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Vladimir Putin

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Were you looking for the popular Quebecois snack?[1] Or perhaps you were looking for a French putain?[1] Or perhaps you have been pootin'? Or perhaps you were looking for a place to put doggie doo, a poo tin?[2]
Vladimir Putin's full name is "Tom Clancy's Vladimir Putin."
—Chase Mitchell[3]
If somebody decides to destroy Russia, then we have a lawful right to respond. Yes, for humanity, it would be a global catastrophe. But I, as a citizen of Russia and head of the Russian state wish to ask a question: What good is the world for us if it is a world without Russia?
—Putin explaining his worldview to Kremlin propagandist Vladimir Solovyov, who put the interview in his film "World Order 2018."[4]

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin (Владимир Владимирович Путин; born 1952), a.k.a. "Pootie-Poot",[5] khuyloWikipedia, among others, is a shirtless, bear-riding man who hunts journalists "former" KGB agent[6] (by which we mean "boring desk-job")[7], war criminal[8], dictator/"president" of Russia, and RationalWiki contributor vandal. The longest-serving Russian leader since Josef Stalin, he served as President (2000-2008, 2012-onward) and Prime Minister (1999-2000, 2008-2012). In 2008, the Russian government extended the Presidential term of office from four to six years.[9] In a 2020 referendum, the Russian people voted overwhelmingly the government pulled numbers out of thin air to show overwhelming support for constitutional changes, which would allow Putin to serve two more six-year terms, meaning Putin can legally serve as president until 2036.[10] He presides over a nominally democratic nation that features a lot of backdoor deals with criminal syndicates.

His rhetoric and governing style have earned him a neologism: Putinism.Wikipedia After the turmoil of the Yeltsin years (1991-1999), Putinism harkens back to something more similar to the BrezhnevWikipedia days (1964-1982), when the USSR/Russia did what was best for Russia and flipped the bird at the West while doing so. For Russians who endured the emasculation of the 1990s, this return to strength (even if it's just macho posturing) is popular. It's quite a departure from what actually seems to be a depressing personal life.[11]

The thing is, Putin has done a very successful job of getting rid of any viable opposition, meaning the only people left are more insane than he is (his main opposition is a bunch of tankies).[12][13] A rare possible exception to this rule is Alexei Navalny,[14] who as of 2022 is rotting in prison[15] for the heinous crime of "not dying from Novichok poisoning" (a severe offense in Russia, apparently).[16]

On February 24th, 2022, Putin launched a "special military operation"an invasion of Ukraine, igniting the largest conventional-warfare operation in Europe since World War II.[17][18] The attack also caused Europe's largest refugee-crisis since World War II, with over a million refugees in the first week.[19][20]

Rise to power[edit]

The KGB's spook #1 in East Germany

Back in Soviet times, Putin held a minor KGB post in East Germany[21]:44 from 1985 to 1990. As President Yeltsin's health declined in the 1990s, his entourage tried to find a successor by first taking a popular opinion poll of fictional heroes; the poll winner was Max Otto von Stierlitz of the 1973 TV serial Seventeen Moments in Spring.[21]:44[22] Stierlitz was portrayed as a KGB agent in Germany during the final year of World War II,[23] and Putin was seen as the closest match.[21]:44 Yeltsin subsequently appointed Putin as Prime Minister of Russia in August 1999; Putin was then generally unknown to the Russian public, having an approval rating of 2%.[21]:45 In September 1999, a series of bombs exploded in Russian cities, killing 307 people.[21]:45[24] The bombings were blamed on Chechen separatists, resulting in the widening of the Second Chechen War.Wikipedia Conspiracy-theorists portray the "apartment bombings" as a false-flag operation to improve Putin's image before Yeltsin's imminent political demise;[21][25] for example, three FSB agents who had planted bombs were arrested by Ryazan local police.[26] Putin's first presidential election in March 2000 set the stage for electoral fraud both within Russia and as an item for export, using a combination of unequal media coverage, vote-tally manipulation, and exploitation of war propaganda.[21]:45 Putin has never won a fair election, but only the appearance of winning matters to him.[21]:45-51

Political affiliations[edit]

Arguably, Putin has no political views other than consolidating money and power because he has held seemingly contradictory views over his lifetime: Christianity, communism, and fascism. He is a poster child for horseshoe theory, or perhaps utilitarianism. He also has staked out a position similar to National Bolshevism, "He wanted a reconciliation of what he called the tradition of Red and White, communist and Orthodox, terror and God."[21]:58

Putin most likely joined the Communist Party of the Soviet Union between 1970 and 1975 when he was attending law school at Leningrad State University. The university was a recruiting ground for KGB agents, and the KGB targeted him for recruitment before 1975,[27] and becoming an agent required party membership. Putin claimed to have been eager for recruitment;[27] regarding party membership, Putin stated, "I wasn't a party member through necessity. I can't say I was totally an ideological Communist but I did really treasure it [having a Communist Party card]."[28] Putin remained in the party until its dissolution in 1991.[29] Regardless of his alleged lack of ideological fervor, he eagerly did the Communist Party's bidding in the KGB from at least 1977-1991, working on international espionage and eventually rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel.[27][30]:9-10

Close to the beginning of Putin's autocratic rule in 2005,[31] Putin had fascist philosopher Ivan Ilyin'sWikipedia remains transferred from Switzerland and reburied in Moscow, where he later personally consecrated them.[21]:17[32] In 2006, Putin sent an emissary to Michigan State University to claim Ilyin's personal papers.[21]:17-18 Putin had by then been citing Ilyin in presidential addresses to the Russian legislature.[21]:18 By the 2010s, Putin used Ilyin to undermine the European Union and justify invading Ukraine.[21]:18

Based on Ilyin's writings and a mythic, ahistorical view of Vladimir the Great,Wikipedia Putin has made irredentist arguments that Ukrainians and Belarusians did not exist as peoples separate from Russians. These arguments set the stage for the annexation of Crimea and the Russian-sponsored war in eastern Ukraine.[21]:61-66

Reality-defying good stuff?[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Stopped clock
You can be a three-headed tyrant as long as everyone has jobs and is working.
—Jack Ablin[33]

Putin got the job of heading up one of the KGB's most prestigious programs for a reason. You can't deny that the guy is very competent and has presided over an economic and political backwater elbowing itself back into the geopolitical vortex. There was unexpectedly-high economic growth during his first term as president: he balanced the budget wait, he reduced the national debt by 90%?[34] Russia achieved this primarily by boosting GDP, making the national debt a smaller fraction of a larger GDP.[35]

The Russian economy grew for eight straight years, seeing GDP increase by 72% in PPP (sixfold in nominal). Wages tripled, incomes increased, unemployment and poverty more than halved, and Russia's self-assessed life satisfaction rose significantly, if only because Russians had money in their pockets for once. The ideal model is "corrupt but somewhat-competent", we guess.

Most of Russian exports are oil and gas,[36][37] which are integral to the Russian economy. *cough* To make sure Russia stays on the map for decades to come, Putin's energy policy made Russia into a nuclear power (again). The police and military have been "reformed", the automotive industry boomed, and the general land-laws underwent modernization.

The Serbs have historically been pro-Russian because of Brother Russia's image as a protector of Ottoman SlavsWikipedia and of Orthodox Christianity in general. Putin is very popular in Serbia because he brought up Russia from the ashes, restored national pride, and struck a pro-Serbian stance on the Kosovo issue, calling the Europeans hypocrites. It's a popular saying in Serbia that if Putin stood as a candidate for president there, he would come away with 100% of the vote. May explain why 97% of Crimean voters favored reunitingWikipedia with Russia.

Putin signed the Kyoto Protocol (though the terms were easy for Russia), something the United States never did. Speaking of the US, he granted asylum to American whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013, if for no other reason than to stick it to Washington.

As brutal as Putin was to the Chechens, they've not been angels to Russian civilians either. Between creating hostage situations in theatres[38] and elementary schools,[39] and suicide bombings,[40] there was a period where Chechen separatists posed a real threat to safety in Russia. The installation of strongman Ramzan Kadyrov in Chechnya, while creating numerous issues, has at least ended these.

Putin accrues another bonus simply by not being Boris Yeltsin. After the disastrous 1990s, many Russians are pretty happy with a leader who is at least sober as opposed to a vomit- and vodka-soaked lunatic. However, this success and his predecessor's failure also made most Russians enormously disappointed with a democratic government.

And the reality-returning bad stuff[edit]

The Genialissimo is simultaneously the general secretary of our party, holds the military rank of generalissimo, and, moreover, stands apart from everyone.
Moscow 2042, a dystopian novel fortelling the rise of Putin.[41][42]:125

Resource economy[edit]

Russia has been in a recession since 2014.[43] Their economy is still too dependent upon oil,[44] and the price of oil is projected to remain at or below $75 through 2020. As a result, growth in Russia is going to stagnate for many years.[45] But he's definitely "eating Obama's lunch."[46] He also once speculated that warming by “two or three degrees” could be a good thing for the economy since they'll spend less on fur coats.[47] By fur coats, he means all that Arctic oil that will be open for exploration by the state enterprises he and his friends control.[48]

Russia has been decimated by heatwaves, wildfires, and crop losses over the past decade, so climate change hasn't entirely been a bowl of cherries for the country.[49][50][51] And considering Russia is mainly a landlocked country, there's a considerable risk of severe droughts. But, as Bush's anti-environmental cohort has said, There is still debate on climate change[52] There is no climate change[53] it will be good for some regions.[54] Soon we'll feed everyone with food grown in the temperate and hospitable Siberia. The problem is that Siberia has no groundwater[55] and is far too arid to support agriculture on a relevant scale.[56] Turn the crank and see which excuse comes out next. As a result (or just given life in rural Russia), Russia's birthrate is falling off a cliff, as the enormous drunken underclass historically press-ganged into a bullying, ill-equipped army and used as cannon fodder is fading away. As Russia has always used its numbers (and some scorched earth policies) to win wars, this must count as a big hole in their historic 'defense' plans.[57]

In 2021, Russia was the sole member to veto a United Nations Security Council resolution to recognize climate change as a global security threat.[58][note 1]

Human rights violations[edit]

His record on human rights has been marked by the flattening of Chechnya, the demolition of Georgia, the crackdown of all media, especially independently-owned media that has been critical of the Kremlin such as NTV,[59] the instigation of an armed conflict in eastern Ukraine that culminated in the accidental downing of a civilian aircraft,[60] the bombing of aid convoys,[61] the slew of Kremlin opponents dropping dead from polonium poisoning,[62][63] Russian soldiers taking long "vacations",[64] and the suppression and abuse of protestors.[65][66] Only in 2017 could you be arrested for protesting a ban on protests.

"And Russia has no gay people."[edit]

This image is banned in Russia[67] because gay clown Putin is weak!

In 2012, he banned gay pride parades and protests in Moscow for 100 years,[68] along with a variety of other draconic restrictions on homosexual rights, doubtlessly as a way to court the fundamentalist vote.[69] Shortly after, he continued to uphold the traditional family by getting divorced.[70] His support relies primarily on a "diminishing political base of older, rural, less educated citizens, blue-collar workers, and persons with a strongly nationalist bent" — oh wait, wrong politician.[71]

Putin's hyper-masculine posturing (bareback on a horse, etc.[72]) and his state-sanctioned homophobia are part of a calculated plan of both domestic and foreign policy. It doesn't matter that being hyper-masculine and being gay are not mutually exclusive in the real world.[73][74] Russian targets of homophobia have included Ukrainian politicians, the European Union, and the West.[21]:51-53,133 For the Russian state, attempting to smear with assertions of homosexuality is usually couched in that age-old Soviet fallacy of whataboutism ("when the subject is inequality, change it to sexuality").[21]:100

Gimmie a "K", gimmie a "G"...[edit]

Putin's rise to power required the downfall of Russian apartment buildings
He has said it to the President, to Secretary Kerry. He even believes we sparked the Arab Spring as a C.I.A. operation.... He really does kind of superimpose the way his system works onto the way he thinks our system works. He grossly exaggerates the role of the C.I.A. in the making of our foreign policy.
—Michael McFaul, diplomat[75]

In 1999, there was a disgusting terror attack in which the FSB bombed buildings (with people sleeping in them) to provide a pretext for another war with Chechnya.[21]:45 The attacks boosted Putin's popularity and delivered him the presidency.[76] That case is still open, but activists, investigators, lawyers, politicians, and journalists have been dropping like flies around him for years, and no one ever bats an eye, it seems.[77][78]

Remember the anti-gay propaganda bill from above? That was sponsored and proposed by extremist Irina Yarovaya, the Russian equivalent of Ted Cruz. Why bring her up? Putin signed another Yarovaya bill into law, allowing for NSA-style surveillance of Russian citizens and explicitly bans door-to-door missionary work, which affects many of the same social conservatives who helped ban gay propaganda - except the Orthodox Church, of course. Edward Snowden called it the "Big Brother law"; critics say it's basically the Russian version of the PATRIOT Act.[79] The new measures include massive restrictions on privacy, speech, freedom of conscience, and religious expression.[80] Even then, some parts of it are just unenforceable - it demands that phone and internet providers keep all data for 3 years, and every major Russian telecom company has declared that impossible.

