The Russian President has stored up his countries dissidents …..
Some of sanctions will stir up more…..
Shocked Russians turned out by the thousands Thursday to decry their country’s invasion of Ukraine as emotional calls for protests grew on social media. Some 1,745 people in 54 Russian cities were detained, at least 957 of them in Moscow.
Hundreds of posts came pouring in condemning Moscow’s most aggressive actions since the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Vladimir Putin called the attack a “special military operation” to protect civilians in eastern Ukraine from “genocide” — a false claim the U.S. had predicted would be a pretext for invasion, and which many Russians roundly rejected.
Tatyana Usmanova, an opposition activist in Moscow, wrote on Facebook that she thought she was dreaming when she awoke at 5:30 a.m. to the news, which she called “a disgrace that will be forever with us now.”
“I want to ask Ukrainians for forgiveness. We didn’t vote for those who unleashed the war,” she said….
Vladimir Putin has launched an unprovoked ground war in a neighboring country after only the most perfunctory attempt to convince his own people, and with no groundswell of support behind him.
Why it matters: That’s a dangerous proposition for any leader, even an autocrat as entrenched as Putin. But while some experts believe high casualties or sanctions-induced economic distress could destabilize Putin’s regime, others contend that a quick victory would solidify his historic legacy in many Russians’ eyes.
Driving the news: Hundreds of protesters marched through central Moscow Thursday night chanting “no to war,” while hundreds more gathered in St. Petersburg, all despite an explicit threat of arrest from the Interior Ministry.
- Meanwhile, several celebrities, journalists and other public figures publicly criticized the invasion.
That stands in stark contrast to the 2014 annexation of Crimea, when the government actively mobilized mass shows of support for a highly popular operation.
- This time around, there was “no big demand” for war, and Putin — with his eyes apparently fixed on history rather than public opinion — hardly tried to generate one, says Alexander Baunov of Carnegie Moscow.
- Rather than patriotic fervor, Baunov sensed the slight “embarrassment” of Muscovites on Thursday morning as they withdrew cash from ATMs in case Russia is cut off from the global financial system….
image…Demonstrators in St. Petersburg face police as they protest the invasion of Ukraine on Thursday. (For The Washington Post)