Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Division between Russians in Russia and Russians who’ve Left Deepening, Tenisheva Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Feb. 24 – Among the many divisions which have opened among Russians since Putin launched his expanded war in Ukraine two years ago, one of the most important but least commented upon is between Russians who have remained in their own country and those who have fled abroad to avoid mobilization or in opposition to the Kremlin, Anastasia Tenisheva says.

            The Moscow Times journalist reports that Russians living in Moscow have told her that “those who have left have fallen out of touch” with those who have remained and “perceive everything in Russia in a negative light while those who stayed understand that life has not drastically changed apart from rising store prices and mobilization.”

            “Even among those who still live in Russia but are opposed to the war,” she says, “emigres are viewed as a distinct social group, defined by their more hawkish views toward the regime and pro-war Russians” (

            One of Tenisheva’s interlocutors, a Russian woman who went abroad and then returned, told her on condition of anonymity that she has stopped following independent Russian media, most of which is now based abroad because, in the journalist’s words, “exiled journalists fail to accurately portray what is happening inside Russia.”

            The returnee added that she has “mixed feeling about the idea that [emigres think] they are all building a new beautiful Russia somewhere.” And she concluded: “The illustion tha tone can remain part of Russia and live abroad has vanished.”

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