Russia – Not Really United

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Protests against Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine are being suppressed in Russia. But resistance is growing, even among the business elite.

  • Russia’s civil society has been repressed for years. Human rights organizations like Memorial were shut down and opposition parties banned. The country’s anti-war movement is therefore struggling.
  • The authorities are making sure public media are not calling the military operation in Ukraine a “war”. Anti-war meetings and street protests are forbidden.
  • The abysmal conditions notwithstanding, small protest campaigns in the bigger cities have accompanied the run-up to the war as well as the invasion itself. People are being beaten and arrested.
  • Unlike Russia’s wars in Syria or even Georgia, the invasion in Ukraine is being considered a war against a brotherly people. Russians and Ukrainians have been historically close.
  • Resistance is growing, not only among ordinary people. Prominent businessmen and even relatives of political representatives are cautiously trying to distance themselves from the war.
  • Deteriorating economic conditions due to Western sanctions will almost certainly darken the public mood. But a broad anti-war movement remains unlikely.
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