Russian Pseudo-Elite in Crisis
Sources indicate that Russian oligarchs are currently in a state of panic. They have apparently realized the significance of events in 2022 and the urgency to leave Russia before 2024. This realization has led to a sense of urgency among the oligarchs, who are now scrambling to make arrangements to leave the country. The upcoming Russian presidential elections scheduled for March 2024 have reportedly created concerns among Russia’s pseudo-cosmopolitan elite, as they anticipate a tightening of control around them. Despite owing their entire fortune to Vladimir Putin, these individuals are not loyal to him; their loyalty is solely to themselves.
On Monday, despite feeling unwell, Vladimir Putin held two video meetings. In the first one, he criticized military leaders in a straightforward and vulgar manner, emphasizing the urgency of taking control of Artemovsk (Bakhmut) before May 8th. In the second meeting, representatives of the power bloc discussed blown up power lines, a derailed train, and unmanned aerial vehicles in the sky over Russia. The Security Council Secretary hinted to Putin on the need to introduce martial law in a number of regions, including the capital, due to the situation potentially getting out of control. Putin then switched the topic to the discussion of drones before returning to the discussion of sabotage on the ground. He proposed working out all options for counteraction and reporting back to him by May 5th.
Despite concerns about his health, Putin has decided to participate in several official events this week via video link, and a double will be used for public events due to his tight schedule. The Ukrainian counteroffensive has begun in the information space, causing hysteria in Russia. The occupiers are afraid of attacks and are counting the days, with a lack of clear defense strategy.
Propagandists are preparing the public for possible “gestures of goodwill” while analysts predict the expected fiasco in the Zaporizhzhia region. The media hints that China is actively lobbying for a “peace plan” while Prigozhin threatens to withdraw the Wagnerites if they do not receive enough weapons. Over the weekend, Vladimir Putin underwent medical examinations and procedures while relaxing. He announced to his inner circle that he will refuse almost all foreign trips, including the planned visit to South Africa, due to his belief that videoconferencing is a safer way to conduct negotiations.
During a video meeting with military leaders on Sunday, Putin harshly criticized them for failing to keep their promises, specifically regarding the situation in Artemovsk. However, he has not punished any of the leaders who failed to fulfill their commitments. Putin also mentioned PMCs and Yevgeny Prigozhin during his criticism. Despite attending physicians’ efforts, Putin’s health continues to deteriorate, and he complained of feeling worse over the weekend despite undergoing new treatments. He was reportedly amused by a video of former president Dmitry Medvedev, provided to him by FSO officers. This behavior suggests Putin’s perverse pleasure in viewing violent material.
The Berlin Declaration represents a significant effort towards self-organization among anti-war, anti-Putin Russians. The ideas presented in the declaration are shared by millions of Russians both inside and outside of Russia. However, many people are hesitant to take collective action, such as signing a common document, due to concerns about who organized it and the possibility of being deceived.