≡ Menu

Long Read of the Week: The View From Moscow — Think Putin’s ready to crumble? Think again… And again… And…

An Excerpt from the scathing “Now we’re going to f*ck them all.” What’s happening in Russia’s elites after a month of war

“Since they adopted sanctions against us, we’re going to f*ck them. Now they’ll have to buy rubles on the Moscow Exchange to buy gas from us. But that’s just the beginning. Now we’re going to f*ck them all.”

So tells me, with enthusiasm, a high-ranking Russian official. He has long been a member of Putin’s team, but has been considered a liberal thinker. A month ago he had a different attitude, saying with some chagrin that the most important thing was to stop the bloodshed in Ukraine, and then to figure out how to live in the new reality.

He wasn’t the only one. There are no “disloyal” people left in power in Russia. But civil servants, employees and heads of state companies, legislators, business elites close to the government — all were expressing, in private conversations, at least bewilderment at the invasion of Ukraine.

​​However, during the past month, there has been no mass exodus of officials or state managers. Big business is either staying silent or limiting itself to neutral phrases in favor of peace.

Over the past week, I’ve spoken with several people close to Putin, as well as with about a dozen civil servants of various levels and state company employees. I had two goals. First of all, to understand the mood among the Russian elites and people close to them after the imposition of unprecedented sanctions on Russia. Secondly, to find out whether anyone is trying to convince President Putin to stop the bloodshed — and why Roman Abramovich ended up playing the role of mediator/diplomat.

In short, it can be said that, over the past month, Putin’s dream of a consolidation among the Russian elite has come true. These people understand that their lives are now tied only to Russia, and that that’s where they’ll need to build them. The differences and the influence of various circles and clans have been erased by the fact that, for the most part, people have lost their past positions and resources. The possible conclusion of a peace treaty is unlikely to change the mood of the Russian elites. “We’ve passed the point of no return,” says a source close to the Kremlin. “Everyone understands that there will be peace, but that this peace won’t return the life we had before.”

Russian society, my sources tell me, has also rallied in support of Putin’s actions under the pressure of propaganda and under the consequences of sanctions. In a situation where, as it seems to them, the whole world is against Russia, its citizens “will hate the West and consolidate.”

Under Martial Law
Though officially Russia is conducting not a war but a “special operation,” Russian state propaganda is working at full capacity. State channels are airing almost exclusively news programs based on defense ministry briefings and other official information, as well as propaganda talk shows. The population is being brainwashed into believing that Russia is fighting Nazis who themselves had prepared an attack on the Donbass. To cause even more fear, stories are being told about Ukrainian biolaboratories, where biological weapons against the Slavs were allegedly being created with the support of the United States.

Putin himself has made clear that he considers opponents of the war to be enemies of Russia who are acting in the interests of Western countries. “They [Western countries] will try to bet on a so-called fifth column, on traitors, on those who make money here, in our country, but live there,” Putin said on March 16. In his opinion, the collective West is trying to split Russian society. In order to convince everyone that Russians support his decisions, Putin holds meetings and rallies with citizens who are dependent on the state.

All this followed a wave of public discontent with the war. In the first days people took to the streets and signed open letters and petitions, while nationally renowned artists, directors, writers, and public figures spoke out against the war on social networks. This didn’t last long. Within a week, the authorities had blocked and shut down almost all independent media outlets, intimidated citizens with new laws on military censorship, and didn’t give street protests the slightest chance to grow into mass protests, packing people into police vans. In the first two weeks, according to OVD-Info, the police detained 15,000 people.

“In the early days, we were losing the information war,” says a high-ranking source within a regional government. “The people had negative feelings [about the war]. There was a sharp 50/50 split in society. But then all the [state media] got together and started releasing decent content. And then, when they [in the West] began to say that all Russians are bad, to boycott artists and athletes, everything changed. Now about 75 percent support the military operation. That is, there’s a social consolidation happening. Calls against the war are not at all popular, it’s more of a marginal story now.”

