safer, and businesses have been asked to shift work online as much as possible.
Just as many regions of Ukraine were starting to roar back to life, and with countless asylum seekers returning home, the attacks risk causing another blow to business confidence.
Moscow Addresses the Poynting Crisis: Putin’s Bridge Over the Sea and the Road Bridge Between the Portuguese and British Territories
Hardwiring newly claimed territory with expensive, record-breaking infrastructure projects seems to be a penchant of dictators. Putin opened the bridge with a truck. It wasn’t long after Beijing reclaimed Macau and Hong Kong that the Chinese president decided to build a bridge over the sea connecting the former Portuguese and British territories. The road bridge has been delayed for the past two years.
The hilarious meme that lit up social media channels was a reaction to the explosion. Text messages allowed people to express their jubilation.
It was a cynical act of desperation that Putin had placed himself on thin ice because of the criticism he faced at home.
Before Monday’s strikes, the Chief of the Main Intelligence Directorate at Ukraine’s Defense Ministry, Major General Kyrylo Budanov, had told Ukrainian journalist Roman Kravets in late August that, “by the end of the year at the minimum we have to enter Crimea” – suggesting a plan to push back Russian forces to pre-2014 lines, which is massively supported by Ukrainians I’ve spoken to.
It is vital that Washington and other allied states use urgent telephone diplomacy to urge China and India to resist the temptation to use even more deadly weapons.
The West needs to show unity and resolve against a man who seems to exploit divisions and probes for weakness. Western governments need to be aware that sanctions have no effect on Putin’s actions. They need to continue to arm Ukrainians and provide urgent training, even if it means sending military experts closer to the battlefield to speed up the integration of high technology weapons.
It is important to protect the energy infrastructure around the country with high tech defense systems. With winter just around the corner, the need to protect heating systems is urgent.
The Times of War: Putin’s Attacks on Ukrain and its Associated Human Rights Violations as the Russian President tries to find New Targets
The time has also come for the West to further isolate Russia with trade and travel restrictions – but for that to have sufficient impact, Turkey and Gulf states, which receive many Russian tourists, need to be pressured to come on board.
After spending months in air raid shelters because of the subway bombings, city dwellers managed to get back to normal but the attacks have left them afraid of more strikes and snatched away the normality they had been accustomed to.
The message was obvious for the world to see. Putin does not intend to be humiliated. He is not going to admit defeat. He is prepared to cause carnage and terror if he chooses to.
It was Putin who was trying to find new targets because of his inability to damage the Ukrainian army on the battlefield.
The bombing of power installations, in particular, Monday appeared to be an unsubtle hint of the misery the Russian President could inflict as winter sets in, even as his forces retreat in the face of Ukrainian troops using Western arms.
The White House did not say exactly what the advanced air systems Biden offered would be used for, but he spoke to Zelensky and offered them.
John Kirby, who is the coordination for strategic communications at the National Security Council, was quoted as saying that Washington was looking favorably onUkraine’s requests and that they were in touch with the government in Kyiv almost every day. “We do the best we can in subsequent packages to meet those needs,” he told CNN’s Kate Bolduan.
Kirby couldn’t say whether Putin was shifting his strategy from a battlefield war to a campaign to harm civilian lives and infrastructure in Ukrain, though he suggested it was a trend that had already been in motion.
“It likely was something that they had been planning for quite some time. Kirby said that the explosion on the bridge might have accelerated some of their planning, but that wasn’t true.
It would be in line with the resume of the Russian general in charge of the war, who served in Syria and Chechnya. In both places, Russia indiscriminately bombarded civilian areas and razed built-up districts and infrastructure and is accused of committing serious human rights violations.
Moscow conducted nuclear weapons drills and accused the Ukraine of planning a false-flag attack which could have been a dirty bomb.
The Western Hemisphere is concerned that Monday’s rush hour attacks in Ukranian may lead to another pivot in the conflict.
“He was telegraphing about where he is going to go as we get into the winter. He is going to try to force the Ukrainian population to compromise, to give up territory, by going after this infrastructure,” Vindman said on CNN’s “New Day.”
Russian authorities admitted a high death toll. Around 400 Russian soldiers were killed, but the Ukrainian military claimed that they had killed more than that. CNN is unable to independently verify the death toll. In either case, the strike marks one of the deadliest episodes of the conflict for Moscow’s forces.
“So imagine if we had modern equipment, we probably could raise the number of those drones and missiles downed and not kill innocent civilians or wound and injure Ukrainians,” Zhovkva said.
Any prolonged campaign by Putin against civilians would be aimed at breaking Ukrainian morale and possibly unleashing a new flood of refugees into Western Europe that might open divisions among NATO allies that are supporting Ukraine.
The lesson of this horrible war is that everything Putin has done to fracture a nation he doesn’t believe has the right to exist has only strengthened and unified it.
A mother of three who is documenting the war on film, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that she was angry at the return of fear and violence to the lives of Ukrainians from a new round of Russian “terror.”
She said this is just another terror to cause panic and frighten other countries, or show to his own people that he is still a bloody tyrant.
We are all going to exist, it is up to you. Whether Ukraine is going to exist. Every day. Every hour. He said that the decision would be made by Ukrainian soldiers.
MOSCOW — For months, Russia’s state media has insisted that the country was hitting only military targets in Ukraine, leaving out the suffering that the invasion has brought to millions of civilians.
State television also reported the suffering on Monday. It showed plumes of smoke and carnage in central Kyiv, along with empty store shelves and a long-range forecast promising months of freezing temperatures there.
What a far-right Ukrainian organization might do about the Russo-Ukrainian war: The Wikimedia Foundation does not tolerate a nuclear bomb
There are 86 editors that have been banned from Wikipedia. The editors tried to sway narratives on the English-language Wikipedia page for the Russo-Ukrainian war towards pro-Kremlin views, through subtle changes like casting doubt on the objectivity of pro-Western accounts, changing historical context, and adding links from Russian state-owned news and websites.
Even though some cases have raised suspicion, it has proved difficult to prove government intervention. In 2021, the Wikimedia Foundation banned seven users from mainland China and revoked privileges for 12 other users because they had threatened to kill Hong Kong editors. Speculation of “pro-China infiltration,” however, was never proven.
Francis Scarr, who analyzes Russian media daily, said that a Russian lawmaker told audiences on the state-owned TV channel that if the city needs to be torn down, their flag should go up.
The pro-Kremlin media have been suggesting that Putin take the extraordinary step of launching a nuclear strike against Ukraine. Across Russian state TV and social media sites, pundits and presenters warned that Europe could be reduced to ashes should it continue its support for Ukraine.
“Our information on Ukraine’s potential provocations involving the use of a nuclear bomb is sufficiently reliable,” Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov told a press conference on October 24. Defense minister Sergei Shoigu had conveyed this supposedly reliable information to the leaders of the United States, United Kingdom, France, and Turkey, according to read-outs from the Russian government.
“For Russian television, it’s pretty standard to use nuclear threats,” says Stepanenko. Russian media often reminds their domestic audience that they are a powerful state, and that they have nuclear weapons.
One popular account with nearly 100,000 followers uploaded a video in early February claiming to show a far-right Ukrainian organization constructing such a bomb: Hands clad in black gloves adjusted a radiological meter atop a barrel, supposedly, of nuclear material. The account warned that the bomb would be used against Russian troops in the event of an invasion.