What happens after him?[edit]

The very dread of what comes next generates a sense of threat that can be projected upon others as foreign policy. Totalitarianism is its own worst enemy, and that is the secret it keeps from itself by attacking others.
—Timothy Snyder[21]:29

Although the constitution grants enormous powers to the President, you don't think of "power" when you look at Dmitry Medvedev. If Medvedev held the cards, Putin owned the deck, and life after Putin is the great unknown for Russia. He brought the country back from a disorganized, hyper-capitalist, brutally anarchic hell and re-centralized federal authority behind a strongman whom the country adores, the typical standard of living for most of Russia's existence. But it comes with a price. With without the towering figure of Putin, Russia faces a failing economy, the threat of secession (see Chechnya), a bloated bureaucracy, and an ever-present oligarchy and military-security establishment unwilling to give up their power. There is no ruling class: the oligarchs are paper tigers in the face of a strongman, the mafia is so powerful even the Kremlin has to work out deals with them, and their puppet oligarchs, the siloviki (military-security types), are basically a junta riding the coattails of the President. The actual government (from the Federal Assembly to the Prime Minister) is not popular. This Putin-centered status quo will likely not last without the man himself, and there will be jockeying for power once he finally kicks the bucket.[81][82] Expect some murders.

Back to the Purges[edit]

The Apotheosis of War: illegal to display in Russia since March 2022
What does this mean? In sum: a rooting out of anyone accused of being 'un-Russian' in thinking or culture — a racist and political purge; carte blanche to build a new empire all over the old USSR; and a full embrace of a new state religion.
—Ian Garner[83]

In 2016, Putin enacted a purge against some of the titans of the country. Many of these men were friends, business partners, members of the Saint Petersburg establishment, or fellow colleagues in the KGB. Their removals were sudden and unexpected. Their replacements consisted of sycophants like Anton Vaino (Kremlin Chief of Staff), who grew up only knowing Putin as the head of the country. The purged names include Vladimir Yakunin, CEO of the Russian Railways; former Chief of Staff Sergey Ivanov, his longtime ally and one-time rival to Medvedev for the Presidency; Yevgeny Murov, former head of the Federal Protection Service; Viktor Ivanov, former head of the Federal Narcotics Service; Konstantin Romodanovsky, former head of the Migration Service; Andrei Belianinov, former head of the Customs Service; and Sergey Naryshkin, former Chairman of the State Duma.[84][85][86]

Leading up to and during the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022, Russia began purging all dissent from the country. The purges have resulted in large-scale arrests of public protesters,[87][88] and the shutting down of nearly all independent media within Russia.[89] It is now so bad that people have been arrested for holding blank placards in public or for displaying the 1871 painting by Russian Vasily Vereshchagin, "The Apotheosis of War".[90] People are being encouraged to denounce each other.[90]

USSR cover band[edit]

People in Russia say that those who do not regret the collapse of the Soviet Union have no heart, and those that do regret it have no brain.
—Vladimir Putin Mk. MMV, before losing his brain nine years later[91]
He's not exactly fun to be around. But...

Russia continues to back separatists in South Ossetia, Abkhazia, Transnistria, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Moldova, and, er...Texas?[92][93]

Putin has said that Stalin's legacy can't be judged in black and white.[94] Putin's policies have been likened to the Soviet era, which has received a lukewarm response from Russian Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov.[95][96] Within days of wrapping up an international celebration of peace and cooperation through sport, he annexed parts of Ukraine after they kicked out their pro-Putin president. It was a significant PR blunder,[97][98] leading some commentators to wonder if Putin had finally lost his marbles.[99]

Russia has basically been waging economic war on the EU for years. That's a significant reason they invaded Ukraine: it was getting too close to the EU, e.g., major gas pipelines[100] (more importantly, Ukraine was making noises about joining NATO.[101] Putin went in before they could).

Contrary to a popular opinion, Putin most likely doesn't want the EU to disintegrate (Russia has very strong economic ties to the European Union, and if the EU ceased to exist, it would be a disaster for the Russian economy);[102] however, he certainly wouldn't mind it becoming somewhat less united and more amenable, and RT is producing propaganda to that end. The Eurozone crisis significantly weakened the EU when Russia was pushing itself forward. Brussels can't speak with a single voice for Europe. It is absolutely in Putin's character to try to control the narrative in areas previously part of the Soviet sphere of influenceWikipedia. This would include some non-NATO countries, like Georgia and Ukraine; judging by Putin's more interesting adventures, the goal seems to be preventing them from ever joining NATO. It won't be surprising if a few countries have more pro-Russian agitators than in years past.[103][104]

If I Were A Rich Man[edit]

Bill Browder, a former fund manager in Russia, estimated that Putin has amassed US$200 billion, but officially he is worth only about $200,000.00 (!). He spent most of it on fillers, though.[105]

For comparison, as of late 2017, the "official" richest person in the world (the person who verifiably has the most wealth in their own name) is Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, whose net worth is around $100 billion (though fluctuating wildly). Second is Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, at around $90 billion. According to Browder, Putin doesn't really need any wealth because he has absolute power and there is just an illusion of oligarchy.[106] The lack of a real oligarchy became apparent when Mikhail Khodorkovsky was imprisoned and later exiled for annoying the boss.[107]

According to Alexei NavalnyWikipedia, Russia's opposition leader and anti-corruption activist, Putin owns a massive residence totally worth more than billion dollars.[108]

Science and technology[edit]

Putin has expressed contradictory views on new technologies:

I believe that [new] business models are not a threat to existing ones. [...] But, objectively, they do represent a threat.[109]

Putin has given official state support for innovation and has said Russia can build a vibrant and diversified economy through technical and scientific prowess.[110] However, the Russian state often stifles growth and undermines this goal through widespread corruption, the increasing power of Russian security services, as well as insufficient democratic checks and balances.[110] The controversial arrest of physicist Dmitri Trubitsyn caused outrage among scientists in Russia, who viewed it as contradictory to Russia's stated economic aims.[110] According to Russian writer Alfred KochWikipedia, Putin has taken steps to destroy higher education and cut the financing of science because he considers the thinking and educated to be a threat to his regime.[111]

Putin has been described as a luddite since he does not have a smartphone, doesn't use email and doesn't have any social network accounts.[112] He has also described the internet as a "CIA project".[113] According to Time, Putin's apparent technophobia is due to his knowledge of KGB eavesdropping practices and he wants to make it as easy as possible to keep his conversations private.[114]

Recently, he has condemned Bitcoin and called for Russia to impose a ban on digital currencies.[115]

Pussy Riot[edit]

Some of the grrls.

Pussy RiotWikipedia is a feminist Russian all-female punk band. They attracted international attention after staging an unauthorised concert in Moscow's Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in February 2012 - performing songs that denounced Vladimir Putin — and three of them were arrested for 'hooliganism'. One reason that the cathedral was selected for the protest is the support for Putin given by Russian Orthodox Church leader, Patriarch Kirill.

Their case has aroused widespread concern after claims of harsh treatment while in custody and a harsh sentence for what is seen by many as an issue of free speech. The federal prosecutor's demand for a custodial sentence is seen as a return to the hard-line Soviet era quashing of dissent by Putin.

In August 2012, three members of Pussy Riot were sentenced to two years imprisonment for their role in the Cathedral of Christ concert.[116] According to reports, one member was hospitalised because of illnesses she contracted as a result of prison work.[117] One member, Yekaterina Samutsevich, was released in 2012. The remaining pair, Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, were released from prison in the lead-up to the 2014 Winter Olympics and (according to an anonymous statement on behalf of some of the band's members) booted from the band because they joined the Judean People's Front abandoned the group's original political values.[118] This is, however, called into a little bit of doubt by the fact that both were in the band's performance at the Olympics, where they were attacked with whips and pepper spray by security.[119]

International support[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Horseshoe theory
Putinism, it appears, has something for everyone. No ideological glue binds the Putin fan club together. For paleoconservatives unnerved by the spread of progressive cultural values and willing to empower the state to stem the tide, Putinism clothes the naked public square. For liberals who see unrestrained capitalism as a form of anarchic looting, Putinism puts the state back where it belongs: in control [...] In reality, Putinism is a violent, paranoid kleptocracy with no moral force, and those who make common cause with it, or seek to excuse it away, have surrendered any claim to moral probity.
—Seth Mandel[120]

Putin is popular with certain elements of the left,[121] particularly people who oppose Atlanticism,Wikipedia globalization, or US foreign policy. This "anti-imperialism" line was a staple of Soviet apologetics. The apparatchiks justified practically any move with "defense against Western Imperialism". And while the Soviets are dead and buried now, with their rhetoric you can play the Russian public, the left and right wings, like claviatures.[122][123] Putin, a literal Judo master (or perhaps not[124]), invokes this "political judo" stuff all the time.

Right-wing support for Russia isn't new. The support really started to grow in 2013, after the signing of the gay propaganda law. Those of the alt-right persuasion have been warming up to Russia for several years now, especially in light of Middle East unrest, the Saudi pipeline efforts in Syria, and the flood of Muslims into Europe. But even before Syria, Russia was known for having a very right-wing, ultra-orthodox government and politics. Their government is also active in promoting far-right politics outside of Russia and the U.S. The Tagesanzeiger published an article about a meeting of various far-right parties with representatives of like-minded Russian parties; far-left parties attended similar events. It suggests a network connecting European right-wingers (such as Le Pen, Michaloliakos,[125] Farage,[126] or Strache) and left-wingers (like Alexis Tsipras, Bernd Riexinger, George Galloway and Katja Kipping) to persons close to the Russian government.[127]

2016 US election interference[edit]

Putin with his pal.
Congratulations, US media! You've just covered your first press conference of an authoritarian leader with a massive ego and a deep disdain for your trade and everything you hold dear. We, in Russia, have been doing it for 12 years now— with a short hiatus when our leader wasn’t technically our leader — so quite a few things during Donald Trump's press conference rang my bells.
—Alexey Kovalev[128]

Donald Trump worked closely with the Kremlin throughout his Richard M. Nixon comeback tour Presidential campaign, namely by picking Paul "Agent to the Czars" Manafort as his campaign chief.[129][130][131] Trump publicly ordered Russia to deliver the goods on Clinton, which they did.[132] He continues to praise Russia and belittle his own nation to the news media.[133] He has stacked his cabinet and staff with Kremlin sympathizers. When you find out the CEO of Exxon has ties to Russia and you nominate him as Secretary of State, that's not draining the swamp. That's drinking it. (Trump voters are suckers of the first order.)[134] Now it appears he was not only coordinating with the Kremlin through his network and violating the Logan Act,[135] but the consensus in the U.S intelligence community is that Russia was behind the Guccifer 2.0 email hack which helped scuttle Clinton's campaign—though we may never know the extent of their involvement, nor will we ever truly understand just how much it actually affected the campaign at all.[136][137][138][139][140] However, the lack of publicly available evidence and suspicious parallels with the notorious 2002 intelligence reports on Iraqi "weapons of mass destruction" led some analysts to question the whole "Russian hack" narrative.[141][142] The strangest detail is the clumsiness of the "Guccifer 2.0" persona, with his Google-translated Romanian and blatant Russian language clues in the metadata; as James BamfordWikipedia put it, "the sloppy, Inspector Clouseau-like nature of the Guccifer 2.0 operation... smacked more of either an amateur operation or a deliberate deception".[143]

The United States has sent its best people to prevent further election interference.

During the election, Trump said he might stop sending aid to anti-Assad rebels in Syria as part of a U.S.-Russia peace process.[144] Six months after taking office, he ended the program, largely due to its failure to achieve the desired result of toppling the Syrian government.[145] Trump is even talking about reducing the power of American intelligence agencies specifically because they have information about Russia that Russia says is false.[146] He's already trashed the FBI's credibility and valued apolitical position.[147]

What's really fascinating is that the ruble is one of the worst performers post-election, yet the Russian government is barely able to contain its joy over Trump winning. This also ties into the massive deficit Russia is facing (they're in a deficit of over 3%. That's absolutely terrible.) So you can see why their government is so heavily supportive of Trump if it means sanctions lifting; it would be a giant weight lifted off the Russian economy.[148]

Buyers' Remorse[edit]

Despite preferring Trump to Clinton, the Kremlin grew increasingly frustrated with Donald Trump as President. The American leader said, in a tweet, that Crimea was taken by Russia, and his White House issued a statement on Valentine's Day declaring that sanctions would only be removed if Crimea is returned to Ukraine. Immediately thereafter, coverage of Trump, which exceeded coverage of Putin, was dramatically scaled back, and more criticism of Trump was allowed as disillusionment, bewilderment, and frustration grew within the Kremlin. So much for that. Let this be a lesson to all of Russia: you just joined the long list of investors screwed by Donald Trump.[149]

You like me, you really like me[edit]

In the new war of beliefs, Putin is saying, it is Russia that is on God’s side. The West is Gomorrah.
Pat Buchanan[150]

In a stroke of irony, Putin was shortlisted as the Conservapedia 2013 Conservative of the Year, showing that authoritarians around the world tend to stick together.[151] It's not just them; Patrick Buchanan and Fox News talking heads have also expressed an odd admiration for his style of leadership.[152][153]

And now for something completely different[edit]

No shirt? No problem!