Gubernatorial elections are to be held in that region this year, which means that the authorities are constantly measuring public sentiment. According to this source, the position of “let’s end this” no longer exists — people want to end it, “but on our terms.”

The people I interviewed said in one voice that, for many ordinary citizens — at least until there is a big increase in unemployment — the sanctions and other economic and political consequences of the war have had the opposite effect from what Western countries may have intended. The mass withdrawal of Western brands (IKEA, Apple, Zara, McDonald’s, Carlsberg, etc.), the suspension of businesses, the flight ban, the devaluation of the ruble, the difficulty of buying dollars and euros — all of this has made many Russians think that the whole world is against them, and this makes them behave in a certain way.

“After the Great Patriotic War [World War 2], our country immediately began to dust itself off and rebuild. And after 30 years, the country was back to normal. These people [in the West] don’t understand who they’re messed with. This causes a sharp reaction even among those who thought differently and asked questions [of the authorities]. Now they won’t ask questions for a long time. They will hate the West and consolidate in order to live their lives, especially middle-aged people. This is a very subtle thing that the West does not understand at all,” said one of my high-ranking acquaintances excitedly, adding that he felt a couple of decades younger. (To be honest, it’s hard for me to know whether he really experiences such feelings or if this is a temporary defensive reaction.)

​​According to the pro-Kremlin All-Russian Center for Public Opinion, 74% of Russians support the “special military operation” in Ukraine, while the level of trust in Putin has increased from 67.2% to a multi-year high of 80.6% since the operation began.

I use the official wording “special military operation” for a reason. Trusting Kremlin sociologists was difficult even during peacetime, and during war it’s impossible. Everything in Russia today is completely subordinated to military propaganda. Independent sociologists believe that if Russians were asked about their support for “war,” there would be fewer supporters.

Even before the war, the director of the independent Levada Center said that respondents who were critical of Russia’s policy toward Ukraine avoided answering questions, in part because they feared persecution by the authorities. However, in its latest poll, conducted at the end of March, the Levada Center reported this: “In March, there was a significant increase in approval of the main state institutions: 83% approve of the President, 71% of the Prime Minister, 70% of the government, and 59% of the State Duma. The share of those who believe that things are going in the right direction in the country has increased sharply”.

Putin’s Dream is Coming True . . .

RTWT AT “Now we’re going to f*ck them all.” What’s happening in Russia’s elites after a month of war

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Gordon Scott April 4, 2022, 1:13 PM

    Someone else pointed out that the Russians are really good at fighting and dying for the Motherland. No other country has lost so many in wars. It only worked out for them twice, against Napoleon and with massive material support from the US, against the Nazis. But they will fight, however badly.

    • Mike Austin April 4, 2022, 4:37 PM

      Here is a partial list of those defeated militarily by Russia:

      1. The Mongols
      2. The Poles
      3. Lithuania
      4. Sweden
      5. The Persians
      6. The Turks
      7. The Germans
      8. The French
      9. Finland
      10. The Chechens
      11. The Japanese

      But somehow they “fought badly”?

      • John the River April 5, 2022, 5:25 AM

        7 I think that should be the Prussians, Germany united later then beat Imperial Russia in WWI and lost as you indicated to a heavily supported USSR.

        • Mike Austin April 5, 2022, 6:42 AM

          Russia never defeated Prussia. It came close in the Seven Years War (1756 – 1763), but Frederick the Great held out until the Empress Elizabeth died and that Prussia-loving Peter III became Czar. In World War I Imperial Russia was not technically defeated by Germany, but the 1917 Revolution eventually took the new Leninist Regime out of the war after the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk (1918)—which was of course a German victory.

          • ThisIsNotNutella April 5, 2022, 5:38 PM

            I’m a bit of a present day Russophile in the sense of ‘At least he’s not one of Our Rotten Crew’… but recall reading in David Fraser’s biography of Frederick the Great that having the Cossacks come calling in Prussia during the Seven Years War had a very profound moral effect upon the man. Perhaps even more so upon some peasants and their barn doors.