The video, however, was quickly debunked—the Ukrainian-language video is rife with spelling mistakes and shows common industrial equipment, according to the Ukrainian fact-check organization StopFake. Nevertheless, the basic claim remained a constant reference for those pro-Kremlin Telegram accounts—appearing in hundreds of posts over the last eight months, being viewed hundreds of thousands of times.
There were anti-tank mines and bridges over canals as we traveled through smaller towns and settlements.
The destruction of Kherson by the Russians: a moment of euphoria in the wake of CNN’s victory on March 3
Trenches and checkpoints were empty, quickly abandoned by Russians who on Friday announced they had withdrawn from the west bank of the Dnipro River in the strategic southern region of Kherson, leaving the regional capital of the same name and surrounding areas to the Ukrainians.
The outskirts of the city, which had been occupied by Russian forces since March 3, were deserted, with no military presence except for a Ukrainian checkpoint around 5 miles outside of the city center, where half a dozen soldiers waved CNN’s crew in.
There is no internet, no water and no power in the city. The mood was celebratory as a CNN crew entered on Saturday.
Once the scene of large protests against Russian plans to transform the region into a breakaway pro-Russian republic, the streets of Kherson are now filled with jubilant residents wrapped in Ukrainian flags, or with painted faces, singing and shouting.
The military is still limited and there is huge cheers from the crowd whenever a truck full of soldiers drives past.
The old man and woman hugged a young soldier with their hands on the soldier’s shoulder as CNN stopped to regroup.
This whole year has been full of tears and worries. People who were close to me were killed by Russians, and I read the news about it.
Everyone wants you to understand what the occupier have gone through and how much they appreciate the countries that have helped them.
Everyone we have spoken to knows that there will be tougher days to come, and that the Russians could shell them here. It is also unclear whether all Russian troops have left Kherson and the wider region. There is still uncertainty behind this euphoria.
If Ukrainian President Zelenskyy follows through on his threat of banning the Russian Orthodox Church, then many are watching to see.
NPR Report on the State of Ukraine, with a video address by Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Paris during his return to the United States
French President Emmanuel Macron hosts European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store for a working dinner Monday in Paris.
Also in France, on Tuesday, the country is set to co-host a conference with Ukraine in support of Ukrainians through the winter, with a video address by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Fans, family and friends of the basketball player celebrated his return to the US after he was released from a Russian prison. Meanwhile, some Republican politicians have been complaining about the prisoner swap and other U.S. citizens still held by Russia.
New measures targeting Russian oil revenue took effect Dec. 5. A price cap and a European Union embargo on most Russian oil imports are included.
Zelenskyy said that the city of Bakhmut was turned into burned ruins by Russian forces. Russia is attempting to advance on the city in the eastern Donbas region.
It was the year of 2019. The commander in chief had traveled to Paris for a summit to negotiate a peace deal with Putin. Zelensky gave few concessions despite the doubts of many.
You can read past recaps here. You can find more of NPR’s coverage here. Also, listen and subscribe to NPR’s State of Ukraine podcast for updates throughout the day.
Ukraine is a dark fairy tale; from marriage ceremony to funeral – for grieving mother Ieveniia, whose baby is nursing her son denys
December is the month of fairy tales, when we can only be reassured of the “happily ever after” when we peer into the darkness.
We joked that our life was like a dark fairy tale with a happy ending. And now it’s over,” says Ievheniia, a displaced Ukrainian woman in Poland who this December is nursing her two-month-old son – and raw grief for the child’s father.
With a newborn baby, Ievheniia was unable to travel back to Ukraine for her husband’s funeral. She asked her relatives to watch it. The internet connection in Ukraine has become unreliable due to Russia’s attacks on critical infrastructure. Denys was buried in a closed coffin.
In this dark Ukrainian fairy tale, pivotal moments – from marriage ceremony to funeral – take place via video link. In a time of war, love is shifted to the digital space and disrupted mid-plot.
As we hurry to bring gifts to our loved ones, enchanted by the flickering of Christmas lights, we must remember the country in Europe plunged into darkness by Russia’s barbaric imperialist war.
The wedding of a fairy tale soldier in Ukraine, Denys, during the December 17th, 1917, when she joins the army
If called upon, Ievheniia will join the army of Ukraine in eight years. She explained that she is not the sort of person who flees.
She took a pregnancy test on the weekend, just in case. “With war and evacuation, the ground was slipping under one’s feet,” she said with a laugh. I was pregnant on top of that.
The pregnant woman who planned to defend her homeland joined the flood of refugees looking for safety in Poland.
After war ended, Ievheniia and Denys sought to show their partnership in the eyes of the state. The everyday ingenuity of the country at war was at work; now, Ukrainian servicemen are allowed to marry via a video call. We got married remote by a handsome man in a uniform, instead of boring civil servants. I had nothing to complain about,” Ievheniia said.
During the following months, Denys kept the magic alive by ordering flowers and professional photography from the trenches.
Denys raised the alarm when Ievheniia missed her phone call and a rescue squad found her unconscious in her apartment. A delay could have resulted in death. A Caesarean section followed. The dad was able to meet his son because he was born two months early.
Under martial law, Ukrainian men of fighting age, let alone servicemen, are not currently allowed to leave the country. Yet as is appropriate for a fairy tale, Denys got permission, crossed the border, and spent five days with his family.
It was a magical time filled with all kinds of mundane things. Then he left. It was his birthday on November 17 and we sent him greetings,” Ievheniia remembered. “The next day he was killed.”
The time has come: the Italian folktale of the birth of the world – an example of the struggle for the survival of the Ukrainian people in the war against evil
Folktales are called consolatory fables in Italy because of their rare fairy tale ending badly. The time has not yet come if it does. It is time to act.
The narrative logic of a fairy tale is not something that we should be fooled by. The wily kid will not defeat the monster with the aid of magic. Like ten months ago, Ukrainians need military aid sufficient to bring a decisive victory over Russia, not just prolong the fight with enormous sacrifices. Our collective effort is what determines Ukrainian victory.
“As a teenager, I was reading a lot of fantasy books and wondering how I would act in a fight against absolute evil. Can I turn away and continue with my daily life? Ievheniia told me. All of us have a chance to find out.
Zelensky: a scrappy kid who fought for his country’s independence in the midst of a major war
Zelensky was an inspiring leader in recent memory. NATO was more unified, Europeans more willing to support the Ukrainian people than they were expected to be.
In Paris at the time, I witnessed how Zelensky pulled up to the Élysée Palace in a modest Renault, while Putin motored in with an ostentatious armored limousine. (The host, French President Emmanuel Macron, hugged Putin but chose only to shake hands with Zelensky).
Zelensky is the wartime president in trademark olive green who stirs the imaginations of people worldwide as he names and shames allies that don’t arm his military.
Zelensky’s upbringing in the rough and tumble neighborhoods of Kryvyi Rih in central Ukraine shaped him into a scrappy kid who learned how to respond to bullies.
“After the full-scale invasion, once he got into a position of being bullied by someone like Vladimir Putin he knew exactly what he needed to do because it was just his gut feeling,” Yevhen Hlibovytsky, former political journalist and founder of the Kyiv-based think tank and consultancy, pro.mova, told me.