Known for an alarmingly higher-pitched voice than his face indicates,[154] Putin likes to remind his countrymen (and the world) what a macho guy he is. He knows kung fu judo. He "captured"[155] and "tamed" (or "raised") a fully-grown tiger cub that he was given and kept as a pet.[156] He likes to go fishing without a shirt.[157] As far as public health campaigns go, "shirtless Putin" was very successful.

He brings his dog to staff meetings. In fact, he made a point of bringing the dog when he met with Angela Merkel, even though (or more likely because) he knew Merkel was uncomfortable around dogs. Putin loved his pet ChihuahuaWikipedia so much he let it sit in his presidential chair from 2008 to 2012 and even pretended that little Dima was actually in charge.

In recent years, he has been partly credited (alongside Russian optics firm LOMO) for saving film-based photography from extinction, given the surge in popularity of "Lomography."[158]

If his career in Russian politics were to end, he would be the perfect Bond villain. We could then see the fruition of Putin and his defense minister's plans for the development of futuristic weapons, including psychotronic weapons. Well... kinda. It's weird.[159]

Putin also holds the Guinness World Record for holding the most expensive (and weirdest) Olympic Games ever.[160][161] They were also perhaps the most dopingest in a long time. Or at least that's what we know thanks to Russian whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov and American documentary film-maker and amateur doping enthusiast Bryan Fogel[162]

Putin has said that he is a devout communist and joined the Communist Party of the Soviet Union by choice, comparing communism to Christianity and Lenin to a saint. However, he said in another interview that Lenin didn't go far enough with implementing communism. In addition, he has said that he doesn't want to revive the old Soviet Union but regrets its collapse, preferring to think about the future.

War in Ukraine[edit]

Euromaidan, Annexation of Crimea, and War in Donbas[edit]

The Black Sea's waters after Russia took Crimea.

Since 2013, Ukraine has become a global flashpoint between Russia and the United States. To put a long story short, Leonid KravchukWikipedia and Leonid KuchmaWikipedia, the first two presidents of Ukraine, maintained good relations with Russia, but their ties to both oligarchs and organized crime, especially mafia types, made it easier for a reformist named Viktor YushchenkoWikipedia to try to take power. Yushchenko was far more critical of Russia due to its own issues with corruption, oligarchy, and capitalism. When he was prime minister, Yushchenko lost a vote of no confidence because he was hated by centrists aligned with oligarchs.[163] When he ran for president, against a man named Viktor YanukovychWikipedia, Yushchenko was poisoned, although he survived and made a full recovery before going on to become president.[164][165] Yanukovych, who was himself running as an anti-corruption candidate, beat Yushchenko, became president, and initially took a neutralist stance between NATO and Russia. Eventually, Yanukovych abandoned all European deals and went with an economic deal with Russia, which pissed off Ukrainians so much that they not only protested but actually threw him out of the country after he ordered snipers to kill 100 protesters. Without Yanukovych, Putin used that as pretext to send the Russian military, which he called "little green men",[note 2][166] to annex Russian-majority Crimea and Sevastopol, while supporting pro-Russian separatists in Luhansk and Donetsk, two Russian language-majority cities in the Donbas region of Eastern Ukraine.[167]

Putin's imperial insanity[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Imperialism

On July 2021, Putin wrote an article detailing his views on Ukraine, which shares its origin story with Russia and Belarus through Kievan Rus (879–1240 CE), the original Russo-Ukrainian nation-state. In the article, titled "On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians",[168] Putin starts off fairly sentimental, downright emotional, and uncharacteristically generous in his views of Russians, Ukrainians, and Belarussians, saying they are one people, one nation, with one destiny. He details Ukraine and Russia's shared history, along with Belarus, but there's a catch: he thinks Ukraine is a fake country, he thinks Ukraine's history is fake, he thinks Ukraine's sovereignty is fake, he thinks Ukraine's independence was pushed by Western powers, and he complains that the West turned Ukraine into a proxy against Russia. He even explicitly blames the USSR for pandering to nationalists, splitting up Russian territory, and giving each Soviet republic the right to secede in the constitution, even though Ukraine cited the U.N. Charter, not Lenin's constitution, as the source for asseting their own self-determination. To repeat: he was pissed that historically non-Russian nations were allowed to identify as non-Russian.[169] [170] Many critics argued this was absolutely bugfuck irrational.[171]

On 22 February, 2022, he made a now-infamous hour-long speech basically reiterating and refurbishing his views from the article the year prior, where he recognized the Donetsk and Luhansk as independent republics and publicly humiliated his top spy chief for slightly moving against his decision.[172] During the speech, Putin in fact denies the existence of Ukraine as an independent nation,[21]:61-66 angrily calling it "a colony with a puppet regime" and with no historical right to exist.[173] Noting the large number of ethnic Russians in Ukraine, Putin compares "the formation of an ethnically pure Ukrainian state, aggressive towards Russia" to a use of weapons of mass destruction against Russians. This revisionist history has been called revanchist, imperialist, and neo-Tsarist.[174][175]

Putin vociferously argued that Ukraine should never join NATO because he sees NATO as a fundamental enemy of Russia due to NATO not disbanding when the Eastern Bloc disbanded. However, NATO has a very specific rule: countries with territorial disputes (meaning nations at war over contested land) are not eligible even to apply for NATO membership, let alone be granted actual membership. This happened to Georgia; carving out Abkhazia and South Ossetia meant Tbilisi was no longer even capable of applying for NATO membership. That means Ukraine also can't join NATO solely because of Crimea and Donbas. Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy himself said Ukraine joining NATO is but a "dream" and not a realistic possibility at all. And yet Putin invaded Ukraine anyway, making it clear that it was actually never about NATO. It was always about power, craved by a paranoid old rich man, who is desperate for a legacy but allergic to criticism and incapable of changing his ways, at great human cost.[176]. In short, Putin wants a legacy, and he's willing to assassinate Russia's international relations to get it.

1984[edit]

In the run-up to and during the 2022 invasion of Ukraine, Russia has shared some peculiar parallels with George Orwell's novel 1984. In 2014, at the time of Russia's seizure of Crimea and intervention in Donbas, Putin's ideological advisor, Aleksandr Dugin, had developed the concept of 'Eurasianism' to counter the West's 'Atlanticism' (NATO and the EU).[21]:89-90[177] These two concepts directly parallel Orwell's warring empires of Eurasia and Oceania. Similarly, historian Timothy Snyder refers specifically to Russia when he refers to the 'politics of eternity',[21] a concept that appears in 1984 in the lack of past or future, and in Putin's long and essentially unbroken reign from 1999 onward, with no obvious line of succession (Putin having eliminated all political opposition). Putin has removed nearly all independent media within Russia and engaged in enforced newspeak[178] (e.g., 'special military operation' rather than 'war' for the invasion of Ukraine), and doublespeak (e.g., giving the reason for the invasion as denazification of Ukraine despite the president being Jewish).[179] At least one Russian citizen has been punished for what is essentially thoughtcrime (holding up a blank sign in public).[90]

Z[edit]

The Russian Saint George's ribbonWikipedia[note 3] forming the letter Z

Another possible instance of doublespeak might be the use of the letter 'Z' for support of the Russian war despite 'Z' having no direct equivalent in the Russian alphabet (it uses two letters, З and Ж). Russian film critic compared the Russian "Z" to the zombies in the movie World War Z after his door was defaced with the letter.[180] However, an older, more pertinent, meaning that would represent doublespeak comes from the 1966 Greek anti-military-junta 1966 Z by Vassilis Vassilikos and 1969 film of the same name.[181] The Greek letter "Ζ" for Ζει ("he lives"), represented a protest against the assassination of democratically-elected President Grigoris Lambrakis in 1963.[182]

The letter "Z" and its significance to Russia and Ukraine since February 2022 is the perfect example of Orwellian post-truth. A bunch of Russian battle groups had Latin letters Z, V, and O marked on tanks and helicopters, apparently to identify them easier. The Russian Ministry of Defense posted on Instagram that the letter "Z" stood for the Russian phrase "for victory," which is "за победу," and is Latinized as "za pobedu." Another interpretation for "Z" is the Russian word for west (Russian: запад, romanized: zapad), to designate the Western Military District or west-bound infantry, or more generally to underline the Kremlin's imperial ambitions, with the "V" symbol similarly standing for the word for east (Russian: восток, romanized: vostok).[183] [184] [185] [186] It still makes no sense for why a Cyrillic-reading people would choose a bunch of non-Cyrillic letters to identify their military units. But in truth, the Z has no real deeper meaning beyond simply identifying Russian troops from Ukrainian troops in the war. It was used as a new tool for propaganda. It doesn't matter if the Z meant anything, because it now has a new meaning: pro-war, pro-Kremlin, ultra-nationalist bigotry. [187] The Z is officially said to symbolize two sevens, in reference to the 77th anniversary of Victory Day, a Russian celebration of the defeat of Nazi Germany.[188]

Invasion of Ukraine[edit]

Russian tank destroyed by Ukrainians during the invasion.

This followed a massive military build-up along the border with Ukraine, with nearly 200,000 Russian soldiers at the ready, including troops previously deployed in Belarus for military exercises, although Russia repeatedly denied any intention to escalate the war in Donbas or invade Kyiv.[189] This caused much consternation, but most people, including many within Russia itself, genuinely didn't believe Putin actually intended to invade.

On 21 February 2022, Russia officially recognized the Donetsk People's Republic and the Luhansk People's Republic, two self-proclaimed states in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine. The following day, on 22 February, Putin ordered Russian troops to "perform peacekeeping functions" in Donbas, and the Russian Federation Council unanimously authorized Putin to use military force outside Russia's borders.[190][191][192]

On 24 February 2022, Putin announced a "special military operation" in eastern Ukraine; minutes later, missiles began to hit locations across Ukraine, including the capital, Kyiv. The Ukrainian Border Service said that its border posts with Russia and Belarus were attacked. It was an all-out assault, an unprovoked series of attacks on military and civilian targets. Two hours later, Russian ground forces entered the country from Crimea, Belarus, Donbas, and the Black Sea. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy responded by enacting martial law, severing diplomatic ties with Russia, and ordering general mobilization. This war of aggression shocked everyone, except the United States; President Joe Biden and his administration repeatedly warned that Putin would attack Kyiv, but no one believed the White House until it was too late.[193]

Thousands of Russians protested the war and found themselves arrested by police. Many Russians feel a kinship with Ukrainians, and even hawkish Russians who supported Crimea or Donbas found it utterly incomprehensible and absolutely indefensible to attack and invade Kyiv.[194][195] Putin cited his plans to "demilitarize and de-Nazify" Ukraine, ignoring that Ukraine's president, Zelenskyy, is Jewish, which earned him rounds of mocking worldwide.[196] This also ignores how Putin himself emboldened the rise of, say, Azov Battalion precisely because he attacked the country. It's a problem he made worse.

Putin is a war criminal because he ordered the invasion of the sovereign state of Ukraine which has been widely recognized as a war of aggression.[197][198][199]

Pariah state[edit]

A bully has no friends.

This led to near-unanimous condemnation all over the world. Kazakhstan, a close ally and neighbor of Russia, which sent troops to quell anti-government protests to support them, refused to send weapons or troops and even rejected Russian calls to recognize Luhansk and Donetsk, a humiliating loss for Putin.[200] NATO and the U.S. authorized weapons, ammunition, equipment, and other supplies, including anti-armor and anti-aircraft weapons to Ukraine against Russia.[201] The European Union not only agreed as an organization to purchase hundreds of millions of Euros' worth of lethal aid but also shut down their airspace to all Russian airlines, isolating Russia.[202]

Putin is a dickheadWikipedia (Путин хуйло)

Putin began to show signs of frustration-induced instability. A day after Finland and Sweden said that they would not join NATO, Putin threatened to invade Finland and Sweden anyway.[203] This provoked Sweden to break with their neutrality and arm Ukraine against Russia, an unprecedented sign of the times.[204][205]

Russian propaganda sites, like RT and Sputnik, were banned by the European Union for peddling disinformation and dehumanizing rhetoric against Putin's enemies. Multiple internet media sites, such as Google, banned downloads of all Russian news media apps, kicked Russian TV off the airwaves, and state-backed media channels were thrown off the grid because of their support of the war in Ukraine.[206][207][208][209][210]

International sanctions[edit]

I’ll say that if they are not waging ‘war’ in Ukraine according to Putin’s definition, then we are also not putting economic sanctions on them. It is simply a ‘financial operation.’
—Artis Pabriks, defense minister of Latvia[211]

International sanctions were issued against Russian elites, oligarchs, lawmakers, government officials, and Putin himself.[212] While many European countries were reluctant to sanction their biggest trading partner when it came to oil and gas, Germany, Italy, Hungary, and others eventually relented the longer the war in Ukraine waged. This included banning several Russian banks from SWIFT, the international bank-to-bank transfer system, which meant that Russia lost access to an international payment system and thus Russians cannot use their money outside their country.[213] Even China began restricting Russian bank financing.[214][215] Losing hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of financing means they can't properly finance the invasion of Ukraine.[216] Even the Russian Central Bank was sanctioned, which directly hurts the pockets of not only everyday Russians but also Russian elites.[217][218] By February 27, 2022, the ruble plunged to a record low as a result of all the sanctions, having dropped a full 50% against the dollar.[219]

Western businesses leave Russia[edit]

Following the invasion and early sanctions in response to it, major Western businesses and monopolies have decided to either greatly limit activity or services in Russia or to pull out of the country altogether. Such businesses include Ikea, Spotify, Netflix, Disney, Warner Bros., Adidas, General Motors, Harley Davidson, ExxonMobile, Boeing, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, Volkswagen, Airbnb, the H&M fast-food chain, BP, Dell, Google, Facebook (parent company now called Meta), Shell, Apple, Nike, TikTok,[note 4] Paypal, MasterCard, and Visa, thereby depriving ordinary Russians of much of their livelihoods and money.[220] [221] [222]

Reasons for suspending business or services may vary, and in the case of media companies, the draconian law imposed by Russia to enforce its propaganda about the war, with the threat of up to 15 years in prison for contradicting it, brought a greater pressure to leave Russia. It was cited by Chinese-owned TikTok, which wanted to keep employees and users safe.[223]

Raising the specter of Nuclear War[edit]

Citing “aggressive statements” by NATO and tough financial sanctions, Putin issued a directive to increase the readiness of Russia’s nuclear weapons, raising fears that the invasion of Ukraine could lead to nuclear war, whether by design or mistake. In practice, this changed very little, just putting a few more soldiers on duty at missile silos; however, the fact that Putin put this nuclear dead cat onto the table has pushed an already tense international situation into overdrive.[224][225][226]

Anti-war sentiment in Russia[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Pacifism
A protester holding a "No War" sign.

