Staunton, Feb. 4 – One of the anomalies of Kremlin administrative practice is that all of Vladimir Putin’s degrees are numbered, but many of these are never released, allowing researchers to count just how many of his orders are in fact secret. Since the start of his war in Ukraine, the share of secret orders has risen to 50 percent, the Holod news portal says.
Putin has always issued many secret decrees (zona.media/article/2022/05/05/topsecret), but since the start of the war in Ukraine, their number has risen to 50 percent. Some of the increase reflects decree about casualty reports that are now kept secret or orders involving the military (holod.media/2023/02/04/ukazy-putina/).
Be But it is likely, even certain, that many of the now secret decrees Putin has been issuing involve other issues, Holod says. They may be about awards to his friends or the shifting of ownership of property from one group to another, neither subject of which he or those involved want to become public knowledge.
If that is in fact the case, then the war in Ukraine is providing the opportunity to move in an ever more totalitarian direction and thus casting an ever darker shadow on Russian governance than many had thought, with the Kremlin giving orders on all kinds of things that have little or nothing to do with Ukraine.
And such secrecy is unlikely to disappear after the conflict in Ukraine ends unless Putin departs the scene and is succeeded by someone more committed to open governance than he has been, something that unfortunately history suggests is less likely than would be good for Russian society as a whole.