            • Mike Austin April 6, 2022, 2:32 AM

              Was not aware of Fraser, but did read Tim Blanning’s biography of “Old Fritz” a few years ago.

              When Napoleon stood over Frederick’s tomb, he said, “If he were alive, then I would not be here.”

    • ThisIsNotNutella April 4, 2022, 5:02 PM

      Where were you when the Russians made it into the suburbs of Constantinople only to be blackmailed and threatened into giving the Ottomans far too generous terms by the usual shitty old Enlightened (it is to laugh) British and Continental ‘Realists’?

      So that’s at least three. They do pretty well when their hearts are in the fight or they sense an existential threat. Less so at other times. A bit like the USA really… hasn’t faced an external existential threat since 45 (honestly not even then… but you can fool most of the people most of the time) — remember flattening the most shit isn’t quite how historians define Winning.

      I’m more interested in what Russia is *not* than in what it *is*. What it *is* would have to be an order of magnitude worse than present for me to even begin to consider reconsidering my Anything But the West stance. But that’s just me and the Unflushability Principle. YMMV.

      • Mike Austin April 4, 2022, 5:24 PM

        I was not born yet.

        • ThisIsNotNutella April 4, 2022, 6:13 PM

          That’s a relief! 🙂

          My snark, of course, was directed at commenter Gordon Scott. The Russians are no saints, but Cold War Boomer Copes don’t advance understanding.

          (Aside: Not going to get into it here, but googling up the search term ‘Academic Agent Boomer Truth Regime’ could get the grey matter fired up and engaged.)

  • Dirk April 4, 2022, 2:05 PM

    Mean while across the pond, in China! O wait, were supposed to be focused on Ukraine.

    China is OUR single biggest threat. China owns and operates much within these United States. The people are slowly catching on.

    • Mike Austin April 4, 2022, 3:59 PM

      China does not abort American babies.

      China does not shut down US energy.

      China does not cause ruinous US inflation.

      China does not overthrow a sitting president.

      China does not throw American citizens in jail on false charges.

      China does not try to grab my guns.

      China does not force Globohomo on the US.

      China does not place sexual predators, sodomites and pedophiles in American classrooms.

      China does not force transgenderism upon American society.

      China does not force the US Military to get vaccinated.

      The US government does all of those things. But you see China as “our single biggest threat’?

      • Dirk April 4, 2022, 7:38 PM

        And I disagree, naturally the buck stops with our govt. However China capitalizes on every single point you make, TOTAL WAR, is exactly that. Death by 1000 cuts.

        Mike my shoot partners a retired Green Beret, LT Col. This man’s been and done stuff, to include the swap program with the British SAS for four years. Spent time in theBulkands with the SAS. He s has boots on the ground in most south American countries, Philippines fighting Muslims, was an advised at WACO Texas. Also WATTS II. Was present during Panama, was directly involved in the hunt for General Noreaga ?

        Afghanistan, Iraq, he lead the all special forces command at Kandahar Air Base. Ive seen pics of him his ODA standing over Pablo’s body. All holding MP-5 sub guns.

        He has been telling me,,,,,,our circle of friends for the past 14 years that the US WILL be in a shooting war with China in our life times.

        Tic Toc.

        • Joe April 4, 2022, 8:39 PM

          Lest we forget……Ariel Sharon: “We control America” _____ Reply to: see below Date: 2005-02-26, 10:24AM EST Ariel Sharon: “We control America” “every time we do something you tell me America will do this and will do that . . . I want to tell you something very clear: Don’t worry about American pressure on Israel. We, the Jewish people, control America, and the Americans know it.” -Our “friend and ally” Ariel ‘The Butcher’ Sharon

        • Mike Austin April 5, 2022, 3:31 AM

          “China capitalizes on every single point you make…” True. Irrelevant. Were the US government not involved in those issues, China would have nothing to capitalize on.