Despite the iron grip Putin has on the press and the police, Russians publicly spoke out against the war, including Russian athletes, Russian children of government ministers, and even Russian capitalists and oligarchs who made their wealth in the finance and energy sectors that were sanctioned. Thousands of anti-war protesters were arrested throughout the first week of the war. Open letters condemning Russia's invasion of Ukraine kept pouring, too. More than 6,000 medical workers put their names under one on February 26; over 3,400 architects and engineers endorsed another while 500 teachers signed a third one. Similar letters by journalists, municipal council members, cultural figures, and other professional groups began making the rounds. Statements decrying the invasion even came from some parliament members, who earlier had voted to recognize the independence of two separatist regions in eastern Ukraine, a move that preceded the Russian assault. Two lawmakers from the Communist Party, which usually toes the Kremlin's line, spoke out against the hostilities on social media.[227][228][229][230]

An entire delegation of Russian lawmakers in a Gagarinsky municipal district wrote an appeal to Putin, saying not only that the invasion was "a disaster", but that the invasion is "a path to the degradation and impoverishment of the country. No other actions could cause more damage to the Russian economy."[231] Marina Ovsyannikova, an employee of Russia's state-run Channel 1, ran into the studio mid-live broadcast of the network's most-watched news show on March 14, yelling "Stop the war!" and holding up a sign that said "They’re lying to you here." [232]

Anti-war protests and rallies spread all the way to the heart of Moscow, and one very specific phrase has taken hold among Russian protesters: "Net voine," meaning "No War." These two words are enough cause for Kremlin police to arrest protesters. [233]

Losing the propaganda war[edit]

When he was in the KGB, Putin learned how to manipulate language to Orwellian levels and used that to perfection as President of Russia, leading to a massive propaganda network of "alternative" media peddling half-truths and falsehoods to maintain plausible deniability. He gained a reputation for being a skilled spin doctor, a leading propagandist, and a master at information warfare, weaponizing social media via troll farms and bot swarms, aggressively promoting fake narratives, and laundering misinformation not necessarily to change minds but to confuse and disorient people, essentially a mix of Madman theory, Moral equivalence, and Whataboutism. But when he invaded Ukraine unprovoked, Putin shot himself in the foot. Many experts and analysts even within Russia itself have found that Putin lost the information war in Ukraine, precisely because his propaganda network was literally built on lies. His prevarications were so brazen and ridiculous, so against reality, that literally everybody saw just how much a paper tiger his propaganda network really was. A house of cards built on lies can only last so long, as Ukrainian counter-information efforts helped seize the war narrative away from Putin, who refused to call the war a war and instead just a "special military operation." His Orwellian style may work in times of peace, but it fell apart spectacularly in wartime. [234] [235] [236]

This is partly due to the European Union and United States banning and/or demonetizing Russian propaganda outlets like RT, depriving Putin of a huge chunk of his misinformation empire.[237] Another reason is due to Klitschko, the mayor of Kyiv, and Zelenskyy, the president of Ukraine, both being media savvy men who started, not as politicians, but as athletes (Klitschko) and comedians (Zelenksyy) who became popular partly due to their own decades-long careers navigating and controlling media narratives for themselves in their respective fields. They knew exactly how to counter Putin's propaganda. [238] The other reason is Putin's war on truth became so brazen it was hard not to notice, as he was not even bothering to seem credible anymore, changing lies on a dime, and shifting to an even poorer man's Gish Gallop by accusing America and the West of stuff that is literally impossible to do in reality. [239] People simply didn't buy his bullshit, and once you lose the narrative early, it's almost impossible to win it back.

Largely due to pressure from the Ukrainian government and other foreign leaders, tech giants and cable providers took action against “state-sponsored disinformation campaigns” from Russia, and outside Russia, Putin's propaganda machine was rendered all but extinct.[240] And while he has "intensified his domination of state-run media" and "strangulation of independent media," Putin is reportedly "struggling to fully control the narrative at home." Many Russians know how to circumvent censorship due to decades of soft-touch censorship within Russia since Putin took over. [241] Even at home, Putin can only do so much to stop people from learning of his war crimes. [242]

Descent into paranoia, fascism, and totalitarianism[edit]

[Russians] will always be able to distinguish true patriots from scum and traitors and will simply spit them out like a gnat that accidentally flew into their mouths. I am convinced that such a natural and necessary self-purification of society will only strengthen our country.
—Putin unironically talking like a fascist while ranting about anti-war protesters.[243]

With a severe economic crisis, near-total isolation from the western half of the world, and western companies leaving the country in droves, Putin was reportedly "disconnected from reality," isolated from any criticism or differing opinions of any kind, and surrounded by yes-men who either owe their careers to him or are too afraid to challenge an increasingly angry Russian autocrat. [244] [245] American and European intelligence both report that Putin appeared "isolated" and "reliant on a small coterie of advisers" who did "not (tell) him the truth about how difficult and costly conquering Ukraine is turning out to be." Putin seriously underestimated the West, and analysts see a leader on edge, at risk of lashing out when he feels cornered.[246] Putin also blocked access to both Western media and independent news sites in the country, and Russia's lower house of parliament passed a bill that criminalizes journalism critical of the war, including journalists who use the word “war” to describe Russia’s assault. [247]

In a televised speech from the Kremlin, Putin went on an unhinged rant complaining about a Western-aligned "fifth column" of "traitors" in his country who want the "destruction of Russia." He then brazenly said Russia should undergo a "self-cleansing of society" to rid itself of all undesirables who are toxic to the state,[248] which are actual fascist talking points. [249] [250] [251] [252] Graffiti warnings were later sprayed over journalists' and activists' doors of their homes from apparent pro-Putin supporters who accused them of treason.[253]

Putin has grown increasingly paranoid over the decades of him being in power, and that paranoia turned him into an outright control freak by the Ukraine invasion. Since he couldn't control the narrative globally, he intensified his control of information at home by censoring the Russian internet, restricting social media (like TikTok) in Russia,[254] blocking Instagram and Twitter, [255] [256] and designating Facebook an "extremist" website. All of these sites have been used by Russians to voice their discontent with the government, and without it, a culture of fear has overcome the Russian population, who are terrified of Putin's police using violence against them and Putin's legal bureaucracy ruining their chances at future careers. [257] [258] [259] [260] [261]

Putin has turned Russia into a de facto totalitarian state due to his stubborn refusal to even allow Russians to simply voice their opinions, even when they're supportive of him. Analysts say Putin wants to control how people think and what they say because he's desperate to hold onto power. Because of his aggressive actions against Ukraine and his fellow citizens, he is paradoxically at his weakest and most vulnerable in his entire career.[262]

Here are a few examples of Putin's totalitarianism. Putin banned foreign correspondents from reporting on Russia during his war in Ukraine, which prevents the average Russian from seeing his war crimes taking place against their friends and families in Ukraine.[263] Gestures of solidarity with Ukraine were de facto criminalized. Accounts of schoolchildren and their parents detained in police cells after laying flowers at the Ukrainian embassy suggest escalation to totalitarian levels of repression. Under these circumstances, demonstrations against the war are acts of tremendous courage. Russians who are outraged are increasingly finding themselves behind bars or out of the country entirely as de facto exiles. [264] A Russian twitter user was recording a Russian female protester, who held up an anti-war sign and immediately got arrested by Russian police. A second woman walked into frame, and right before she could even voice her opinion, police arrested her too.[265] [266] One Russian woman even said she supported Putin's invasion of Ukraine, and she was still arrested by the police. [267] On YouTube, there is a Russia-based channel called 1420 that asks everyday Russians random questions for western audiences to gauge a bit on how normal Russians think about the world, and after the invasion of Ukraine, when asked how they felt about Putin, many of the Russians asked were visibly shaken and fearful of answering. [268] When that same channel and interviewer asked if they blamed the US, while some said yes, most preferred not to answer at all, showing that a climate of fear has overtaken the Russian population. [269]

Russian lawmakers passed a bill that officially charges anti-war protesters with up to 15 years of imprisonment. The bill claims to be targeting "fake news," which should be understood as anybody who opposes the government's views. One of the first to be charged was a food blogger named Veronika Belotserkovskaya, who joked that she was “officially declared a decent person” for opposing the war. Belotserkovskaya is friends with Ksenia Sobchak, the daughter of Putin’s political mentor Anatoly Sobchak.[270]

Despite all the speculation of his inevitable fall from power, realistically speaking, the chances of Putin being ousted in a coup or popular uprising are small precisely because Putin structured the Russian state to preempt any threats to his power. By arresting or killing leading dissidents, jailing oligarchs who oppose him, and ramping up repression at home against anti-war sentiment, Putin has instilled fear in the general public and made the country’s leadership class "dependent on his goodwill" for their continued prosperity. But as the Ukraine war drags on, losses begin to mount, and peace talks continue to go nowhere, in the face of a near-economic depression from the war and the sanctions, it is no longer impossible to imagine Putin losing power before his death.[271]

Case in point, by mid-March 2022, 15,000 protesters were arrested in Moscow and Saint Petersburg. [272]

Scapegoating his officers[edit]

Russia is a country essentially ruled by its siloviki, its security/military/intelligence cadres, particularly FSB officers and former KGB agents (like Putin himself). But by April 2022, over a month since he invaded Ukraine, Putin was so furious over the poor state of the military that he dismissed 150 FSB officers from their posts, and the head of the FSB department responsible for Ukraine was arrested and sent to prison. All of those ousted were employees of the Fifth Service, a division set up in 1998, when Putin was director of the FSB, to carry out operations in the countries of the former Soviet Union with the aim of keeping them within Russia’s orbit. Sergei Beseda, a former FSB chief, was arrested on "embezzlement," but in truth, Russian-based reporters believe Beseda was arrested for the botched invasion, which has been blamed on poor intelligence concerning the political situation in Ukraine. Putin sent Beseda to Lefortovo, a Siberian jail, as a "very strong message" to Russian elites and Kremlin operatives.[273] But it must be made known: the only reason Russia invaded Ukraine was because Putin wanted it. Blaming other people for carrying out your orders is called "blaming others for your fuckups."

Quagmire: A mix of Iraq and Vietnam[edit]

See the main articles on this topic: Iraq War and Vietnam War
Dead victim of a Russian attack in Mariupol, Ukraine.