The leader of the United States offered to evacuate them when Russia launched its full-scale invasion, but then quipped that he didn’t need a ride.
It’s been a long time since Zelensky thanked his supporters for his huge victory in the Ukrainian presidential election during his campaign celebration in a club in Kyiv. He looked in a state of disbelief as he stood on the stage, and saw that he had defeated Petro Poroshenko.
One year after Russia invaded Ukraine, President Zelensky said he was sure that his country would win the war.
Many of the people in his bubble have previous professional jobs as a TV comedian. Even in the midst of the war, a press conference held on the platform of a Kyiv metro station in April featured perfect lighting and curated camera angles to emphasize a wartime setting.
As for his skills as comforter in chief, I remember well the solace his nightly televised addresses brought in the midst of air raid sirens and explosions in Lviv.
She’ll be There, but it’s going to take a toll on Putin and the Russian-Russian War: Zelensky in London
Zelensky is projecting confidence and competence in a modern way, to a younger, global audience that recognizes it as such by wearing T-shirts and hoodies.
Journeying to where her husband can’t, Zelenska has shown herself to be an effective communicator in international fora – projecting empathy, style and smarts. She met with King Charles during a visit to a refugee assistance center in London. Zelenaska wasn’t included on the cover of TIME magazine, but she was mentioned in the supporting text.
There are subtle signs that Zelensky’s influence could be waning. Zelensky urged the G7 to set a cap on Russian crude at $30 in order to cause more damage to the Kremlin, despite the fact that they imposed a $60 per barrel price cap.
Responding to a question from CNN’s Christiane Amanpour at a press conference in the capital city, Zelensky said: “Victory will be inevitable. I am certain that there will be a victory.
Zelensky succeeded in his goal of persuading Russians to support him in a patriotic war in order to distract them from his failures at home. In Putin’s mind, to be shown up by a mere ‘decadent’ comedian must be excruciatingly painful for him,” New York-based geopolitical and business analyst Michael Popow told me.
We have everything we need for it. The friends, diplomacy and the motivation are what we have. You have all come together for this,” Zelensky said. “If we all do our important homework, victory will be inevitable.”
Vladimir Putin hasn’t promised to end the war in Ukraine, but he will continue to push for a peace deal with the Kremlin
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday used the word “war” to refer to the conflict in Ukraine, the first known time he has publicly deviated from his carefully crafted description of Moscow’s invasion as a “special military operation” 10 months after it began.
Putin told reporters after attending a State Council meeting that the goal is not to spin military conflict, but to end it. They have been working to get this.
Nikita Yuferev, a municipal lawmaker from St. Petersburg who fled Russia due to his antiwar stance, on Thursday said he had asked Russian authorities to prosecute Putin for “spreading fake information about the army.”
“There was no decree to end the special military operation, no war was declared,” Yuferev wrote on Twitter. There are many people who have been condemned for their words about the war.
A US official told CNN their initial assessment was that Putin’s remark was not intentional and likely a slip of the tongue. However, officials will be watching closely to see what figures inside the Kremlin say about it in the coming days.
Putin had accused Zelensky of refusing to negotiate, but he said all conflicts end one way or the other with negotiations.
The Ukrainian president has repeatedly rejected the idea of negotiating a peace deal that would see Ukraine lose any of its territory. Speaking on Friday, he said he would not negotiate with Putin – even though he was prepared to speak to him before the war started.
State-of-the-Art Laws Protecting Freedom During the War in Ukraine: Vice President Sergei Shoigu (Rwanda) Declared Putin on Wednesday
Putin and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on Wednesday declared the Kremlin would make a substantial investment in many areas of the military. Increasing the size of the military, increasing the weapons programs, and using a new generation of hypersonic missiles are some of the initiatives that were put forward by Putin.
She said that the Putin regime has done a good job of forcing out viable alternatives and then on the other side, there is fear of going into the streets if there isn’t a clear path.
She said she stopped attending demos when the war became too dangerous. She doesn’t see a scenario under which the regime in Russia could be overthrown any time soon, she said, pointing out that all of the opposition leaders “are in jail or have been killed.”
CNN doesn’t use full names of individuals who were critical of the Kremlin. Public criticism of the war in Ukraine or statements that discredit Russia’s military can potentially mean a fine or a prison sentence.
The laws were passed in February and prohibit criticism of the military or leadership. Nearly 20,000 people have been detained for demonstrating against the war — 45% of them women — according to a leading independent monitoring group.
Anyone found guilty of spreading fake information about the invasion ofUkraine will face a penalty of up to 15 years in prison. This month, a Russian court sentenced journalist Maria Ponomarenko to six years in prison for a Telegram post that the court said spread supposedly “false information” about a Russian airstrike on a theater in Mariupol, Ukraine, that killed hundreds, state news agency TASS reported.
Any remnants of a free press have been wiped out since the war started. Western publications and social media sites have been blocked online, forcing Russians seeking alternatives to the official propaganda to go underground using virtual private networks, or VPNs, which allow people to browse the internet freely by encrypting their internet traffic. Data from Sensortower, an apps market research company, show the top eight VPN apps in Russia were downloaded almost 80 million times in Russia this year, despite the government’s efforts to crack down on their use.
Putin claimed it was a good way to rid Russian society of people who were spies and traitors. Russian officials have suggested stripping those who left the country of their passports. Yet there are questions whether Russia can thrive without many of its best and brightest.
The US Border Patrol recorded 36,271 encounters with Russian citizens between October 2021 and September 2022. The number includes people who were apprehended or expelled by the border force and is significantly higher than the 13,240 and 5,946 recorded in the two previous fiscal years.
OK Russians, a non-profit helping Russian citizens fleeing persecution, said its surveys suggest those who are leaving are on average younger and more educated than the general Russian public.
“If you take the Moscow liberal intelligentsia, and of course, I’m talking only about the people I know and I know of, I would say that maybe 70% left. It is journalists, sometimes schools, artists, people who have clubs and Foundations in Moscow that get closed down, Soldatov said.
“If you are losing the educated middle-class portion of the population, then it matters for your economic prospects, but it also matters for the potential political reconstitution of the country,” said Kristine Berzina, a Russia expert at the German Marshall Fund of the United States. The exodus of liberal, educated Iranians following the country’s 1979 revolution was an example of what can happen when large numbers leave the country.
Maria said she remains determined to stay in Russia, even though all of her friends and her son have left. Maria doesn’t want to leave her elderly mother, who can’t travel abroad. “If I knew for sure that the borders would not be closed and I could come at any time if my mother needed my help, it would probably be easier for me to leave. But knowing that something else could happen at any moment scares me,” she told CNN.
She said that she is unsure about any hope for the future, but she still thinks her work is important. She said that her own life was characterized by panic, horror, shame, and self-doubt.
“You’re constantly torn apart: Are you to blame? Did you not do enough? Can you do something else or not, and how should you act now?” she said. There are no possibilities. I’m an adult, and I didn’t exactly have all my life figured out, but all in all I understood what would happen next. Nobody is able to comprehend anything. People don’t understand what will happen to them tomorrow.
Soldatov said he had begun to question his own identity. “The things we held dear, like the memory of the Second World War, for instance, became completely compromised,” he said, referring to Putin’s baseless claim that Russian forces are “denazifying” Ukraine.
