Saturday, April 15, 2023

Russian Residents in Smaller Communities Angered by Moscow’s Making Heroes of Criminals People There are Likely to Know, Erlikhman Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Apr. 10 – Members of non-Russian communities and Russians living in smaller towns are offended by the Russian government’s making heroes out of people whom these people knew to be real criminals and also by Moscow’s decision to pay large sums of money to the families of the fallen, Kirill Erlikhman says.

            These are among the factors that are causing residents in such places from which a disproportionate share of Russian troops come to sour on Putin’s war as that conflict enters its second year, the North Caucasus political activist says (

            Other factors undermining popular support for the war include the radicalization of propaganda, the use of newspeak terminology which many in the region find offensive or a source of humor, an obvious increase in the number of victims of the conflict, and the increasing desire for and use of sources of information about the war other than official ones.

            To the extent Erlikhman is correct, Moscow’s bet on using soldiers from non-Russian republics and smaller Russian cities and towns to fight Putin’s war in Ukraine may backfire because people in these places are more likely to know the criminal past of those the Kremlin is seeking to make heroes of.

            And if that happens, then the portion of the population of the Russian Federation that Putin and most analysts in Moscow and the West view as the bedrock of popular support for his military effort may be eroding, something that could undermine the center’s ability to continue to prosecute the war with those it has relied on up to now and perhaps force it to recruit elsewhere.

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