According to experts, Russia's plan was to do a decapitation strike on Ukraine's capital, establish air dominance, destroy Ukrainian military communication, cut off Ukraine's eastern army, encircle Kyiv, kill President Zelenskyy, and prop up a pro-Kremlin puppet government, all of which Putin apparently expected to accomplish in less than three days, which he failed spectacularly to do.[274] This plan was confirmed as quite feasible by Putin's team of highly-skilled yes-men operating in a tightly-sealed echo chamber.[275] He has done the very thing he never wanted to see: revitalizing Western unity, justifying NATO's existence, proving US intelligence right about his motives, and provoking Europe to militarize way beyond they ever wanted in response to his imperialism.[276]

Many military experts, journalists, political observers, and long-time analysts compared Russia's conduct in Ukraine to that of America in Iraq and Vietnam: a small country with both conventional military and irregular military inflicting heavy losses against an overconfident, under-equipped, far-larger invading force. Russians were shocked at the strong and widespread resistance and defense by Ukrainians, who inflicted heavy losses on the Russians. By the fourth day of the invasion, Russia had lost several thousand troops (many of whom were young conscripts still in their teens used as cannon fodder) and hundreds of Russian tanks and dozens of helicopters, fighters, armored personnel carriers, fuel tankers, and combat vehicles and in April 14th the flagship of the Black Sea fleetWikipedia. By the fourth day, Russia kept getting repulsed from Kyiv, Kharkiv, and other such Ukrainian cities, although Russian advances in the south were far more successful. However, the overall picture is very disappointing for Russia, because they still could claim air superiority in Ukraine, and losing at least one thousand troops is a massive blow to Russian troop morale. Many captured Russian troops admitted they don't support the war either, don't understand why they're fighting Ukraine, or never knew they were about to invade until literally hours before the invasion began, with some even confessing that their superiors simply threw them into war without regard for the troops' own safety.[277][278][279][280]

According to Sergey Markov, a longtime Kremlin propagandist and a frequent face on Kremlin state TV, Putin expected "30 to 50 percent of the Ukrainian Armed Forces would switch over to Russia's side," and conceded "No one is switching over." Demonstrably angry by all this, Putin has stepped up repression at home, refusing to even allow everyday Russians to see, with their own two eyes, exactly how horribly he's managed the war.[281]

Michael Kofman, director of Russia Studies at CNA and Senior Adjunct Fellow of CNAS, is a longtime Russian military analyst. Kofman's assessment of Russia's progress in Ukraine through the first week was that Moscow "badly miscalculated". He went on to say that Putin and the Kremlin more generally planned to reach Kyiv and force a surrender within a few days, so they tried to win "quickly and cheaply", expected a quick surrender by Ukraine, and thereby avoid their usual scorched-earth tactics because of political considerations and an unrealistic view of military logistics. While Kofman cautioned that the Russian military's greater manpower and firepower do portend success in the future, the Ukrainian resistance has been far stronger than Moscow expected, and many Russian soldiers simply do not support the war even as they wage it.[282]

Nicholas Laidlaw, a former US marine and military analyst, noted multiple Russian POW testimonies confirming that Russians are not using digital communication; that's how bad their logistics were during the first week of the invasion. [283] This was backed up by Jack Detsch, a national security reporter with deep Pentagon ties and contacts, confirming that Russia has severe logistical problems, saying that Russian soldiers are "not only running out of fuel, they are running out of food."[284]

By the third week of the invasion, US intelligence and observers found 7000 Russian soldiers killed by Ukraine in less than a month, which is more than all of America's losses in the previous twenty years in the Middle East. US intelligence even says that's an undercount. [285] For reference, Americans only lost around 4000 soldiers in all of the Iraq War. [286]

"Everything is fucked"[edit]

According to an independent investigative Russian media outlet, Kremlin officials were reportedly "shocked" that Putin would invade Ukraine all the way up to Kyiv, and were in utter disbelief when news of the assault occurred. According to the independent outlet Agency, the Kremlin was completely unprepared for just how harsh and punishing the sanctions were, specifically naming its ousting from SWIFT, the freezing of Russian foreign reserves, including by the US, and the exit of a string of Western companies from Russia, with an anonymous Kremlin source even saying, "Everything is fucked." Another anonymous source to Agency said Kremlin officials cannot resign from their posts because it would be seen as a betrayal and Putin would throw them in jail.[287]

Putin was reportedly "furious" at the sanctions, and many within intelligence communities feared that Putin would lash out by ordering civilian deaths in Ukraine.[288] By March 1st, Putin in fact switched strategies, preferring "more brutal, tactless, unrestricted warfare," which will "lead to many more civilian casualties and bloodier battle," as shown in a massive convoy of Russian tanks and other combat vehicles massed near Kyiv.[289]

A grand total of three Russian commanders were killed by Ukrainians by March 2022, which is unusual because that means Russian officers are on the front lines getting killed, and this has led to a drop in morale for their troops in their respective columns.[290]

Putin has reportedly conducted a "purge" of his military and intelligence officers, putting several top security commanders under house arrest "due to their failures in Ukraine." This includes the FSB's foreign intelligence branch, Sergey Beseda, and his deputy Anatoly Bolyukh, for "unreliable, incomplete and partially false information about the political situation in Ukraine.” At least eight generals were also replaced by Putin in response to the growing debacle in Ukraine. [291] [292]

War crimes, civilian deaths, and unreasonable ceasefire demands[edit]

Ruined Ukrainian city shelled by the Russian military.

According to ABC News' Moscow reporter Patrick Reevell, Putin's demands for ending the war are hilariously bonkers: Ukraine must change its constitution to ensure it never joins NATO or the EU, must recognize Crimea as part of Russia, and must recognize Donbas and Luhansk as independent breakaway republics. [293] This comes as Putin stubbornly refuses to budge from his intent to "invade, occupy and make Ukraine part of Russia, and erase the name Ukraine and replace it with Russia." Russian forces, nearly two weeks into the invasion, made significant advances in southern Ukraine and along the coast, but "many of its efforts have become stalled, including an immense military convoy that has been almost motionless for days north of Kyiv."

Russia's military, though superior, has been dogged by logistical challenges, including food and fuel shortages, and a "lack of cohesion and discipline." As predicted, once logistics became a real problem for the Kremlin's military, Russian forces began shelling civilian areas within multiple cities, including Kyiv and Kharkiv, while cutting off whole cities' populations from food, water, and electricity, a siege tactic already tried in both Aleppo, Syria and Grozny, Chechnya. Numerous attempts at ceasefires for humanitarian corridors were violated by Russia shelling families trying to flee the violence. With all of that, Putin still has the gall to demand that the invasion could end "only if Kyiv ceases hostilities." [294] [295]

The Ukrainian mayor of Melitopol, Ivan Fedorov, was kidnapped by Russian soldiers who put a bag over his head and rushed him out of a building, which was caught on camera. [296] [297] [298] Disturbingly, as Fedorov was kidnapped, Galina Danilchenko, a former city council member, was installed as the pro-Russian mayor of Melitopol, and she called on Ukrainians in her city to "adapt" to the occupation, trying to keep them from resisting. [299] Fedorov, a 33-year old politician, urged Ukrainians to "defy" the Russian "occupiers," completely blindsiding the Russians who expected to be greeted as liberators. His disappearance only served to inspire more civil disobedience against the Russians. [300] Thankfully, Zelenskyy announced that an operation to rescue Fedorov succeeded and, in exchange for releasing nearly a dozen Russian POWs,[301] Fedorov would return to his duties as mayor of Melitopol. [302] [303] [304]

The Kremlin, to nobody's surprise, claimed they had not committed war crimes and that they only strike military targets. Vitaly Klitschko, mayor of Kyiv, said "Bullshit," pointed to a ruined residential building, and asked "Where is the military target? Is this building a military target?" [305]

Bucha massacre, animal cruelty, and allegations of genocide[edit]

After Ukrainian soldiers won the Battle of Kyiv and pushed the Russians out of Kyiv Oblast, they discovered a sight so grisly it looked like something out of a 20th-century documentary. Civilians had their hands tied behind their backs and holes in their heads, execution-style. Dead Ukrainians were put in makeshift mass graves underneath snow. Some were even thrown inside a sewer. Several naked women, who were also tied up, had their dead bodies found on a highway. Bodies were left uncovered in full public view. Some had their bodies mangled so badly, that they were likely run over by Russian tanks. Some had the types of wounds you'd expect from people who were tortured to death. President Zelenskyy claimed these killings were genocidal. Multiple volunteers were killed for trying to feed starving animals. Russian soldiers also allegedly put Ukrainian children on their tanks as human shields. According to Ukrainian officials, around 300 people were killed in these ways. But the Kremlin refuses to acknowledge Russian involvement in the massacre, with Lavrov even claiming it was a "fake attack" and a "provocation." The New York Times published satellite imagery showing evidence that the dead bodies were there for weeks, when the Russians occupied Bucha, which directly proves Lavrov wrong. [306] [307] [308] [309] [310] [311]

The charges of genocide, while extraordinary, gained steam after a Russian state propaganda outlet, RIA Novosti, published an article titled "What Russia Must Do With Ukraine." For context, RIA stands for "Russian Information Agency," or "Rossiyskoye Informatsionnoye Agentstvo" in Russian, and RT is one of its subsidiaries. RIA Novosti is the most important modern-day Russian state propaganda network. The writer of the article explains what they think Russia "must" do to Ukraine, which is that their "elite" class must be "liquidated, they cannot be re-educated" because "Ukraine must pay for its guilt towards Russia." The RIA Novosti article says Ukraine "must be treated as an enemy, and therefore may develop only in dependency to Russia." That means, as explicitly stated by RIA Novosti, Ukraine must not have a "Marshall Plan" or neutrality in any way, either ideologically or practically. RIA Novosti's article claims that any time Ukraine becomes independent, it inevitably becomes an enemy of Russia, and so RIA Novosti asserts that "Ukraine may not exist as a national state" because "any attempt to create it leads to Nazism." It agrees with Putin's assertion that "Ukraine is an artificial anti-Russian construct," saying "De-Nazification is not enough" unless it includes the complete destruction of the Ukrainian nation, which they call "De-Ukrainization." [312] [313]

It doesn't stop there either. The utterly-batshit RIA Novosti article lays out, in detail, the Kremlin's plans for Ukraine, and in a word, its annihilation. It says Russia should establish an "exclusion line" where "the haters of Russia will go" to "forcibly neutral and demilitarized Ukraine will remain." It plans to divide the country between eastern and western lines, where the east will be occupied by Russian forces for at least a generation, outright saying "permanent De-Nazification institutions" will be there "for a period of 25 years." Any armed formations arrayed against Russia in Ukraine, including the Armed Forces of Ukraine must face "elimination, as well as "the military, informational, and educational infrastructure that ensures their activity." It says all "liberated" territories must establish "people’s self-government institutions and militia (defense and law enforcement)" to protect ethnic Russians from anyone the Kremlin calls a Nazi. It advocates for the seizure of "educational materials" and the "prohibition of educational programs at all levels that contain Nazi ideological guidelines," meaning anything even approaching Ukrainian nationalism, resistance, and independence, or liberation rhetoric against the occupation, is now a threat to the Kremlin. Mass investigations aimed to "establish personal responsibility for war crimes, crimes against humanity, the spread of Nazi ideology, and support for the Nazi regime" would be established as show trials against anyone who dared to resist the Russian invasion. The article even says outright that "making the names of accomplices" of the Kyiv government should be made public, and as a punishment, they would be put in "forced labor" to "restore the destroyed infrastructure as punishment for Nazi activities (from among those who have not become subject to the death penalty or imprisonment)." It also says that, "under the supervision of Russia," there will be a "ban on all types and forms of the revival of Nazi ideology," which again means Ukrainian nationalism as a whole, not merely its far-right excesses. This level of "De-Ukrainization" will require Russia to "finally part with pro-European and pro-Western illusions" so they can "free" Ukraine from "intoxication, temptation, and dependence of the so-called European choice." [314]

This is not helped by reports of Russian soldiers deliberately destroying libraries and books on the history of Ukraine, Ukrainian independence, and on Ukrainian national resistance. All Ukrainian-language books have been hunted, burned, torn apart, or otherwise stolen in the Chernihiv, Sumy, Donetsk and Luhansk regions. [315] There were even eyewitness videos taken by Ukrainians showing people's dead dogs put in piles. You don't systematically kill people's pets unless you want to systematically kill the people.[316]

Animal cruelty has been weaponized by the Kremlin against Ukraine. It is now a method of terror and yet another act of wanton brutality. In Chernihiv, to the east of Kyiv, Russian soldiers "executed dozens of cows and calves, shooting them in their throats and eyes at point-blank range and even beheading some, leaving the heads in a pile. Residents described the killings as violence for its own sake." [317]

The soldiers accused of carrying out the Bucha massacre are reportedly the 64th Separate Guards Motor Rifle Brigade. Putin signed a letter congratulating the unit for “protecting Russia's sovereignty," saying these soldiers acted with “great heroism and courage” in murdering unarmed civilians. He even bestowed them with an honorary title, calling the unit "a role model in fulfilling its military duty, valour, dedication and professionalism."[318]

Oil and Gas[edit]

The Black Sea's oil and gas fields.

