A look inside Present day Russia…..
A reason why the Wagner boss has NOT been touched…..
A look at how Putin buys war recruits with good pay….
And recuring theme that Putin’s influence is EVERYWHERE……
Wagner’s role in avoiding recourse to an unpopular draft, by recruiting many thousands of criminals to bear the brunt of much heavy fighting in Ukraine, has been crucial. If Mr. Putin, 70, did not blink, he certainly flinched.
Yet, after 23 years leading Russia, Mr. Putin’s hold on power is still firm as fighting intensifies in southern and eastern Ukraine. He learned long ago, indeed from the outset of his rule in 2000, that, as the author Masha Gessen has put it, “wars were almost as good as crackdowns because they discredited anyone who wanted to complicate things.”
He has always used war — in Chechnya, in Georgia and in Ukraine — to unite Russians in the simplistic myths of nationalism and to usher them to the simplistic conclusion that his increasingly repressive rule is so essential that it must be eternal.
Still, as far as possible, the war must be invisible, banished to places like Ulan-Ude, near Lake Baikal, not far from the Mongolian border. That is done, in part, by paying recruits about $2,500 a month, a huge sum in a region where a monthly salary of $500 is more typical.
“Money is the main reason people go to fight,” Ms. Rolikova said. “The contracts being offered volunteers are crazy by our standards.”
In Moscow, a world away from Ulan-Ude, Western sanctions appear to have had little effect beyond stores like Dior that have signs saying, “Closed for technical reasons,” and the comical renaming of departed Western businesses, like “Stars,” for Starbucks.
The subway is spotless; restaurants offering a popular Japanese-Russian fusion cuisine overflow; people make contactless payments for most things using their phones; there is a ridiculous concentration of luxury cars; the internet functions impeccably, as it does in all of Russia.
The war is nowhere to be seen, other than in the billboards from the Ministry of Defense and, until recently, Mr. Prigozhin’s Wagner Group (now of uncertain future) that try to lure recruits with slogans like, “Heroes are not born, they become heroes.”
These may be found next to a multitude of new high-rise developments with English names like “Trendy Towers” or “High Life.” For all of Mr. Putin’s efforts to vilify the West, it still lives in the Russian imagination as a chimera of cool….
Mr. Putin’s rule is all about the reconstitution of this imagined Russian world, or “Russkiy mir,” a revanchist myth built around the idea of an eternal Russian cultural and imperial sphere of which Ukraine — its decision to become an independent state never forgiven — is an integral part.
As for the future, Mr. Putin has very little to say, leaving people guessing.
Rarely in Moscow or elsewhere in Russia is Mr. Putin’s image visible, other than on television, even if he has ventured out a little more of late. He governs from the shadows, unlike Stalin, whose portrait was everywhere. There is no cult of the leader of the kind Fascist systems favored. Yet mystery has its own magnetism. The reach of Mr. Putin’s power touches all….
The Russian / Ukraine conflict IS expanding….
The Ukraine is trying to bring the conflict to everyday Russians who KNOW things are going on due to the loss of their men, sanctions and social media….
The clock IS ticking for the Ukraine….
At some point , approaching….The American and European political ability to keep supporting the Ukraine at the current level (US $60 Billion) IS gonna run out....
Peace talks continue in Saudi Arabia for the Ukraine/Russian conflict…..
Russian airstrikes killed three people in Ukraine as a Moscow airport temporarily ceased its flights due to a failed drone attack, officials said Sunday.
Russia’s air strikes hit Ukraine’s Kharkiv region, killing two people and injuring four more, according to the head of the local regional military administration, Oleh Syniehubov. A woman in her 80s was also killed in Russia-held Donestk, according to the city’s Russia-appointed mayor Alexei Kulemzin….
Nearly a year and a half into Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, both sides appear increasingly ready to open a new dimension in the war, taking violence to people and to places that have largely been spared until now.
The attacks have come as Ukraine presses on with a counteroffensive in the south and east that it launched around two months ago, with no sign yet that Russian lines have been decisively breached.
While Ukraine has been generally coy when it comes to attacks within Russia, President Volodymyr Zelensky and other top officials have recently signaled that strikes over the border and on territory that Russia occupies in Ukraine are part of a plan — now stated explicitly by officials — to force ordinary Russians to face up to the Kremlin’s war….
A Russian guided aerial bomb also blitzed a blood transfusion center in Kupyansk, in Ukraine’s northeastern Kharkiv region, over the weekend, which President Volodymyr Zelensky called a “war crime.” The regional governor, Oleh Synyehubov, reported two deaths and four injuries from the attack.
Here’s the latest on the war and its ripple effects across the globe.
“This war crime alone says everything about Russian aggression,” Zelensky wrote on Telegram. He shared a photoshowing a roofless structure lit up in flames against an orange night sky.
Japan’s prime minister condemned Russia’s threats to use nuclear weapons in a speech marking the 78th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on Sunday. “The tragedies of Hiroshima and Nagasaki caused by nuclear weapons must never be repeated,” Fumio Kishida said in a statement. But the “widening division within the international community over approaches to nuclear disarmament, the nuclear threat made by Russia, and other concerns now make that road all the more difficult,” he said.
The Soviet coat of arms at Kyiv’s Motherland monument was replaced with the Ukrainian trident symbol ahead of Ukraine’s Independence Day on Aug. 24. Workers began modifying the 200-feet statue last week, despite criticism over funding cultural works amid the war. Since Russia’s invasion, many Ukrainians have been working to erase ties to Russia — and the Russian language — from their culture and landscape.
Representatives from at least 40 countries are expected to continue talks Sunday in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The nations taking part include Ukraine, South Africa, Mexico, Egypt, Indonesia and China, the latter of which did not participate in Copenhagen peace talks this summer. The summit is seen as a diplomatic push by Kyiv to grow partnerships beyond its established circle of Western supporters. Zelensky said it was “very important” for bilateral negotiations to take place on the sidelines. Zelensky aide Andriy Yermak, who led the Ukrainian delegation, said the talks were “productive.”
Ukrainian missiles hit two bridges in the Kherson region in southern Ukraine, a Russian-installed acting regional governor, saidSunday on Telegram: the Chonhar bridge, which links Kherson Oblast and Crimea, and a second one connecting the town of Henichesk and Arabatska Strelka over the Tonky strait. The Ukrainian military acknowledged the strikes later Sunday. The Chonhar bridge forms part of a key route used by Russia’s military to move between Crimea, which was illegally annexed by Russia in 2014, and other parts of Ukraine.
Sea drones hit a Russian oil tanker near occupied Crimea and a Russian naval base near the Black Sea port of Novorossiysk on Saturday and Friday, respectively. Ukraine has not claimed responsibility for either attack, but a government official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the country’s navy and SBU intelligence service carried out the strike on the naval base.
The Russian oil tanker was damaged but remained afloat, and there were no casualties, Russia’s water transportation agency saidon Telegram. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova condemned the attack as “barbaric” and said it “will not remain without a response,” Russia’s state-run Tass news agency reported.
A U.N. official said she was shocked at the level of destruction wrought by Russian strikes on Ukrainian grain storage facilities in Izmail last week. Denise Brown, a U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Ukraine, said that the amount of grain spoiled would have been enough to feed 66 million people per day and that the attack Wednesday “may constitute a grave violation of international humanitarian law.”