It feels wrong because the Russian army was used to help win the war against Germany, and this message was used by Putin. You start questioning the history,” he said, adding that the favorable reaction by some parts of the Russian society to the invasion prompted him to research pre-war rhetoric in Germany.
Speaking about Russians as “us” had begun to feel wrong because he deeply disagreed with Russia’s actions, he said. But saying the word “Russians” didn’t seem right either. “Because of course, I’m Russian, I also have some partial responsibility for what is going on and I do not want to hide from it.”
Maria, a historian by training, has spent years taking part in anti-government protests, describing herself as a liberal deeply opposed to Putin, a former KGB agent. I always believed that our country shouldn’t have someone from the KGB in charge of it. It is too deeply rooted with horrors, deaths and all that,” she said.
Berzina said that the expectation of some in the West – that “once people start feeling as though their leaders are doing wrong, that there is an immediate wave of protests on the streets and call for government change that actually has an effect” – does not reflect the reality of life in Russia.
Most of the opposition and opinion leaders are either in prison or abroad. There is no leader, no power base, and people have a lot of potential for political action, but not against security forces.
“It is probably difficult for people from democratic countries to understand the realities of life in a powerful autocracy,” she said. “It’s a terrifying feeling of one’s own insignificance and helplessness in front of a gigantic machine of death and madness.”
War against Ukraine Has Left Russia Isolated and Ststruggling with More Tumult ahedredge: The Case of the Soviet Armed Forces
A month later, Putin claimed that his forces were embarking on a limited military campaign that would wrap up in a matter of weeks.
The war broke a post-Soviet period in which the country pursued, if not always, democratic reforms, and at least financial integration and dialogue with the West.
Even Russia’s most revered human rights group, 2022’s Nobel Prize co-recipient Memorial, was forced to stop its activities over alleged violations of the foreign agents law.
Russia’s already restrictive anti-LGBT laws have been vastly expanded by the state, as they argue that the conflict in Ukraine is an attack on traditional values.
For now, repressions remain targeted. Some of the new laws are not enforced. But few doubt the measures are intended to crush wider dissent — should the moment arise.
Leading independent media outlets were forced to shut down or relocate outside of the US because of new “fake news” laws that criminalized reporting contrary to the government line.
Restrictions extend to internet users as well. The American social media giants were banned in March. Since the beginning of the conflict, more than 100,000 websites have been blocked by the Kremlin’s internet regulators.
Invasion of Crimea and Crimea in the Early Years of the Second World War: The Fate of the Russian Exodus in the Cold War
Thousands of perceived government opponents — many of them political activists, civil society workers and journalists — left in the war’s early days amid concerns of persecution.
Hundreds of thousands of Russians fled across the border to avoid the draft, after Putin ordered 300,000 additional troops to be deployed in September.
Meanwhile, some countries that have absorbed the Russian exodus predict their economies will grow, even as the swelling presence of Russians remains a sensitive issue to former Soviet republics in particular.
The ruble regained value because of the Russian price controls. McDonald’s and several other brands came back under new names. The government reported that the economy declined 2.5% by the end of the year.
Helping matters for the Russian government is the unexpected durability of parts of the Russian economy, despite heavy Western sanctions. The war has been costly for the government – the country’s Finance Ministry recently admitted it ran a higher-than-expected deficit in 2022, in large part due to a 30% increase in defense spending over the previous year – but the International Monetary Fund is projecting a small return to GDP growth for Russia in 2023 of 0.3%.
There is no change in the government’s tone towards Russia’s military campaign. Each day the Defense Ministry of Russia gives a daily update on their successes. Putin also assures that everything is going according to plan.
Yet the sheer length of the war — with no immediate Russian victory in sight — suggests Russia vastly underestimated Ukrainians’ willingness to resist.
Russian troops have proven unable to conquer Ukraine’s capital Kyiv or the second city of Kharkiv. Kherson, the sole major city seized by Russia, was abandoned amid a Ukrainian counteroffensive in November. Russian forces have been bombarding the city.
Russia’s illegal annexation of four territories of Ukraine following unrecognized referendums in September has only underscored Moscow’s problems: it hasn’t been able to establish full control over the lands it now claims as its own.
At home, the number of Russian losses remains a topic of very taboo. Western estimates place those figures much higher.
Indeed, Russia’s invasion has — thus far — backfired in its primary aims: NATO looks set to expand towards Russia’s borders, with the addition of long-neutral states Finland and Sweden.
Longtime allies in Central Asia have criticized Russia’s actions out of concern for their own sovereignty, an affront that would have been unthinkable in Soviet times. India and China have eagerly purchased discounted Russian oil, but have stopped short of full-throated support for Russia’s military campaign.
The First War in an Invisible World is Livestreamed: The Decline of Putin’s Direct Line and the Big Press Conference in 2023
The state of the nation address was scheduled for April but will not happen this year. Putin’s annual “direct line” — a media event in which Putin fields questions from ordinary Russians — was canceled outright.
An annual December “big press conference” – a semi-staged affair that allows the Russian leader to handle fawning questions from mostly pro-Kremlin media – was similarly tabled until 2023.
The Kremlin didn’t give a reason for the delays. After 10 months of war, the Russian leader has not been able to share any good news.
Editor’s Note: Jay Parini, a poet and novelist, teaches at Middlebury College. He has published a memoir called “Borges and Me” which is about his experiences in the Highlands of Scotland with the Argentine writer and thinker,Jorge Luis Borges. The author of this commentary has sole responsibility for the views expressed in it. View more opinion at CNN.
It is an unprecedented conflict in modern times, as Thomas L. Friedman notes in The New York Times. In his new book, Friedman states that the first war in a totally connected world will come from live traffic data on the internet, along with satellites and social media.
Daniel Johnson, an Iraq War veteran and journalist wrote in Slate that it is a large-scale invasion that is being livestreamed minute by minute. Those of us who are lucky enough to be miles away from the missile strikes, gunfire and shelling are watching the events unfold in real time on smart phones and other screens.
WarGonzo, Zelensky, Pushilin and Pegov: A Soldier’s View on the Modern Warfare and the Crimes of Crime
But Zelensky’s success was limited and his popularity went into decline after a couple of years. By October 2021, polls showed his approval ratings had gone into freefall.
Even though the army he commands, in sheer numbers and resources, pales beside Russia, his gifts for communication and social media make him a formidable opponent for Putin.
Biden made it possible for the Ukrainian people to stand strong against a Russian President who has destroyed Russia’s reputation in the world, and is prepared to send untold numbers of Russians to die to prevent a democracy from flourishing.
The blame game broke out after the Russian government suggested that its own soldiers’ use of cell phones was to blame for the deaths of 89 troops on New Year’s Day.
But that account was angrily dismissed by an influential military blogger and implicitly contradicted by the leader of the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) in eastern Ukraine, pointing to discord in the Russian command over Moscow’s response to the attack.
Semyon Pegov, who blogs under the alias WarGonzo and two weeks ago was personally awarded the Order of Courage by President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin, attacked the Ministry of Defense’s statement as “not convincing” and “a blatant attempt to smear blame.”
He wondered how the location of soldiers in a school building could not have been determined using drones or a local person.
He believed that the official death toll would still be growing, as it was revised upward by Moscow to 89 from 63.
In another post on Wednesday, Pegov warned that apathy on the battlefield will lead to more “tragedies.” He said, “If you ask me directly what’s the most dangerous thing in warfare, I’ll tell you: not to bother.”