In 2012, it was discovered that Ukraine’s deep territorial waters may contain "more than 2 trillion cubic meters of gas", which is about 40% of all Ukrainian energy resources. This would have turned Ukraine into a major gas and oil trading power, rivaling that of Russia. Once Ukraine kicked out their pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych, Russia sent troops to seize and annex Crimea in 2014, giving Russia control of 80% of Ukraine's offshore oil and gas deposits in the Black Sea. Most of Ukraine's territorial waters came under Russian control with Crimea's annexation, which meant two-thirds of all that untapped natural gas is now under the Kremlin's management.[319][320] There was talk of Crimea nationalizing oil and gas assets within its borders belonging to Ukraine and selling them off to Russia. By May 2014, Putin was keenly interested in "acquiring rights to underwater resources potentially worth trillions of dollars", but both Ukraine and Russia have found it difficult to tap into all that untouched natural gas.[321][322]

Europe's dependence on Russian oil and gas caused America to try to redirect energy supplies to Europe in light of the Ukraine invasion. As a leading producer of fossil fuels, Russia used energy revenue to accumulate some $630 billion in foreign exchange reserves. Russia used to rely on Ukraine to transport oil and gas through Europe through the use of the network of Soviet-era pipelines crisscrossing Ukraine and other Eastern European countries. Moscow has sought to build new pipelines, including the controversial NordStream 1 and 2 through the Baltic Sea to Germany, to bypass its older networks and curb its reliance on Ukraine. It has also approved a new gas pipeline to China, though its sales there would still be a fraction of its European sales. Russia supplies about one-third of European natural gas consumption, used for winter heating as well as electricity generation and industrial production. The European Union also turns to Russia for more than one-quarter of its crude oil imports, the bloc’s largest single energy source.[323] The energy angle is very important because if it still had control of the Black Sea, Ukraine would have challenged and potentially surpassed Russia's money pot from fossil fuels. Crimean annexation explicitly ended that possibility for the foreseeable future.[324]

See also[edit]

  • South Ossetia - A puppet state carved out by Russia in the early days of Georgia's independence. Like Russia, they have a poor human rights record with a false democracy at the helm of a plutocratic, oligarchic, and ultra-capitalist system.
  • Ukraine, which he invaded twice, first to annex Crimea in 2014, then to attack the entire country in 2022.
  • Georgia (country), which he also invaded back in 2008, recognizing the separatist Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions as breakaway puppet states against Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili.
  • Chechnya - Winning the Second Chechen War is how Putin even came to power to begin with, as Boris Yeltsin's failures in the First Chechen War contributed to a feeling of national humiliation felt by the Russian people in the 1990s.
  • Boris Yeltsin - Putin's predecessor and the man who chose him to be Prime Minister, second in line to the presidency. When Yeltsin resigned a day before the turn of the millennium, Putin became Acting President in the midst of the Chechen crisis. He took a hard line against the Chechens, won the 2000 election, and the rest is history. So in many ways, you can legit blame Yeltsin for even allowing Putin to rise to power to begin with.
  • Ramzan Kadyrov - The dictator of Chechnya, who in many ways is Putin on steroids. He keeps things stable in Chechnya, and no matter how brutal he is, Putin and the Kremlin can't afford to upset him because he can easily ignite a Third Chechen War at any time.
  • Bashar al-Assad - His little lapdog close ally in the Middle East
Erdoğan-o-meter
  • Recep Tayyip Erdoğan — Take all of the above and ram it up to eleven,Wikipedia and you got yourself a constitutionally-enshrined dictator, not just an autocrat with authoritarian leanings like his colleagues. Along with Putin and Orbán, these three are the most dangerous men in Europe; Erdoğan for his rivalry with the Kurds, Orbán for his denial of refugees during the migrant crisis, and Putin for his Ukraine escapades. But unlike Putin, Erdogan and Orbán just don't have the ability to do anything but put their countries in rewind mode.
  • Viktor Orbán - Another reactionary who took over the media, twisted electoral law into his favor to stay in power (even changing the constitution to that end), uses anti-liberal and anti-democratic language to drum up intense populist fervor, and rages against the west as a bogeyman while inflaming ethnic tensions whenever politically convenient.
  • RT — If you're looking for op-eds, RT isn't all bad. They've got Ed Schultz, Thom Hartmann, Chris Hedges, anarcho-syndicalist Noam Chomsky, Patrick Cockburn, Alex Salmond, and Julian Assange, nearly all of whom supported Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders over Donald Trump. (And, uhh, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones... for balance, we guess?) But that doesn't make it Russia's PBS.
  • Trump-Russia connection
  • Whataboutism and moral equivalence — These are unsurprisingly, favorite tactics for this former-KGB officer.[325]
  • United Russia, the governing party of Russia, made up of careerists, opportunists, capitalists, oligarchs, and especially the siloviki, military-security-intelligence types from the KGB and FSB.
  • Communist Party of the Russian Federation, which is a bunch of homophobic, transphobic, nationalistic, authoritarian neo-Stalinists who never truly oppose Putin even as theater.
  • Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, a xenophobic pro-authoritarian party who serves as the "systemic opposition," meaning they only "oppose" Putin in name, and never in action. Their most infamous member is Vladimir Zhirinovsky, who reads like a near-perfect stereotype of angry drunk Russian men.
  • Nashi - A government-run, government-sponsored youth movement full of Putin fanboys, created solely to co-opt radical youth politics happening in Ukraine during the Orange Revolution.
  • Rashism - Despite claiming to be anti-fascist, Putin's regime is the closest thing to a fascist dictatorship that Russia has ever experienced in its modern history.
  • Transnistria- One of several unrecognized countries under the influence of Russia.

Videos[edit]

External links[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. India also opposed the resolution but does not have veto power.[58]
  2. No, that kind of "Little Green Men", but unmarked Russian soldiers in green uniforms.[166]
  3. Saint George of the dragon mythos.
  4. TikTok is unusual among them in having a Chinese owner.

References[edit]