          It matters not at all if someone claims that “US WILL be in a shooting war with China in our life times.” I am more concerned with what is happening now. What China will be up to in 15 years hardly affects my life today. I don’t live in the future. The US government is destroying this nation right now at this moment as I write these words.

          • Dirk April 5, 2022, 8:38 AM

            Mike, again I disagree, it’s ALL relevant.

            China’s actions are fully in play NOW, china’s plan is slow, calculated and finite. Their fingers are deep into the mechanisms in this nation. They’ve bought, industries, for years, they’ve bought people for years. They understand that,,,,,,,for now what We The People say or do is moot.

            Do you not understand where we are is with the loving help of the Chinese. Again I’m not letting our Govt off the hook, our govt are scum of the earth

            PRC, wants to do what the US has. The Chinese have purchased the US govt for nickels and dimes.

            I’ve heard the historians speak to China has zero global ambitions, no their focus is regional. Amazing how one guy can fuck up 100s of years of your history.

            Mike if you haven’t read, there are a few books out, one specifically I think the titles “ Total War”. I’ve loaned my copies out or i would volunteer to loan it to you.

            That books an eye opener, but requires other research to confirm china’s Total War approach. We keep reading and here g reference to Gen 5 war. For me china’s approach is far more lethal.

            • ghostsniper April 5, 2022, 11:58 AM

              You should consider getting your ducks, er criminals, in order.
              While you’re looking way over there at the chinese, who have never harmed you, you are not watching the gov’t criminals in your front yard that are slowly killing you.

              You keep saying you aren’t letting the US gov’t off the hook then you turn around and do just that. Pay attention to this part: in the absence of the US gov’t the chinese do not exist. Remember that “blade of grass” thing?

              • Dirk April 5, 2022, 2:36 PM

                Lol, lol, well Ghost the blade of grass things, a Japanese Admiral, not a Chinese general. But then I’m sure you knew that.

                Without the US govt, Amusing ,,,,,, explain that to multiple EU countries, many African Nations, and a handful of South American countries.

                I realize your a bit older loosing it, but does Belt and Road possibly ring a bell for ya, Mate?

              • Anonymous April 6, 2022, 10:43 AM

                Ghostsniper,

                Really, you should just STFU instead of constantly attempting to “correct” or sway others with your paranoid insanity and outright lies.

                You’ve destroyed every shred of your credibility and have been frequently busted as a liar and a coward. Everyone here has been to witness that, although most are too kind to call you out on it.

        • James ONeil April 5, 2022, 8:24 AM

          US will be in a shooting war with China?

          Hum, way things are going under our appointed president we’ll have nothing to shoot with and nothing China would want to shoot at.

      • Salharmonic April 5, 2022, 7:58 AM

        The Chinese don’t have to do any of that stuff, Our own leftists are doing it for them, and being paid handsomely.

    • ThisIsNotNutella April 4, 2022, 5:11 PM

      The PRC and its rulers are indifferent to whether you live or die. On the balance they would prefer you live and Consume (their) Product and stay the hell away from the Western Pacific until such time as tectonic drift makes this unavoidable. At which point there will possibly still be a Chinese People (going by the Lindy Principle) and the USA will be a long-forgotten blip (going by the Sir John Glubb Principle).

      For the rest, your oligarchs and rulers want you dead. The Chinese buy and sell shares in your sock puppet congresscritters and senators… and blackmails them where possible. But so does every other country. So are you going to run the whores out of town or harass the Johns. American dissidents have to decide that they can be smarter and better than the average vice cop or eventually they’ll end up taking freebies, too 🙂

      • Dirk April 4, 2022, 7:41 PM

        Right on

  • Trotsky's Pick Axe April 4, 2022, 5:35 PM

    The Schwab-SPECTRE and the banksters want WWIII by any means necessary.
    Pooty Poot (H/t-Shrub) won’t be folding to Long March faculty lounge useless idiots and their dreams of apparatchik status at the dacha won’t be happening either.

