Russian society 'on verge of breaking' as tens of thousands flee Putin's rule – Daily Express

Russian society ‘on verge of breaking’ as tens of thousands flee Putin’s rule – Daily Express

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info Cracks are beginning to appear in Vladimir Putin’s war narrative as a Russian diplomat resigned his role and blasted his country’s invasion of Ukraine. Boris Bondarev, a counsellor at the Russian permanent mission to the United Nations in Geneva, wrote in a public statement: “Never have I been so ashamed of my country.” He accused the Kremlin of “warmongering, lies and hatred” as Russian forces continue to bombard cities in Ukraine. The invasion hasn’t gone quite to plan for Russia, however. Moscow’s military has suffered heavy losses and failed to take control of major cities. Economic sanctions also threaten to spark a crisis within Russia, as explained by Yuval Weber, an academic and expert on Russia, who spoke to CTV News in March. Asked where he sees the situation heading, he said: “Nowhere good for anybody, at this point the Russians are starting to step down from their initial demands, but not substantively. “Of all the Russian demands, which include the demilitarisation of Ukraine, that Ukraine has to change its constitution to assert its neutrality indefinitely, Ukraine has to recognise Crimea as a part of Russia, Donetsk and Luhansk as independent republic states. “The only thing they’ve really given up on is what they called ‘denazification’ – but given that, they still aren’t doing very well on the battlefield, so the only real options they have is to start reducing Ukrainian cities to rubble.” Away from the battlefield, Mr Weber predicted that Russian society will “break” under the pressure of economic sanctions. He said: “In terms of what’s happening at home in the Russian economy and the Russian society, the Russian society is on the verge of breaking in a substantive sense. “Even though Putin has the ability to maintain his power, to be coup-proofed and so forth, the reality is that tens of thousands have left or are leaving the country. “The economy at this point…the ruble has lost half of its value in the last week and a half. We are talking about Russia defaulting on its debts, we are talking about severed supply chains because Russia cannot be supplied by air or sea anymore. “We are talking about social breakdown in Russia in the span of several weeks as soon as the imports start to dry up…then we are in a very dark place for Russia.” In recent weeks, reports have indicated that the ruble performed better than expected given the severe sanctions imposed on Russia. Robin Brooks, chief economist at the Institute of International Finance trade group, tweeted on Sunday that the Russian “economy is imploding. We forecast a GDP collapse of -30 percent by end-2022.” He added, that according to data compiled with help from IIF researcher Jonathan Pingle, exports from 20 countries to Russia were down 50 percent in April compared to the same time a year prior. Yesterday, an independent news website based in Latvia – Meduza – reported that the Russian President’s exit is “being discussed”. They cite sources which are “close to the Kremlin” as saying the president is the focus of dissatisfaction among those both for and against the war he launched in Ukraine. The sources close to his administration say a future without the president is “increasingly being discussed”. The report says there is no plan to remove Putin “right now”, but “there is an understanding, or a wish, that in a fairly foreseeable future he will not govern the state”. One source added: “The president messed up, but then everything can be fixed – [Russia can] somehow come to an agreement [with the West and Ukraine].” See today’s front and back pages, download the newspaper, order back issues and use the historic Daily Express newspaper archive.
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