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  2. Poo Tin Meme (March 12, 2022) Daily Memes.
  3. Humorously enough, there was a Putin as depicted by Clancy.He didn't end up so well.
  4. You can see the specific quote at 36:36 of this video.
  5. W's nickname for PutinWikipedia
  6. "The making of a neo-KGB state", Economist 8.23.07.
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  8. [https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2022/04/ukraine-russian-forces-extrajudicially-executing-civilians-in-apparent-war-crimes-new-testimony/
  9. Sefanov, Mike (22 December 2008) Russian presidential term extended to 6 years
  10. Referendum In Russia Passes, Allowing Putin To Remain President Until 2036, NPR (1 July 2020)
  11. Behind the Scenes in Putin's Court: The Private Habits of a Latter-Day Dictator, Newsweek.
  12. Shekhovtsov, Anton, "Vladimir Zhirinovsky and the LDPR", Foreign Policy Journal 11.7.07. "Liberal-Democratic Party"? Sounds great! Except they aren't really democratic, and far from liberal; in fact, they are even more radical than Putin himself.
  13. Bennetts and Alexander, "Vladimir Putin's Red Scare? Inside Russia's Resurgent Communist Party", Newsweek via Reuters (7/31/16 at 9:00 AM).
  14. See the Wikipedia article on Alexei Navalny.
  15. Opinion: For Putin, it wasn't enough to smear, harass and poison Navalny The Washington Post 2 March 2021
  16. 'No Doubt' That Navalny Poisoning Was Russian Operation, Former CIA Russia Chief Says NPR 3 September 2020.
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  21. 21.00 21.01 21.02 21.03 21.04 21.05 21.06 21.07 21.08 21.09 21.10 21.11 21.12 21.13 21.14 21.15 21.16 21.17 21.18 21.19 21.20 The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America by Timothy Snyder (2018) Tim Duggan Books. ISBN 0525574468.
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  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 Putin's Career Rooted in Russia's KGB by David Hoffman (2000) The Washington Post.
  28. Putin still has his Communist Party card, likes socialist ideals (January 25, 2016) AFP via Yahoo News.
  29. От первого лица разговоры с Владимиром Путиным (2000) Vagrius. ISBN 5264002576. Excerpt reprinted by The Kremlin (archived from June 30, 2009).
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  33. Will Putin run for his money?, Toronto Star
  34. Ruskie Wikipedia
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  39. See the Wikipedia article on Beslan school siege.
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  48. Cheng, Selia, "Putin went to the Arctic to strengthen Russia’s foothold in the region with his own two feet", Quartz 31 March 2017.
  49. Framer, Andrew E., "Russia, Crippled by Drought, Bans Grain Exports", NYT 5 August 2016. There's a reason Russia's had so many famines.
  50. "NASA Spots Fires and Smoke from Eastern Russia Wildfires", NASA 12 August 2016.
  51. "Record heat and abnormal flooding as Siberia gets freak weather", Siberian Times 4 July 2016.
  52. Nick Paton Walsh and Paul Brown, "EU alarmed as Putin backtracks on Kyoto", Guardian (30 September 2003, 5.40 EDT).
  53. Kuzmin, Andrey, "Russian media take climate cue from skeptical Putin", Reuters (29 Oct 2015, 7:52am EDT).
  54. Seth Meredith and Geoff Cutmore, "Climate change doubters may not be so silly, says Russia President Putin", MSNBC (30 Mar 2017, 9:45 AM ET).
  55. Killalea, Debra "Siberia crater ‘Gateway to the Underworld’: Melting permafrost a huge problem for the planet", ABC (8 Junes 2016, 7:51am).
  56. Flintoff, Corey, "For Russian Farmers, Climate Change Is Nyet So Great", NPR (21 February 2016, 12:11 PM ET).
  57. CIA World Fact Book " CIA World Fact Book: Birth Rates 2017
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  61. Vaux, Pierre, "This Is How Russia Bombed the U.N. Convoy", Daily Beast (09.21.16 12:06 PM ET). In a heavy Russian accent*: Proof, what proof? show us proofs!
  62. President Putin 'probably' approved Litvinenko murder
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  64. McCoy, Terrence, "Russians troops fighting in Ukraine? Naw. They’re just on ‘vacation.’", WaPo 8.28.14.
  65. Herszenhorn, David M., "New Russian Law Assesses Heavy Fines on Protesters", NYT 6.8.12.
  66. Bennetts, Mark, "Torture and Abuse by Police Is the Norm in Russian Prisons", Newsweek (3/29/16 at 6:31 AM).
  67. It’s now illegal in Russia to share an image of Putin as a gay clown by Avi Selk & David Filipov (April 5, 2017) The Washington Post.
  68. Gay parades banned in Moscow for 100 years, BBC
  69. Homophobe of the Year: Vladimir Putin, The Advocate
  70. Russia's Vladimir Putin and wife Lyudmila divorce, BBC
  71. A coincidence. Really.
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  73. See the Wikipedia article on Tom of Finland.
  74. See the Wikipedia article on Village People.
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  79. How Russia’s New Anti-Extremism Law Affects Mormon Missionaries HuffPost 12 July 2016
  80. Draconian Law Rammed Through Russian Parliament - Outrageous Provisions to Curb Speech, Privacy, Freedom of Conscience Human Rights Watch 23 June 2016
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  82. A Fallen Russia Oligarch Sends Warning to Rest of Putin Insiders Bloomberg 13 January 2016
  83. What does this mean? In sum: a rooting out of anyone accused of being 'un-Russian' in thinking or culture - a racist and political purge; carte blanche to build a new empire all over the old USSR; and a full embrace of a new state religion. Utterly terrifying. by Ian Garner (9:09 AM - 22 Mar 2022) Twitter (archived from March 22, 2022).
  84. Putin’s Great Purge The American Interest 24 August 2016
  85. Putin's purge of old friends points to tightening grip on power The Guardian 18 August 2016
  86. OPINION: Putin's Purge Puts Kremlin Elites on Notice Newsweek 28 August 2016
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  91. Interview with German television channel ARD and ZDF, May 2005. [1]
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  94. This is who we're dealing with.
  95. Kremlin has plan B for poll run-off, Financial Times
  96. "Political Report of the CPRF Central Committee to the 13th Party Congress"
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  100. Krisztina Than and Michael Kahn, "Pipeline politics: new gas route revives Russian rivalry with West", Reuters (2/24/15 at 3:52pm EST).
  101. "Stealing Their Dream", Economist 11.30.13.
  102. Vladimir Putin is not ready to toast Brexit
  103. Meyer, Henry, "Putin's Propaganda Machine Is Meddling With European Elections", Bloomberg (April 19, 2016 — 7:00 PM PDT).
  104. Higgins, Andrew, "Effort to Expose Russia’s ‘Troll Army’ Draws Vicious Retaliation", NYT 5.30.16. It's /pol/servatism, and it's the future. Everyone talks about brownshirts, but what about Mao's Red Guard?>
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  106. Putin's net-worth is $200 billion says Russia's once largest foreigner investor
  107. Profile: Mikhail Khodorkovsky BBC News 22 December 2013
  108. Putin's Palace. History of World's Largest Bribe (with English subtitles)
  109. Henni, Adrien. Putin: Tech should not be demonized, but it is ‘an objective threat’ to businesses VentureBeat. November 25, 2016
  110. 110.0 110.1 110.2 Russia Wants Innovation, but It's Arresting Its Innovators The New York Times
  111. Alfred Koch: Putin’s rejection of science and fear of the educated destroying Russia’s future Euromaidan Press
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  113. MacAskill, Ewen. Putin calls internet a 'CIA project' renewing fears of web breakup The Guardian UK. April 24, 2014
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  117. Alternet, "Is the Russia Prison System Working Pussy Riot Member to Death?", 1 February 2013
  118. "Russia's Pussy Riot disowns freed pair", 6 February 2014
  119. Cossacks attack Pussy Riot in Sochi with whips and pepper spray The Age 20 February 2014
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  121. Russia and the European Far Left
  122. Michel, Casey, "How Putin Played the Far-left", Daily Beast (01.12.17 10:15 PM E).
  123. von Rohr, Mathieu, "Interview with Marine Le Pen - 'I Don't Want this European Soviet Union'", Dep Speigel (6/3/14 at 06:07 pm).
  124. Is Vladimir Putin a judo fraud? by Derek Hawkins (July 18, 2017 at 6:00 AM) The Washington Post.
  125. Nascimbeni, Francois, "Russia funds French National Front: is Moscow sowing European unrest?", The Week 11.5.15.
  126. Morris, Nigel, "Nigel Farage: Vladimir Putin is the world leader I most admire", Independent 3.30.14.
  127. Odenhal, Bernhard, "Gipfeltreffen mit Putins fünfter Kolonne", Tagesanzeiger 3.6.14. English translation: Other guests in the Palais Liechtenstein also lauded Putin. One speaker proclaimed the Russian President to be the "Redeemer" and the reincarnation of Alexander the First. Fifth column for everybody!
  128. Kovalev, "A message to my doomed colleagues in the American media", Medium 1.12.17.
  129. Manafort is infamous for being a propaganda minister, PR spinner, and general advisor/lobbyist for such "heroes" as Putinist kleptocrat Viktor Yanukovych of Ukraine, terrorist Jonas Savimbi of Angola, dictator Mobutu Seso Seko of Zaire, and Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines.
  130. David Filipov and Andrew Roth, "Moscow had contacts with Trump team during campaign, Russian diplomat says", WaPo (10/10/16 at 12:28 PM).
  131. Schreckinger, Ben, "Inside Trump's 'cyborg' Twitter army", Politico (09/30/16 at 05:06 AM EDT).
  132. Ashley Parker and David E. Sanger, "Donald Trump Calls on Russia to Find Hillary Clinton’s Missing Emails" NYT 7.27.16.
  133. "Donald Trump says the U.S. gets 'no respect' from Vladimir Putin", WaPo 7.27.16.
  134. Matt Egan, Julia Horowitz and Chris Isidore, "Behind the deep ties between Exxon's Rex Tillerson and Russia", CNN (12/11/16 at 7:20 PM ET).
  135. Jonathan Landay and Arshad Mohammed, "Trump adviser had five calls with Russian envoy on day of sanctions: sources", Reuters (1/13/17 at 7:39pm EST).
  136. David E. Sanger and Charlie Savage, "U.S. Says Russia Directed Hacks to Influence Elections" NYT 10.7.16.
  137. Francheschi-Biccherai, Lorenzo, "Guccier 2.0 is Likely a Russian Government Attempt To Cover Up Their Own Hack", Motherboard (6/16/16 at 1:35 PM EST).
  138. Timberg, Craig, "Russian propaganda effort helped spread ‘fake news’ during election, experts say", WaPo 11.24.16.
  139. Nakashima, Ellen, "Russian hackers targeted Arizona election system", WaPo 8.29.16.
  140. Rogin, Josh, "Trump allies, WikiLeaks and Russia are pushing a nonsensical conspiracy theory about the DNC hacks" WaPo 8.12.16.
  141. Why Some U.S. Ex-Spies Don't Buy the Russia Story: Evidence that undermines the "election hack" narrative should get more attention. by Leonid Bershidsky (August 10, 2017, 7:39 AM PDT. Corrected August 10, 2017, 10:39 AM PDT) Bloomberg.
  142. Russian Intervention in American Election Was No One-Off by Scott Shane (January 6, 2017) New York Times.
  143. Commentary: Don't be so sure Russia hacked the Clinton emails (November 2, 2016), Reuters
  144. Donald Trump Likely to End Aid for Rebels Fighting Syrian Government
  145. Trump Ends Covert Aid to Syrian Rebels Trying to Topple Assad The New York Times 19 July 2017
  146. Levitz, Eric, "Donald Trump Plans to ‘Pare Back’ Top U.S. Spy Agency", New York magazine (1/4/17 at 6:41 p.m.).
  147. Smith, Allan, "Report: Comey expressed concerns about accusing Russia of meddling with election because it was too close to November", Business Insider (10/31/16 at 5:19 PM).
  148. Andrew Osborne and Christian Lowe, "Russia revels in Trump victory, looks to sanctions relief", Reuters (11/9/16 at 3:54pm EST).
  149. Russians disheartened by Trump as his love affair with Putin fizzles USA Today 3 March 2017
  150. Kludt, Tom, "Pat Buchanan Thinks God Is On Putin's Side", TPM (4/4/14 at 11:38 AM EDT).
  151. Conservative of the Year 2013 Conservapedia (archived from December 27, 2013).
  152. When the right loved Vladimir Putin: Back when Putin was in the news for oppressing LGBT people, many conservatives said he had his virtues by Elias Isquith (March 3, 2014) Salon.
  153. Fox Host Requests Putin Be US President For 48 Hours To Deal With Islamic State: Kimberly Guilfoyle: “I Just Want Somebody To Get In Here And Get It Done Right” (08/26/14) Media Matters for America.
  154. "Fats" Vladimir sings "Blueberry Hill"
  155. [https://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/mar/15/putin-tiger-pr-stunt Putin's fabled tiger encounter was PR stunt, say environmentalists This article is more than 9 years old: Putin allegedly came face to face with wild tiger four years ago, but bloggers now say it was set up using a zoo animal] by Miriam Elder (15 Mar 2012 14.38 EDT) The Guardian.
  156. Happy birthday Mr Putin, here's a tiger! by Luke Harding (10 Oct 2008 19.01 EDT) The Guardian.
  157. Vladimir Putin angling photos raise suspicions: Bloggers question reported 21kg weight of catch and suggest some pictures said to be from weekend trip may be years old by Alec Luhn (29 Jul 2013 12.32 EDT) The Guardian.
  158. Did the Lomo camera save film photography?, BBC
  159. [https://www.nbcnews.com/science/cosmic-log/reality-check-russias-zombie-ray-gun-program-flna677150, NBC News
  160. Crimea move makes Sochi look like $50 billion in wasted PR for Russia, Sunday Morning Herald
  161. Russian Police Choir Covers Daft Punk's "Get Lucky"
  162. See the Wikipedia article on Icarus (2017 film).
  163. Ukraine's popular PM forced out: Communists and business combine to push ex-Soviet state back towards Moscow's orbit by Ian Traynor (26 Apr 2001 21.22 EDT) The Guardian.
  164. Yushchenko and the poison theory: Ukrainian opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko first claimed that he had been poisoned in September when he was admitted to a clinic suffering from stomach pains. (11 December, 2004, 17:03 GMT) BBC.
  165. Doctors confirm Yushchenko was poisoned: Unknown 'third party' believed to have administered dioxin December 11, 2004) CNN (archived from February 18, 2007).
  166. 166.0 166.1 "Little green men" or "Russian invaders"? by Vitaly Shevchenko (11 March 2014) BBC.
  167. Putin admits Russian forces were deployed to Crimea (April 17, 2014) Reuters.
  168. ”On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians by Vladimir Putin (July 12, 2021 17:00) Kremlin.ru (archived from February 1, 2022).
  169. "In words and deeds, Putin shows he’s rejecting even Soviet-era borders," Washington Post
  170. "Vladimir Putin’s Revisionist History of Russia and Ukraine," New Yorker
  171. Putin and Ukraine: Power and the construction of history by Dmitry Shlapentokh (08 September 2021) Institute of Modern Russia.
  172. "Putin’s rambling Ukraine speech leaves western diplomats scrambling," Patrick Wintour, The Guardian
  173. "Putin’s absurd, angry spectacle will be a turning point in his long reign," Shawn Walker, The Guardian
  174. Putin’s new Ukraine essay reveals imperial ambitions by Peter Dickinson (July 15, 2021) Atlantic Council.
  175. Putin’s Ukraine rhetoric driven by distorted view of neighbour: Russian president believes it his 'duty’ to reverse Kyiv’s path towards west by Andrew Roth (7 Dec 2021 13.02 EST) The Guardian.
  176. Ukrainian President Says NATO Membership May Only Be a ‘Dream’ (February 14, 2022) AP via The New York Times. The speech by Zelenskyy.
  177. сновы геополитики / Osnovy Geopolitiki by Aleksandr Dugin (1997) Arktogeja. ISBN 585928019X. [Foundations of Geopolitics: Machine-translated version in English].
  178. A brief dictionary of Putin newspeak by Paul A. Goble (2021/06/18) Euromaidan Press.
  179. Putin’s brazen manipulation of language is a perfect example of Orwellian doublespeak by Mark Satta (March 14, 2022 3.10pm EDT) The Conversation.
  180. How the Letter Z Became a Russian Pro-War Symbol by Evan Gershkovich & Matthew Luxmoore (Mar. 8, 2022 7:02 am ET) The Wall Street Journal.
  181. Putin’s War on Ukraine and the Perversion of the Letter “Z”: The Russian dictator has stripped Ukraine bare and stolen a symbol of freedom and hope. by Markos Kounalakis (April 27, 2022) Washington Monthly.
  182. See the Wikipedia article on Z.
  183. "How the letter Z became a symbol for pro-war Russians," Sophie Mellor, Fortune
  184. "Explained: What Does The "Z" Symbol On Russian Military Vehicles Mean," NDTV
  185. "Decoding the 'Z' — the mysterious Russian military symbol that's been co-opted by Russia's nationalist movement," Insider
  186. "Ukraine war: Why has 'Z' become a Russian pro-war symbol?" Paul Kerley and Robert Greenall, BBC News
  187. "How “Z” became Putin’s new propaganda meme," Vox
  188. https://www.newsweek.com/russia-ukraine-z-vremya-symbol-may-day-victory-1698904