Pegov and Denis Pushilin praised the patriotism of the soldiers killed in the strike soon after the government pinned the blame on them.
Pushilin said on Telegram that they know what it’s like to suffer losses. There were many displays of courage and real heroism by the guys in this battalion, based on the information I have.
Russian military strike on Ukraine: a mobile phone response intl, the media and social media blasted by pro-Russian websites
Russia’s defense ministry statement also drew mockery from Ukraine’s military. “Of course, using phones with geolocation is a mistake. But it is clear that this version looks a bit ridiculous,” the spokesman for the Eastern Group of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Serhii Cherevatyi, said Wednesday.
“It is clear that this [use of phones] was not the main reason. They weren’t able to covertly deploy these personnel. And we took advantage of that, having detected the target powerfully and destroyed it,” Cherevatyi added.
The military strike on Russia that took place on Sunday caused a lot of criticism from pro-Russian websites, who claimed the troops were not protected, and that the rockets hit the school killing at least one person.
Daniil Bezsonov, a former official in the Russian-backed Donetsk administration, said on Telegram that “apparently, the high command is still unaware of the capabilities of this weapon.” And Igor Girkin, a Russian propagandist who blogs about the war effort on Telegram, claimed that the building was almost completely destroyed by the secondary detonation of ammunition stores.
Meanwhile, Margarita Simonyan, the influential editor-in-chief of state-run network RT, on Wednesday welcomed the Russian Ministry of Defence’s investigation into the circumstances surrounding the strike, writing on Telegram that she hoped “the responsible officials will be held accountable.”
“This is the first time, it seems, that this has been done publicly during the entire special military operation. I hope the names of these persons and the extent of punishment will also be announced,” she said.
PTIN DECLARES WAR ON UKRAINE: A YEAR OF RURURAL GOVERNMENT IN KIEVONOSOS
RIA Novosti reported that the governor of Russia’s southwestern peninsula held talks in Moscow with the defense ministry.
I was supposed to go to Kyiv on February 24, 2022, but that has not happened. My husband broke his shoulder a few days before that and we had to stay in Moscow. At 9:00 a.m. that day he had surgery.
The next morning my phone was buzzing from all the messages and missed calls. A red headline in all caps on the Kyiv Independent website read: “PUTIN DECLARES WAR ON UKRAINE.”
In the space of a year, the war has claimed tens of thousands of lives and displaced millions more. It has unleashed unfathomable atrocities, decimated cities, driven a global food and energy crisis and tested the resolve of western alliances.
From Russia’s invasion to Ukraine’s history repeating itself : Andrei Kolesnikov and his wife, Egor Gaidar
February 23, 2022. I went to bed, thinking that I would be able to celebrate my husband’s birthday the next day. The life was going better. My husband was running his own business. Our daughter made friends at school. We were lucky to have arranged support services and found a special needs nursery for our son. I had some time to work. I felt like a happy person.
We are trying to live in the here and now. But the truth is, we are heartbroken. We’re in the Czechs but our hearts are still in Ukraine.
My husband got a job because of the opportunities for Ukrainians provided by the Czech Republic. I found special needs classes for my son. He now attends an adaptation group for Ukrainian children and has a learning support assistant. My daughter studies at a Czech school while studying in her Ukrainian school.
Andrei Kolesnikov is a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He is an author of several books on Russia’s political and social history. Origins of Russian Modernization and Egor Gaidar’s Legacy.”
That morning we woke up to learn that the invasion started. The war was denounced in a letter written by 12 Russian writers, directors and cultural figures. Soon it was published, and tens of thousands of Russian citizens added their signatures.
On the third day we, my husband and I, left Russia. I felt that it was an obligation. I could no longer stay in the area of the state that has become fascist.
We moved to Berlin. My husband worked at the refugee camp near the main railway station, where there was thousands of Ukrainians every day. And I started writing a new book. This is how it begins:
Russia has fired missiles towards several Ukrainian cities, including my adopted city of Odesa. As air raid sirens blare, we run for shelter in the hallways. A pot of borscht is brought to me by my landlady.
If anything, for me, the son of Ukrainian immigrants in Canada, this has been a war of history repeating itself – from the forced deportation of upwards of 2.5 million Ukrainians, including 38,000 children, to the stealing of Ukrainian grain to the wanton destruction of Ukrainians museums, libraries, churches and monuments.
Time and again since the Russian invasion started, I’m haunted by the darkness in my father’s eyes during the re-telling of chilling dinnertime stories of relatives shipped off to the Soviet gulag, never to return. Millions of Ukrainians died of famine in 1932-33.
February 24, 1992 was when Russian missiles began falling. The fear felt by Ukrainians has been replaced with anger as they stand up to barrages of rockets and drones.
A year into the full-scale invasion, my passport is a novel in stamps. My life is divided between London and Ukraine, where I study courage and teachUkrainian literature.
My former classmates from Zaporizhzhia whom I expected to die from addictions a long time ago, are now volunteering to fight them. My hairdresser, whom I expected to remain a sweet summer child, turned out to have fled on foot from the Russia-occupied town of Bucha through the forest with her mother, grandmother and five dogs.
It seems that since February 2022 we have experienced several eras. The first was euphoric, when Putin suddenly, after a significant time of stagnant ratings, received more than 80% approval from the population.
He canceled the future by preventing the past from happening. It is easy to live this way when your superiors decide what you should and what you should not be told.
It is impossible to adapt to a disaster of this magnitude for me or my family. As an active commentator on the events, I was labeled by the authorities as a “foreign agent,” which increased personal risk and reinforced the impression of living in an Orwellian anti-utopia.
On the evening of February 23 I washed my dog, cleaned the house, took a bath and lit candles. In the northern district of Kyiv, I have a one-bedroom apartment. I loved taking care of it. I loved the life I had. Small routines and the struggles are what it is. That night was the last time my life mattered.
I remember talking to colleagues, trying to assemble and coordinate a small army of volunteers to strengthen the newsroom. My parents were called to organize buying supplies.
The life I knew was going to fall apart soon after. I no longer cared what cup I drank, how I dressed or whether or not I took a shower. Life itself no longer mattered, only the battle did.
It was hard to remember the good times and the struggles of the pre- war era just a few weeks into the full-scale invasion. I would remember being upset about my boyfriend, but I could no longer relate. On February 24, 2015, my life was taken from me.
I was no longer concerned with my personal ambitions. To raise our flag was the most important goal, as it showed that we are fighting even under these circumstances.
I couldn’t enjoy my victories on the track. They were only possible because so many defenders had laid down their lives. I received messages from soldiers on the frontline. It was my main motivation to keep on working, and they were happy to follow our achievements.
Life values have changed. Like never before, I enjoy every opportunity to see or talk to relatives and friends. And like other Ukrainians, I believe in our victory and that all of us will return to our beloved country. We need the help of the world.
Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny is fond of a phrase, “the wonderful Russia of the future,” his shorthand for a country without President Vladimir Putin.
Since last February’s invasion, Putin has shrugged off protests and international sanctions. Human rights groups and independent media have been branded as foreign agents.
On February 2, Putin paid a visit to the southern Russian city of Volgograd to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Soviet victory at what was then called Stalingrad, a crucial turning point in what the Russians call the Great Patriotic War.