  • Foo April 4, 2022, 10:53 PM

    Hmm obscure journo “with many close connections to Putin” pens nationalist propaganda, or ?

    Odd…like he is reading from a script.

    • Mike Austin April 5, 2022, 3:34 AM

      Obscure to whom?

      “…he is reading from a script.” They all do.

  • SAHMmy April 5, 2022, 8:13 AM

    Yeah I’m just waiting for Putin/Russia to do something worse than my government here in the U.S. to get all lathered up about Putin/Russia. Until then, I’ll keep tending my vegetable garden.

  • James ONeil April 5, 2022, 8:57 AM

    Hum, wonder if I should buy property on Little Diomede, less than 3 miles from Russia. Might be able to set up a nice smuggling route, trade American cigarettes and Alaska salmon for cheap, $1.90/G Russian gasoline. 😉

  • Rusty Nael April 5, 2022, 10:18 AM

    Rather than chime in on the above political discussion, I’ll just post some great news about the USA.

    Georgia just passed their Constitutional Carry law- meaning no carry permit needed to exercise their 2nd Amendment. That makes 25 CC states now- in other words, HALF of the United States.

    Meanwhile, despite the gazillion anti-gun laws in California, another mass murder/shooting just happened in Sacramento- the capital city. Unsurprisingly, the perp was a Satan-loving, Trump-hating, far-left liberal with a well-known history of hatred and criminal aggression.
    Yet no one “red flagged” him.

    • Dirk April 5, 2022, 11:52 AM

      Rusty care to guess what color they is?

      • John Venlet April 5, 2022, 12:12 PM

        Dirk, a tad off topic, but recalling a comment on an earlier thread about Russian atrocities allegedly taking place in the Ukraine (can’t recall if it was in Bucha), you noted in the photos of alleged dead bodies no pooling blood, etc. Anyway, this is from Russian press briefing after the Russians were denied a UN Security Council meeting. Rather longish read, but, here are a few pertinent parts which may inspire to read the whole briefing.

        For as long as the town was under the control of the Russian armed forces locals were moving freely around the town and using cellular phones. So they could post on social media any photo and video footage of any theoretical “harassment” if this were the case. However, that did not happen.

        Let me address the developments in chronological order.

        On March 30, following another round of talks in Ankara, Russian Ministry of Defense announced the withdrawal of forces from a number of regions, including Bucha.

        That fact was confirmed the next day by the mayor of Bucha. In his video of March 31 Anatoly Fedoruk presented the withdrawal of Russian forces as a victory of Ukrainian Army. Interestingly, he had not mentioned any mass atrocities, dead bodies, killings, graves or anything like that. It is hard to imagine that a city mayor can “forget” to address such a devastating scenario.

        • Dirk April 5, 2022, 2:47 PM

          Hi John your correct, what I was seeing were smaller pics, poor quality. I found several pics blood had pools under the victims. I stand corrected.

          Have to be honest I don’t trust nor respect this zalinsky guy, would not surprise me to later on,,,, learn his SS nazi batallion did this. The left, whoever have a short window of opportunity to suck NATO, in start a World War. I think their actions speak loudly.

          Secondly. While appalling dead citizens ? What did everybody expect, the citizens took up arms to defend their country. I’m impressed. Their death shouldn’t surprise anybody.

          Should we go to civil war here, all you will see is dead civilians. Same principles ,citizens whom are willing to fight and die for their country.

          John honestly I appreciate your frank observations. I’m not their, I don’t care. I feel it in my bones, this isn’t what it appears. Much bigger. An attempt to sucker the world into WWIII.

          John I’d be interested in hearing your views. Your always articulate, on point.

