May 28, 2023

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“We have begun to enter a revolutionary situation.” Russia’s elites are talking about a change in power

Top Russian officials and the Russian business elite are exhausted and depressed and expect the political and economic situation to worsen, according to the Washington Post.

“There are other problems on the battlefield,” an influential Moscow businessman told the source, adding that the missile strikes will not ease the looming crises in Russia.

In addition, there are increasing questions in the public space about how many missiles Russia still has in reserve, with a Russian state official saying that they are “running out.”

“Each step is worse than the last and yet it’s impossible not to move”

“No one is happy with the status quo,” the official said, adding: “It is clear that a military or political victory will not be possible. But no loss is possible. This turns into the situation in chess known as zugzwang, when each move is worse than the last and yet it is impossible not to move.”

The optimism of the summer when, according to a second state official, many in the country’s elite believed that “we will turn the wheel and find a way” has completely evaporated. “People see that there is no future,” he said.

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Zaporozhye nuclear power plant in Ukraine

The forced mobilization has already dealt a blow to Putin’s popularity, and when the bodies of reservists start returning from the front, the situation could get worse, the Moscow businessman said.

“In a few months, there will be a very negative dynamic in society”

“In a few months, there will be a very negative dynamic in Russia, a worsening of the mood in society,” he said, according to the quoted source.

“Putin’s arsenal of possible actions is very limited,” said Sergei Aleksashenko, a former deputy governor of the Russian Central Bank who now lives in exile in the United States. “Other than hitting civilian infrastructure, he only has the option of using a tactical nuclear weapon. If the Ukrainian counterattack continues, the question ‘What do we do now?’ it remains before Putin,” he added.

But few in Moscow say Putin will resort to launching a tactical nuclear attack, despite the Kremlin’s claims, the Moscow businessman said, because “then he won’t have any cards” and China could block that kind of escalation . “This is a Pandora’s box that the Chinese don’t want to open,” he said.

Sanctions are starting to hit Russia’s economy harder

Economists and company executives say the sanctions are starting to hit the Russian economy harder, with budget cuts already being imposed – while a proposed price cap to be imposed by the Group of Seven nations on Russian oil sales starting in December would be a extra hit. The Russian president “will run out of money. He needs money to pay Iran and North Korea for weapons. But we will see a completely new reality in December,” said Serghei Guriev, rector at Sciences Po University in Paris.

Amid increasingly tough sanctions, every bit of bad news on the front is another blow to the Russian economy, a second member of Moscow’s business elite said, according to the Washington Post.

“All businesses are suffering from what is happening. Everyone has frozen their investment plans,” he said.

The earlier belief that Russia could reroute trade flows from the West through China, Kazakhstan and India is melting fast, two business executives said. Kazakhstan began blocking cargo carrying European goods to Russia, while the Chinese also began stopping certain shipments.

“The mood is very bad”

“Everyone is completely frustrated. The mood is very bad,” said a third Russian businessman.

Members of Moscow’s elite are starting to talk about potential leadership change in a way they haven’t before in more than 20 years of Putin’s rule — though no one can say how or when that would happen. this could happen.

“We have started to enter a revolutionary situation,” the first state official quoted said. “Everyone is waiting for something other than what is happening now: another leadership, another war. The Falcons want tougher action. Pigeons don’t want war at all. The time is ripe for a change in the political system. But how it will happen, I don’t know,” he concluded.

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