Those who draw the European countries, including Germany, into a new war with Russia, and all the more irresponsibly declare this as a possibility, don’t understand that a modern war with Russia will be fought on the battlefield.
A return to rapid warfare with tanks ruins a new strategy that Russia has just set its sights on. “New people may also be needed to hold the front, and this is risky.”
The first Mobilization made a huge impact in Russian society. Hundreds of thousands of Russians went to the polls. There were anti-mobilization demonstrations and police faced off with them in several cities. Russian social media saw a surge of videos and public complaints about the lack of equipment and appalling conditions for newly mobilized recruits.
Prigozhin’s rise in Russia and the apathy of the kvartirnik: a Russian political analyst’s perspective
Many of those advances have been led by the soldiers of the Wagner Group. The brutal tactics of the group have been the focus of many reports.
Recent speculation has centered on whether rivals within Russia’s power elite have been trying to clip Prigozhin’s wings. Russian political analyst Tatiana Stanovaya recently offered a skeptical take on Prigozhin’s rise that factors in some of those considerations. In a recent article published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, she noted that Prigozhin has rivalries with Russia’s power ministries and doesn’t have much showing in polls.
Against that backdrop, some Russians have taken refuge in a form of political apathy. CNN recently spoke to several Muscovites about how their lives have changed since last year, on condition that their surnames not be used over the risks of publicly criticizing the government.
Ira does not have a son, so she does not have to worry about him being mobilized. But she did say that her 21-year-old daughter has started going out to kvartirnik – informal, word-of-mouth gatherings in private apartments, somewhat reminiscent of the underground performances held in the Soviet era.
In the two weeks following the invasion, Ira said she felt anxious. She had just bought an apartment and was worried that work might dry up and she wouldn’t be able to pay her mortgage.
She said it got worse in the spring. It seems we have gotten accustomed to a new reality. I joined a group of girlfriends and went out. I started to buy a lot more wine.”
The restaurants are now full, she said, but added: “The faces look completely different. You know what they are called, the slackers. there are less of them.”
Olya’s Life in Bosnia & Herzegovina: Preparing for Family Vacations in the Balearic Republic
Olya said that her family had decided for more domestic holidays. Europe is largely closed to direct flights from Russia, and opportunities to travel abroad are more limited.
Life carries on, Olya said, even though there is a war on. She said she can’t influence the situation. “My friends say, we do what we can, what’s possible. It doesn’t help to be depressed.
Those who reorganized quickly are seeing growth, he said. “In January we concluded an unusual number of deals, and most of our activity usually picks up in February.”
“In terms of everyday life, practically nothing has changed,” he said, talking about the cutoff of Western imports. “If we’re talking parts for a (Mercedes Benz) G-Class, it might be trickier.”
The story of Ichkeria & Chechnya: when Russian Union collapsed and the West was shocked by the new geometries
He said he looked for other sources of information and was skeptical of state media. And he acknowledged that he could theoretically be called up in another wave of mobilization.
I should explain. When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, Chechnya was one of the two autonomous republics of the newly independent Russian Federation that claimed independence. (The other one was Tatarstan.) By that time world leaders were tired of being told that all the union republics that they had for a long time regarded as administrative units of Russia actually were real things. The West was shocked by the new geography and that meant that Ichkeria had no chance of being recognized.
Frida Ghitis is a former CNN producer and correspondent. She is a weekly opinion contributor to CNN, a contributing columnist to The Washington Post and a columnist for World Politics Review. The views expressed in this commentary are her own. View more opinion on CNN.
The U.S. Secretary of State for Ukraine During the November 2nd Ukrainian War: Why he Came Through Its Oasis
On the same day as his visit to Kyiv, Biden will give a major speech that will rally the world to the side of Ukraine, and will vow to continue helping the country defend its democracy, because it is currently the front line of the global contest between democracy and autocracy.
The risky trip on Monday to an active war zone was not just a powerful symbol of American support, it was a shot in the arm to a population that has endured Russia’s devastating attacks on civilian apartment blocks, hospitals, schools and the power stations that provide heat and electricity.
“It’s just something unbelievable that at a time like this the President of the United States is coming to Kyiv,” Andrei Ketov, a 48-year-old Ukrainian service member, told CNN.
Recall that in the early days of the invasion, Ukraine said it found Russian forces had brought along their dress uniforms apparently expecting a victory parade.
Biden has a stiff movement and is 80. He has a lot of bravery and competence. air raid sirens sounded over Kyiv while Biden was there.
Biden made mincemeat of Putin’s strategy to make it look as if the war was a result of a Ukrainian provocation, revealing the plan before it unfolded. Then he rallied the NATO alliance, which had been so grievously disparaged by former President Donald Trump.
Who can forget the infamous phone call after which Trump was impeached, when Zelensky implored the US President for help to deter an aggressive Russia? Trump wanted to get Ukraine to start an investigation against Biden in order to distract from his weakness, even though he was the most effective opponent.
Zelensky said that Biden’s visit will cause repercussions on the battlefield and bring us closer to victory.
Most Americans want Biden to keep providing support from the US. McCaul said that bipartisan support for Ukraine is very strong.
Of course, some GOP members criticized Biden for going to Ukraine. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene called the trip “incredibly insulting,” a sign of an “America Last” policy. And Rep. Scott Perry — at the center of a legal dispute with the Justice Department over his cell phone in the special counsel’s January 6 probe — described as “breathtaking” that Biden would help Ukraine defend its borders and not do the same for America.
How my generation got left behind, or Why I don’t want to see China in the next century? A comment on Xi Jinping on Make [x country]
There is a book written by an author based in New York called OK Boomer, Let’s Talk: How My Generation Got Left Behind. Follow her on social media. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely her own. There is more opinion on CNN.
The Russian dictator marked the anniversary of his unprovoked aggression – which has killed or wounded close to 200,000 of Russia’s own soldiers and turned some 16 million Ukrainians into refugees – by suspending Russia’s participation in a key nuclear arms deal that kept the threat of nuclear war at bay and giving a 100-minute speech to the country on Tuesday blaming Ukraine and its supporters for the war Putin started.
For Americans who came of age after the end of the Cold War, this renewed threat of nuclear annihilation is both new and terrifying; for those who lived through the original Cold War, this is no doubt a hair-raising reboot.
In his address, Biden emphasized that the war was between freedom and totalitarianism, not between Western liberalism and Russian traditionalism as claimed by Putin.
This is a battle between freedom and oppression according to Biden. It’s worth nothing, though, that Putin’s emphasis on cultural and gender warfare is also correct, in its own way.
He is lying when he says that same-sex marriage and a gender-neutral God would endanger the family, culture and national identity, and he is exaggerating when he says the West seeks to destroy the family, cultural and national identity. It’s true, that there is a historical and contemporary relationship between conservatism and autocracy, and liberal tolerance and democracy.
Conservative religiosity is of course not a requirement for autocracy – just look at the previous era of Russian autocracy, which was decidedly irreligious. And the autocrats in Beijing, who are expanding their own nuclear arsenals and toying with lending material support to Russia, are not exactly bringing conservative Christian principles to China.
But they are embracing traditionalism, hypermasculinity and a backward-looking national identity. Make [x country] is a familiar refrain amongst global authoritarians. Great Again. Xi Jinping is trying to make China great again, writes the New Yorker’s Evan Osnos. “Putin set out to ‘Make Russia Great Again,’” Gen. David Petraeus told CNN earlier this month. We all know the American version.