          Dirk

          I’m amused Ukrainians word smithing, Russia lost Ukraine won. There are no winners there

          • John Venlet April 6, 2022, 4:23 AM

            Dirk, I linked to that just as another type of intel input, and due to this input being produced by MSM sources, it is of questionable veracity, though it does provide alternative data to be sifted. I think that this whole Russia/Ukraine thing is another diversion by the powers that be. Daily, we’re bombarded by so many allegations/lies by MSM outlets it’s akin to running around putting out small surface grass fires, while just below our feet the main fire is burning, though at the moment we only see wisps of smoke from the main fire. While I personally am rather doubtful America and its allies will be drawn into a WWIII scenario, I think the amount of perfidy and hubris within the ruling classes, and the almost mafia style allegiance amongst the powers that be, simply to retain their power, could portend a major responsive mistake to be made. Overall, I am more concerned with the decline of America than Russia and the Ukraine, because I think here in America the powers that be are willfully attempting to destroy the American people via wrecking of the economy, morals, and families. I don’t know if we’re balanced on the razor’s edge, but we’re definitely close to the barrier holding us back from falling into total chaos.

            • John Venlet April 6, 2022, 6:08 AM

              Dirk, I neglected to mention this morning, when I responded, the most interesting aspect about this Russian response to accusations of atrocities, is, why did the UN Security Council refuse Russia an opportunity to respond to the accusations on what is allegedly the world’s body of nations stage? To me this indicates a couple of things. Number 1, the UN is nothing other than a meeting place to play pretend games for the world to view, where favors are exchanged for payments of cash stolen from citizens of their respective countries (which I personally have long been the opinion of). Number 2, some truths about the rottenness of the Bidens, and the U.S. deep state, are tied to Ukraine, and Russian actions within the Ukraine have possibly allowed the Russians to gain access to clear and compelling evidence which would clearly show the illegalities which been taking place in the Ukraine since the time of the Obama administration. I don’t know, with any degree of certainty, except for the fact that I do know with certainty that the U.S. government is rotten to the core, and the diversions which are daily highlighted by the government, and trumpeted by their foot soldiers the MSM, are not conducive to our ability to clearly see what is actually going on.

      • james wilson April 5, 2022, 3:57 PM

        Whitepippo evidently obtain non-violent firearms, blackpippo trade in violent firearms. The great problem of Negro firearm violence could easily be solved by a violent firearm exchange program but nobody has thought of this but me.

      • Rusty Nael April 7, 2022, 10:27 AM

        No guess needed.
        And it turns out it was gang related. How shocking, right?

  • Callmelennie April 5, 2022, 11:54 AM

    Russians frequently start out in wars looking like shit, but then lick their wounds, learn their lessons and come back even stronger

    They started out like bufoons in WWI, under the leadership of the Grand Duke, getting routed at Tannenberg and Mazurian Lakes. Started the the 1915 season poorly and lost more territory to the Germans but suddenly found their bearings in small unit actions where the individual Russian peasants found that they could hold their own against the Germans. So they blunted any further advance into what was basically Western Ukraine

    Then, in 1916, the Russian unleased a tremendously well executed action known as the Brusilov Offensive, which more or less destroyed the Austro Hungarian Army. This is one of history’s most underappreciated battles, as it was just as deadly as the Verdun and Somme. Had Russia herself not dropped out of the Great War, basically in reaction to the violence of this particular campaign, this battle might have led to Germany’s demise in 1917.

    And, of course, the first year of WWII was for the USSR the greatest military disaster ever to befall any nation. The military leadership for the Red Army was appalling. But suddenly, in 1942, everything changed … the Red Army commenced a brilliant strategy of giving away ground in order to cause the Wehrmacht to use up all their fuel, and they used Stalingrad to bait a trap for the 6th Army. Once that trap was sprung, they used the plight of the 6th to bait other armies to come to their rescue and damn near sprung a trap that would have destroyed three more Armies

    The point is, the corruption endemic in Russia causes the wrong generals to ascend to the top at the start, then the subsequent screwups force the “real” generals to come to the fore. In WWII, it was Georgi Zhukov. They learn lessons the hard way, but they learn

    • Mike Austin April 5, 2022, 2:32 PM

      Your comment has led me to do more reading on World War I and concentrate on the Eastern Front.