  189. Russian Rhetoric Ahead of Attack Against Ukraine: Deny, Deflect, Mislead by Eugene Kiely & Robert Farley (February 24, 2022) FactCheck.org.
  190. Russian Lawmakers Approve Putin Request To Use Military Force Outside Russia (Last Updated: February 22, 2022 ) Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
  191. Putin orders Russian forces to "perform peacekeeping functions" in eastern Ukraine's breakaway regions (February 22, 202212:04 AM PST) Reuters.
  192. Putin orders troops into eastern Ukraine on peacekeeping duties: Russian deployment follows decision to recognise territories in south-east will be viewed in Ukraine and by other western allies as an occupation by Andrew Roth & Julian Borger (21 Feb 2022 18.48 EST) The Guardian.
  193. Russia's Invasion of Ukraine (Feb 26th 2022) The Economist.
  194. More than 1,700 people detained in widespread Russian protests against Ukraine invasion: Protests decrying invasion of Ukraine took place in 54 Russian cities and around the world (Posted: Feb 24, 2022 1:00 PM ET | Last Updated: February 25) AP via CBC.
  195. Biden details new Russian sanctions as death toll climbs in Ukraine by Courtney Subramanian et al. (Feb. 25, 2022) USA Today.
  196. Putin announces a ‘military operation’ in Ukraine as the U.N. Security Council pleads with him to pull back. by Anton Troianovski (Feb. 23, 2022) The New York Times.
  197. As Russian Federation’s Invasion of Ukraine Creates New Global Era, Member States Must Take Sides, Choose between Peace, Aggression, General Assembly Hears (1 March 2022) United Nations.
  198. What the UN General Assembly vote on Ukraine tells us by Dov S. Zakheim (03/04/22 10:00 AM EST) The Hill.
  199. Principles of International Law Recognized in the Charter of the Nüremberg Tribunal and in the Judgment of the Tribunal, 1950. Principle VI International Committee of the Red Cross.
  200. One of Russia's closest allies denies request for troops by Peter Alexander (Feb. 25, 2022) NBC News.
  201. U.S. and NATO to surge lethal weaponry to Ukraine to help shore up defenses against Russia by Margaret Brennan & Eleanor Watson (January 20, 2022 / 8:15 PM) CBS News.
  202. EU shuts airspace to Russian airlines, will buy Ukraine arms by Emily Schultheis & Lorne Cook (February 27, 2022) AP News.
  203. Ukraine conflict: Russia issues Sweden and Finland NATO military threat: Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs warned Sweden and Finland of "serious political and military consequences" in the case they join the NATO alliance. (27 February 2022 22:02 EST) AS USA.
  204. Sweden to send military aid to Ukraine in break with tradition (Feb 27, 2022) Daily Sabah.
  205. "Sweden to send military aid to Ukraine - PM Andersson (February 27, 20229:20 AM PST) Reuters.
  206. EU to ban Russia’s RT, Sputnik media outlets, von der Leyen says: ‘We will ban the Kremlin’s media machine in the EU,’ Commission president says. by Laura Kayali (February 27, 2022 6:28 pm) Politico.
  207. EU to ban Russian state-backed channels RT and Sputnik by Patrick Wintour et al. (27 Feb 2022 14.38) The Guardian.
  208. Rogers, Bell to pull Russian state-controlled channel RT over invasion of Ukraine: Network the 'propaganda arm' of Putin, Canadian Heritage Minister says (Feb 27, 2022 8:56 PM ET) CBC News.
  209. Google blocks Russia's RT app downloads on Ukrainian territory (February 27, 20227:32 AM PST) Reuters.
  210. Russian TV Gets Kicked From Canada Airwaves on Ukraine Fury by Derek Decloet (February 26, 2022, 9:20 PM PSTUpdated onFebruary 28, 2022, 5:23 AM PST) Bloomberg.
  211. ‘We cannot blink’: Eastern Europe tells the West it is time to stand up to Putin by Anthony Faiola (March 8, 2022) The Washington Post.
  212. "EU targets Russian economy after 'deluded autocrat' Putin invades Ukraine by By Ingrid Melander & Gabriela Baczynska (February 24, 20221:49 PM PST) Reuters.
  213. U.S., allies target 'fortress Russia' with new sanctions, including SWIFT ban by Steve Holland et al. (February 26, 202211:02 PM PST) Reuters.
  214. China State Banks Restrict Financing for Russian Commodities (February 25, 2022, 6:43 AM PST; Updated onFebruary 25, 2022, 7:07 AM PST) Bloomberg.
  215. White House and EU nations announce expulsion of 'selected Russian banks' from SWIFT by Kaitlan Collins et al. (February 26, 2022) CNN.
  216. A global financial pariah’: how central bank sanctions could hobble Russia: Ban on Moscow’s use of its roughly $630bn of foreign reserves will harm its ability to withstand the cost of Ukraine war (27 Feb 2022) Financial Times.
  217. Russian central bank scrambles to contain fallout of sanctions (February 28, 20221:50 PM PST) Reuters.
  218. Swift action at last brings meaningful sanctions against Putin regime by Juliette Garside (26 Feb 2022 20.42 EST) The Guardian.
  219. FOREX-Rouble plunges to record low, dollar holds firm as West bolsters Russia sanctions by Kevin Buckland & Alun John (Feb 27, 2022 9:44PM EST) Nasdaq.
  220. "Here are the major US and European companies pulling out of Russia following the invasion of Ukraine," Business Insider
  221. "Western businesses pull out of Russia," The Economist
  222. "These are the corporations that have pulled out of Russia since its invasion of Ukraine," CBS News
  223. "TikTok suspends content in Russia in response to ‘fake news’ law", TechCrunch
  224. Key Questions After Putin's Nuclear Announcement by Didier Lauras (Feb. 27, 2022) The Moscow Times.
  225. Putin puts nuclear deterrent on alert; West squeezes Russian economy by Maria Tsvetkova (February 27, 20226:52 PM PST) Reuters.
  226. Putin puts nuclear forces on high alert, escalating tensions by Yuras Karmanjau et al. (February 27, 2022) AP.
  227. More than 2,000 arrested at anti-war protests in Russia: Rights watchdog says more than 5,000 demonstrators detained across the country since President Putin launched the war on Ukraine. (27 Feb 2022) Al Jazeera.
  228. Anti-war sentiment grows in Russia despite govt crackdown by Dasha Litvinova & Vladimir Isachenkov (February 26, 2022, 1:27 PM) ABC News.
  229. Scenes from anti-war protests around the world by Molly Enking (Feb 27, 2022 6:49 PM EST) PBS.
  230. Russians hold anti-war rallies amid ominous threats by Putin by Dasha Litvinova (Feb. 27, 2022) Los Angeles Times.
  231. ⚡️Russian lawmakers of Gagarinsky municipal district in Moscow called Russia’s invasion of Ukraine “a disaster." “This is a path to the degradation and impoverishment of the country. No other actions could cause more damage to the Russian economy,” reads the appeal. (3:15 AM · Mar 2, 2022) by The Kyiv Independent (3:15 AM · Mar 2, 2022) Twitter (archived from March 2, 2022).
  232. Tweet by the New York Times linking to the story and showing the protester holding the sign in a preview image.
  233. "Protesters Are Writing "Het Bonhe" on Signs to Express Their Anger With Russia's Military Aggression," Distractify
  234. "Why Vladimir Putin is losing the information war to Ukraine," Atlantic Council
  235. "Putin’s brazen manipulation of language is a perfect example of Orwellian doublespeak," The Street
  236. "CIA Director Bill Burns says Putin 'is losing' the information war over Ukraine," Business Insider
  237. "As EU says it’ll ban Russia’s ‘toxic media machine’, social media firms face pressure to act," Tech Crunch
  238. "Leading Russian scholar says Putin is losing the information war against Ukraine," CTV News
  239. "Putin is 'losing the information war' in Ukraine, says CIA chief," AA.Com
  240. "Outside Russia, Putin’s Propaganda Machine Is Swiftly Crashing Down," Vanity Fair
  241. "CIA director: Putin's "propaganda bubble" is failing in Ukraine," Axios
  242. "Russian internet users are learning how to beat Putin's internet crackdown," CNN
  243. "Putin calls pro-Western Russians traitors, threatens self-cleansing," CBC
  244. "Isolated leaders make terrible decisions: lessons from Russia and Myanmar," ASPI Strategist
  245. "Putin’s Invasion Of Ukraine Reveals Leader ‘Disconnected In Many Senses From Reality,’ Expert Says," Duke University Today
  246. "In Putin, intelligence analysts see an isolated leader who underestimated the West but could lash out if cornered," Washington Post
  247. "Russia's totalitarian attacks on truth should look familiar to Americans," MSNBC
  248. Some translations say he said "self-detoxification" rather than self-purification, which is ultimately the same thing in this context.
  249. "Russian Activists and Journalists Targeted After Putin’s Call for Purge of Traitors," Daily Beast
  250. "Putin says Russia must undergo a 'self-cleansing of society' to purge 'bastards and traitors' as thousands flee the country," Business Insider
  251. "Scum and traitors: Vladimir Putin threatens anti-war Russians," Al Jazeera
  252. "Putin says Russia will get rid of traitors like gnats," TheHill
  253. "Putin's warning to 'traitors' sends chilling message," Reuters
  254. "Russia is restricting social media. Here's what we know," NPR
  255. "Russia Blocks Facebook and Twitter in a Propaganda Standoff," Wired
  256. "Russia continues its online censorship spree by blocking Instagram," Vox
  257. "A new iron curtain is descending across Russia’s Internet," Washington Post
  258. "Vladimir Putin Has No Time for Your Reality," Andreas Kluth, Bloomberg
  259. "Russia’s Ex-Foreign Minister on His ‘Totalitarian’ Country," Newlines Magazine
  260. "War censorship exposes Putin’s leaky internet controls," AP News
  261. "Russia Takes Censorship to New Extremes, Stifling War Coverage," New York Times
  262. "How Putin Plunged Russia Toward Totalitarianism," Slate
  263. "Here’s What Putin Doesn’t Want You to Know About What’s Happening Inside Russia Right Now," Daily Beast
  264. "Russian dissent: a slide to totalitarianism," The Guardian
  265. Go to 3:28 for the entire incident
  266. "As Putin terrorizes Ukraine, Russians like me flee his totalitarian crackdown at home," USA Today
  267. "Crackdown In Russia Leads To Tens Of Thousands Of Russians Fleeing Their Country," MSNBC
  268. "What do Russians think of Putin?" 1420 video
  269. "Do Russians blame the US?"
  270. "‘It is not possible to stay quiet’: Putin’s first victim of ‘fake news’ law speaks out," The Guardian
  271. "Could Putin actually fall?" Vox
  272. "Marina Ovsyannikova’s courage should make U.S. stop our own war against protests," Will Bunch, Philadelphia Inquirer
  273. "Putin ‘purges’ 150 FSB agents in response to Russia’s botched war with Ukraine," Tom Ball, The Times
  274. Ukraine's army invalidated the Russian invasion plan. Day 4. (Feb 27, 2022) YouTube.
  275. Putin, Surrounded by Yes Men, Is Divorced From Reality by Aaron Korewa (9/17/15 at 3:52 PM EDT) Newsweek.
  276. "Putin’s Thousand-Year War," Foreign Policy
  277. Russian forces meeting ‘strong and wide’ Ukraine resistance: Analysts say the Russian military may have been caught off guard by the level of pushback by Ukraine fighters. (26 Feb 2022) Al Jazeera.
  278. Ukraine’s military is outgunned but can still inflict a great deal of pain on Russian forces by Sergey Kozlov (February 25, 2022 8.34am EST) The Conversation.
  279. Ukraine military says Russia faces heavy losses; 14 planes, 8 helicopters, 102 tanks lost: The Kremlin also lost over 3,500 soldiers, Ukraine's Armed Forces said on Saturday. Nearly 200 service members have been kept hostage, Kyiv Independent reported. (February 27, 2022 08:07 IST) International Business Times.
  280. Captured Russian occupiers deeply regrets coming to Ukraine by UATV English (Feb 27, 2022) YouTube.
  281. "Putin Assails Russians Who Back the West, Signaling More Repression," New York Times
  282. Long thread about how I think the first 96 hours have gone, still very early/incomplete impressions. The initial Russian operation was premised on terrible assumptions about Ukraine’s ability & will to fight, and an unworkable concept of operations. Moscow badly miscalculated. 1/ … by Michael Kofman (11:37 AM - 28 Feb 2022) Twitter (archived from February 28, 2022).
  283. Intelligence acquired since the beginning of the Russian military operation over Ukraine has shown an immense lack of logistic support, making this war one of the most unique in 2022 when it comes to surveillance. by ShadowBreak Intl. (11:21 AM · Mar 1, 2022) Twitter (archived from March 1, 2022).
  284. BREAKING: U.S. believes Russia has committed more than 80 percent of pre-staged troops into Ukraine: senior U.S. defense official. Russia has not been able to advance on Kyiv due to fuel & sustainment problems. "Not only are they running out of gas, they're running out of food" by Jack Detsch (7:43 AM · Mar 1, 2022) Twitter (archived from March 3, 2020).
  285. "Losing? Putin's Army Has Higher Death Toll In Ukraine Than U.S. Across 20 Years In Middle East," video by MSNBC
  286. "As Russian Troop Deaths Climb, Morale May Be an Issue," Helene Cooper, Julian E. Barnes, and Eric Schmitt, New York Times
  287. Kremlin staff didn't expect Putin to invade Ukraine and were shocked by the severity of Western sanctions, report says by Bill Bostock (Mar 4, 2022, 4:44 AM) Business Insider.
  288. Putin is said to be furious about Western sanctions and intel officials fear he may target Ukrainian civilians as revenge, report says by Tom Porter (Mar 2, 2022, 4:11 AM) Business Insider.
  289. Miles-Long Russian Convoy Outside Kyiv Signals Tactical Shift by Megan Specia (March 1, 2022, 3:47 p.m. ET) The New York Times.
  290. "Three Russian commanders killed as Ukraine invasion force attempts to step up momentum," The Independent
  291. "Putin said to be conducting internal purge of military generals, intel personnel," Times of Israel
  292. "Russian spy chiefs ‘under house arrest’ as Putin turns on his security chiefs over invasion setback," The Independent
  293. Tweet by ABC reporter in question
  294. "Russia sets cease-fire for evacuations amid heavy shelling," NPR
  295. "Where the Russia-Ukraine conflict goes from here," ABC
  296. "Russian troops appear to kidnap Ukrainian mayor – video," The Guardian
  297. "Russia-Ukraine war: Kidnapped Melitopol mayor sent to Luhansk," JPost
  298. "The mayor of Melitopol, Ukraine, has been abducted, officials say," NPR
  299. "Pro-Russia mayor of occupied Ukrainian town tells villagers to 'adapt' to new reality after the last mayor was kidnapped," Yahoo News
  300. "Kidnapping of Ukrainian Mayor in Melitopol Met With a Show of Resistance," New York Times
  301. "Ukraine swapped nine Russian soldiers to free detained mayor -Interfax," Reuters
  302. "Melitopol Mayor Ivan Fedorov to Return to Duties After Russian Capture," Newsweek
  303. "Kidnapped Ukrainian mayor freed in 'special operation,' officials say," ABC News
  304. "Melitopol mayor released five days after his abduction by Russian troops," Times of Israel
  305. Here is video of Klitschko's response
  306. "Dead Lay Out in Bucha for Weeks, Refuting Russian Claim, Satellite Images Show," New York Times
  307. "Russia claims Bucha civilian massacre faked as a "provocation" as outrage builds over Ukraine war atrocities," CBSNews
  308. "Bucha killings: The world cannot be tricked anymore," Al Jazeera
  309. "Ukraine accuses Russia of massacre, city strewn with bodies," Politico
  310. "Russian soldiers murder volunteers helping starving animals near Kyiv," Kyiv Independent
  311. "Ukrainian children used as ‘human shields’ near Kyiv, say witness reports," The Guardian
  312. Tweet by Sergej Sumlenny who shared the article in its original Russian.
  313. English-translated version of the RIA Novosti article by Wojciech Konończuk.
  314. Translation by Mariia Kravchenko on Medium
  315. Olga Tokariuk's tweet about the Ukrainian Defense Industry's allegations.
  316. Graphic imagery warning.
  317. "In shattered Chernihiv, Russian siege leaves a city asking, ‘Why?’" Washington Post
  318. "Japanese Anchor Breaks Down After Reading News About Putin Honouring Troops Who Oversaw Bucha Massacre," NDTV
  319. Ukraine loses out on Black Sea’s rich natural gas supply by Alexander Query (Published June 3, 2021. Updated June 6 at 6:14 pm) Kyiv Post.
  320. Black Sea gas deposits – an overlooked reason for Russia’s occupation of Crimea by Kostiantyn Yanchenko (2018/10/10 - 23:42) Euromaidan Press.
  321. Russia Eyes Crimea’s Oil and Gas Reserves by Nick Cunningham (Mar 15, 2014, 7:00 PM CDT) OilPrice.
  322. In Taking Crimea, Putin Gains Sea of Fuel Reserves by William J. Broad (May 17, 2014) The New York Times.
  323. Russia’s Energy Role in Europe: What’s at Stake With the Ukraine Crisis by James McBride (February 22, 2022 10:00 am EST) Council of Foreign Relations.
  324. Why Russia is Invading Ukraine by RealLifeLore (Feb 26, 2022) YouTube.
  325. This Is Why Putin Is Targeting Three DHS Agents. Russia's president is obsessed with the U.S. investigation into hundreds of millions in ill-gotten gains that have benefited his cronies—and very possibly him as well. by Michael Weiss (08.14.18 5:05 AM ET) The Daily Beast.