It’s informative, though (and scary) to realize the extent to which a number of right-wing Americans believe Putin has a point about the West being degenerate, and seem comfortable bringing a strongman in to restore the traditional order.
The most significant divide is between those who want democracy that is pluralistic and allows people to live as they please, and those who would prefer authoritarian rulers to impose conservative values.
The Divide Between Russia and the United States: A Brief Account of Recent Insights from President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pompeo, and Christian Senator Marjorie Taylor Greene
Former US President Donald Trump notoriously praised Putin and trashed NATO, elevating the dictator’s status among pro-Trump conservatives. Republicans in the US had a better view of Putin than of Biden, Harris and the Democratic Party as of a year ago.
Tucker Carlson uses his spot on Fox News to spout pro-Putin propaganda. Former Trump Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has praised Putin and former Trump economic advisor Peter Navarro has said that Ukraine is not a country.
Meanwhile, Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene claimed that “NATO has been supplying the neo-Nazis in Ukraine with powerful weapons and extensive training on how to use them.”
Putin has positioned his Russia as the leading light for Christian nationalists worldwide, standing against Western secularism and decadence. Christian nationalists in the United States have gotten in line.
This is not just a divide between Russia and the US. It’s a divide within Russia itself, as the nation’s feminists, LGBTQ rights advocates, and democracy activists continue to push (often at great personal risk) for a freer and fairer country. And it’s a divide within the US, too, between the Americans who want liberal democracy to thrive, and those who want their ideology to rule us all.
The Rise of Love: The Stories of Ukranian, a Demonstration of Human Rights in the Light of the 2014 Ukrainian Genocide
My organization, the Center for Civil Liberties, has been documenting abductions, illegal detentions, rapes, tortures and extra-judicial killings in the occupied territories since 2014. The river of horrors has turned into a flood since February last year.
Ukraine has made many steps on a democratic path that began during this revolution. Government was decentralized to give more rights to local communities. Parliament adopted anti-corruption legislation, making it difficult to hide misuses of power. Judicial reform was made possible by changes to the Constitution. We were on the correct path and there are a lot of things that need to be done.
Over this past year, the emotions I have experienced have evolved. I still feel angry over the deaths and destruction in Ukranian. I feel a rising tide of love.
I have found that we can still rely on people, despite the fact that we don’t know what the international order will do.
This was the spirit that I witnessed in the street during the protests. We believed in something better and kept on protests despite the beatings by the police. And it came.
This love extends further to the vision of a country where human rights are respected as well as to the idea of a country that can rise from this. We don’t need a Center for Civil Liberties to fight for them. Maybe even a vision of the world where this spirit of shared humanity prevails.
One year ago, the stories that I heard on the Ukrainian-Polish border was of newlyweds who separated hours after they said their vows because the groom could not come back to the front. A tax preparer in Boston who quit her job to return to Ukraine with suitcases full of medical supplies. The wife of a border guard who made the three-hour round trip from Lviv to the Polish border almost daily to drop off fleeing women and children and pick up weapons and supplies.
How sad that human beings survived deadly waves of Covid only to get right back into the business-as-usual of killing one other. It’s senseless to spend tens of billions of dollars on missiles, tanks and other aid, when more needs to be done to help communities adapt to rising oceans and drying rivers. It is ridiculous that the farmers in the breadbasket of the world have gone hungry. It’s madness that Vladimir Putin declared Ukrainians to be part of his own people — right before he sent his army into the country, where Russian soldiers have been accused of raping and murdering civilians.
Governments are involved in war. They talk of victory because it means that soldiers will fight on and hope to do so. But in the end, war is death in a muddy foxhole. It’s an existential fight over a frozen field with no strategic value. It’s a generational grudge that begets new generational grudges. It’s an $11 billion, roughly 740-mile pipeline laid across the Baltic Sea rendered useless overnight. It is one of the largest steel plants in Europe and is unable to produce any metal sheet. The city is emptied out by bombings and siege.
Meanwhile in Russia, former Russian President and Deputy Chair of Russia’s Security Council of the Dmitry Medvedev said on Friday that that Russia’s aim was to “push the borders of threats to our country as far as possible, even if these are the borders of Poland.”
Kyiv War Anniversary in the Light of Zelensky’s Rejoinder with the Second World War, and the First Day of the War
Zelensky used the first anniversary of the war to rally troops and renew calls for international assistance for his country. He handed out awards to soldiers and visited wounded service members before holding the rare press conference.
The leader spoke to members of the military. He told them that they were responsible for the future of the country.
Ukraine’s international allies showed their solidarity on Friday, with landmarks around the world lit up in colors of the Ukrainian flag, and new weapons and funding announcements.
The United States announced a $2 billion security package for Ukraine which includes new funding for contracts, such as 155- millimeter cannon, drones, and mine-clearing equipment.
The UN Security Council should not allow Putin’s crimes to become normal, according to the US Secretary of State.
Germany will send four more Leopard 2 tanks toUkraine, increasing its commitment from 14 to 18. Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson also pledged to send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine.
And Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said he intends to present the idea of imposing new sanctions against Russia during a virtual meeting with G7 leaders and Zelensky.
But there was a noticeable feeling of anxiety in Kyiv on Friday, as many of its residents worried Russia might launch new attacks on the day of the anniversary.
There has not been a major attack on the city in a few weeks, meaning that when the alarms are raised, people are left with a feeling of risk.
Kathalina Pahitsky, a 16-year old student, went to the St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery in Kyiv to lay flowers in memory of two former students from her school who lost their lives fighting in the war.
It was a bitterly cold morning in Kyiv, but Pahitsky said she felt it was her duty as the student president of her school to represent her classmates and pay her respects to the fallen heroes.
There are photographs on the main street. It is a great honor. They were heroes when they died. It is important for us. And it would have been for them,” she said.
Olexander, the Russian Defence Force, and the Russia-Russian War with Moldova: a Cold War in Moldova with a Military Foothold
It was hard to describe Olexander’s feelings on Friday because he was an IT worker before the war.
“I would prefer to describe what I don’t feel now, I don’t feel a fear, but [I] feel confidence in my abilities,” he told CNN. “One year ago … I felt fear, I was stressed, psychologically it unsettled me. But currently there is no fear at all.”
Tensions are mounting in Moldova, a small country on Ukraine’s southwestern border, where Russia has been accused of laying the groundwork for a coup that could drag the nation into the Kremlin’s war.
Moldova’s President, Maia Sandu, has accused Russia of using “saboteurs” disguised as civilians to stoke unrest amid a period of political instability, echoing similar warnings from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has meanwhile baselessly accused Kyiv of planning its own assault on a pro-Russian territory in Moldova where Moscow has a military foothold, heightening fears that he is creating a pretext for a Crimea-style annexation.
Although there is no sign he has accepted her invite to visit, the White House did say he reaffirmed support for Moldova’s “sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
Sandu also claimed individuals disguised as “the so-called opposition” were going to try forcing a change of power in Chisinau through “violent actions.” CNN cannot independently verify those claims.
Iulian Groza, the current director of the Institute for European Policies and Reforms in Chisinau, said that threats from Russia and the appetite to escalate the war are very high.
