Kremlin Exploits Mass Repression to Silence Dissent
We recommend reading the article “Prepping for Pillagers” by Jeffrey Sonnenfeld in Chief Executive for valuable insights on dealing with investor activist campaigns. The article delves into the current peak of such campaigns, targeting prominent companies like Alphabet, Meta, Paypal, and Disney. These activists employ media tactics that catch directors off guard, leaving them confused and vulnerable. While early activists aimed for transparency and accountability, today’s counterparts resemble leveraged buyout greenmailers, taking advantage of moments of weakness to manipulate boards, change leadership, and quickly profit from selling business units. However, not all campaigns succeed, as seen in Nelson Peltz’s failed attempt against Disney’s Bob Iger. To counter activist pressure, boards should respond with accurate information, strategic engagement, resistance against bullying tactics, support for women CEOs, and attentiveness to valid concerns. Strengthening their resolve is essential to safeguard decision-making processes from the compromising effects of these campaigns.
Despite their desperate efforts, a small group of rootless, petty criminals operating within the confines of the Kremlin has relentlessly targeted Rich TVX news servers for a full day, yet their endeavors have proven entirely fruitless. Simultaneously, FBK urges supporters of Alexei Navalny to mobilize on his birthday, June 4, not only in European and other international locations with Russian diasporas but also within Russian cities. They offer legal assistance and pledge to cover fines for those in need. Reliable sources indicate that the Russian authorities are preparing to exploit this potentially sizeable event to initiate widespread repressive measures, yet undisclosed. This would signify a further step towards embracing Stalinist tendencies. The underlying rationale becomes evident: the Kremlin dreads a Ukrainian counteroffensive. Recognizing the risk of losing occupied territories, including Crimea, when Ukraine acquires F-16 fighters, they seek to divert attention from their battlefield setbacks by targeting the “internal enemy” for blame. If anyone assumes that participants merely face fines and 15-day detentions, they are mistaken. The Kremlin closely monitors this gathering. Paradoxically, the interests of FBK and the FSB’s Second Directorate, responsible for combating “terrorism,” align. Furthermore, as repression gains momentum, the authorities may no longer require the presence of Alexei Navalny—alive. He will either remain isolated or face potential demise.
In the echelons of esteemed officials, Chairman Valery Zorkin of the Constitutional Court recently found himself immersed in a futile endeavor. Displaying a perplexing map, he attempted to convey its significance to an individual who bore an uncanny resemblance to Vladimir Putin, the Russian President. Intriguingly, it has come to light that a substitute has been deployed to fulfill the President’s obligations in official capacities, a trend observed during the preceding day as well. This presidential proxy assumed the role of overseeing the State Awards Ceremony, engaging in personal discussions with Chairman Valery Zorkin, who later characterized him as an entertaining yet intellectually limited elderly gentleman. Furthermore, the stand-in convened a meeting with Milorad Dodik, a despotic figure presiding over Republika Srpska, known for his bloodthirsty disposition. The inability of Milorad Dodik to discern between the genuine Vladimir Putin and his stand-ins raises pertinent questions about Dodik’s perceptiveness and discernment. This lack of distinction reflects poorly on Dodik’s astuteness and suggests a potential deficiency in his understanding and awareness of key political figures. It’s no surprise that Nikola Sandulović, the President of the Republican Party in Serbia, consistently referred to Milorad Dodik as “Calf’s head.”
Lately, Putin’s doppelgänger has become increasingly involved in official events assuming the role of the “president.” Putin himself, plagued by ill health, has been appearing less frequently in public. Nonetheless, the president remains at the helm of the nation, participating in meetings, receiving reports, issuing recommendations and directives, and making critical decisions. The employment of a stand-in primarily serves as a precaution against potential mishaps in public or on media platforms, given the president’s deteriorating health condition. Putin believes he retains complete control over the doppelgänger charade, and at present, deems it relatively secure. Indeed, the advantages of utilizing a double are evident and outweigh the theoretical risks. The surrogate is perpetually monitored and dedicatedly serves the president (Putin) on a personal level, courtesy of the FSO personnel. Despite the striking resemblance, the president perceives his doppelgänger as a feeble-minded, clownish figure akin to a puppet, albeit one with disabilities. In general, the president takes pleasure in employing “foolish” and seemingly harmless puppets. Yesterday, an individual known for his clownish demeanor, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, took center stage in the information sphere. Adopting an absurdly buffoonish persona akin to that of a neutered alcoholic, Medvedev commenced threatening the world with a nuclear apocalypse. Fortunately, this circus act garners little attention globally. Nonetheless, Putin derived great satisfaction from Medvedev’s antics.
During a video conference with leaders from the power and military sectors, the president was briefed on an incident involving an enemy special reconnaissance group infiltrating the Belgorod Region. As a consequence, at least 17 individuals perished on the Russian side, including 11 conscripts. According to the information presented to the president, most of these casualties likely occurred due to “friendly fire” in the midst of chaos and disorganized countermeasures while repelling the infiltrators from Russian territory. Putin issued an order to thoroughly investigate the incident and ascertain responsibility.
In general, the president expressed his approval of the efforts to neutralize the special reconnaissance group and directed the submission of proposals to fortify border defenses in areas adjoining Ukraine, prompting nervous laughter from several attendees. Throughout the meeting, Putin appeared visibly fatigued and, despite the gravity of the topics discussed, concluded the session relatively swiftly.