The war has affectedMoldova the most, he said. “We are still a small country, which has still an under-developed economy, and that creates a lot of pressure.”
The territory – a 1,300 square mile enclave on the eastern bank of the Dniester River – was the site of a Russian military outpost during the last years of the Cold War. In 1990 it declared itself a Soviet republic and opposing any attempt to become an independent state or merge with another state after the fall of the Soviet Union.
War with Moldovan forces ensued, and the conflict ended in deadlock in 1992. Russia did not recognize Transnistria as a legitimate state, butMoldovan forces left it a de-facto state. That deadlock has left the territory and its estimated 500,000 inhabitants trapped in limbo, with Chisinau holding virtually no control over it to this day.
Should Russia launch a Spring offensive that centers on Ukraine’s south, it may seek again to creep towards Odesa and then link up with Transnistria, essentially creating a land bridge that sweeps through southern Ukraine and inches even closer to NATO territory.
Putin’s Cold War and the Russian Public Opinion: Why Did Russia Choose to Start a Cold War? Or Why Did Putin Decide to Start it?
Draconian new censorship laws targeted any media still operating outside the controls of the Kremlin and most independent journalists left the country. The Russians were off from social media sites because of a digital Iron Curtain.
For Natalya and many of her compatriots, the endless, personal grind of war casts Russian propaganda in a different light. And for those hoping to push the tide of public opinion against Putin, that creates an opening.
“My opinion on Ukraine has changed,” said Ekaterina, 37, who turns to popular Russian news program “60 Minutes” after getting home from work. “At first my feelings were: what is the point of this war? Why did they make the decision to start? It makes the lives of the people here in Russia much worse!”
In a country where independent pollsters are targeted by the government, it can be hard to get a good idea of public opinion. But according to the Levada Center, a non-governmental polling organization, support dipped by only 6% among Russians from March to November last year, to 74%.
Most Russians perceive a skewed picture of Russia on the state media, which is what they see when they watch TV, said Kiryl Sukhotski, who oversees Russian-language content at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
In a statement that was not true, another pro-Russian former lawmaker claimed that Moscow’s war was going to progress and that everything was under control.
Such programming typically appeals to a select group of older, more conservative Russians who pine for the days of the Soviet Union – though its reach spans generations, and it has claimed some converts.
The Russian people don’t believe in the news about Ukraine, and Russia isn’t the same as the West: A phenomenological analysis
The initial opposition to the invasion has quietly gone away, as of yet. “I arrived at the understanding that this special military operation was inevitable,” she said. No matter what, it would have come to this. And had we not acted first, war would have been unleashed against us,” she added, mirroring the false claims of victimhood at the hands of the West that state media relentlessly communicate.
I think that you can trust them all. The state channels sometimes reflect the truth, but on other occasions they say things just to calm people down,” 20-year-old Daniil said.
Around two-thirds of Russians rely primarily on television for their news, according to the Levada Center, a higher proportion than in most Western countries.
Everything I hear on state channels is in half of what I heard on other channels. I don’t trust anyone (entirely),” 55-year-old accountant Tatyana said. “One needs to analyze everything … because certain things they are omitting, (or) not saying,” said Leonid, a 58-year-old engineer.
Several people in Moscow who spoke with CNN this month said they engaged with state-controlled TV but treated it with skepticism. There are differing opinions about Ukraine by many people.
The conflict in Russia has caused some people on either side of it to cut off friends or leave the country. But sociologists tracking Russian opinion say most people in the country fall between those two extremes.
Natalia Savelyeva is a Future Russia Fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA), which has interviewed hundreds of Russians since the invasion to see how public support for the conflict has changed. She said they were called doubters.
“A lot of doubters don’t go very deep into the news … many of them don’t believe that Russian soldiers kill Ukrainians – they repeat this narrative they see on TV,” she said.
She is far from alone. The major attitude is not to discuss the news with friends or colleagues, and not to watch it closely. Because what can you do about it?” said Volkov. “Whatever you say, whatever you want, the government will do what they want.”
The majority of the population disengages. “In general, those people try to distance themselves from what’s going on,” Savelyeva added. They try to live their lives as if nothing is happening.
And a culture of silence – re-enforced by heavy-handed authorities – keeps many from sharing skepticism about the conflict. A married couple in Krasnodar were arrested in January for allegedly making anti-war statements in a restaurant, according to OVD-Info.
Since this began, I have felt anxious. It’s affecting (the) availability of products and prices,” a woman who asked to remain anonymous told CNN last month. “There is a lack of public information. People are supposed to be explained things. She stated, “Everyone is listening to Soloviev.”
A film student said that she had not heard from her friend for two months after he was in the military. It would be nice if he just responded and said ‘OK, I’m alive.’”
How Russian State Propaganda Influences YouTube, Twitter and YouTube? Report on the 10 Months After the Ukrainian Invasion of Ukraine by RFE/RL
The outlet is one of the most influential platforms bringing uncensored scenes from the Ukrainian frontlines into Russian-speaking homes, primarily through digital platforms still allowed by the Kremlin including YouTube, Telegram and WhatsApp.
RFE/RL told CNN Current Time saw a two-and-a-half-fold increase in Facebook views and more than a three-fold increase inYouTube views in the 10 months after the invasion. RFE/RL thought that anti-war citizens stuck lampposts and street signs with anti-war codes which led smartphone users to the outlet’s website.
Independent outlets have to reach beyond internet natives who are young and live in cities, and penetrating the media diet of older, poorer and rural Russians who are more supportive of the war.
A larger audience in Russia is what we need to get to. “We see a lot of people indoctrinated by Russian state propaganda … it will be an uphill battle but this is where we shape our strategy.”
Getting to the Russians has not been easy. RFE/RL relocated most of their Russia-based staff to the Czech Republic after the Putin regime cracked down on independent outlets.
His staff are “still coming to terms with that,” Sukhotski admitted. They wish Russia well and they see how they can help.
Russian propaganda and the crisis of information in the epoch of war: the rise of the Internet, YouTube and the news-feedback channel
In Russia searches for such services spiked to records after the invasion, and have remained at their highest rates in over a decade.
If Russia did not haveYouTube, it would be difficult for the Kremlin to control the flow of information to younger people.
And that opens the door for organizations that are not free of political correctness. I watch a lot of videos on the internet. I watch everything there – I mean everything,” one Moscow resident who passionately opposes the war told CNN, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “These federal channels I never watch,” she said. I don’t trust the word that they say. They don’t lie very often. You have to switch on your logic and compare some information and you will see that it’s a lie.
Telegram, meanwhile, has spiked in popularity since the war began, becoming a public square for military bloggers to analyze each day on the battlefield.
From Russia to the Kremlin: How things started falling apart after Ukraine launched counter-offensives, and what we can do to prevent them from happening again
At first, that analysis tended to mirror the Kremlin’s line. But “starting around September, when Ukraine launched their successful counter-offensives, everything started falling apart,” said Olga Lautman, a US-based Senior Fellow at CEPA who studies the Kremlin’s internal affairs and propaganda tactics. She said that she had not seen anything like it before.
Dozens of bloggers with many hundreds of thousands of followers have defected from the line in recent months, lambasting the military methods of the Kremlin and losing faith in the armed forces.
The impact of those fractures remains unclear. For now, Putin can rely on the populace who is either supportive or fatigued to speak out against the conflict.