Wednesday, February 28, 2024

For Russians, the First Year of Putin’s Expanded War was Bad, but the Second was Far Worse, ‘Horizontal Russia’ Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Feb. 24 – The first year of Putin’s expanded war in Ukraine was “a time of constantly increasing hardships” for the Russian people, the Horizontal Russia (7x7) portal says; but over the course of the second year, the situation became even worse for residents of all the regions and republics of the country.

            The second was not only worse but very different from the first, the portal continues. In the first, “companies and brands left, familiar services disappeared, prices rose, new restrictive laws were put in place, and relatives of soldiers and residents of border regions lost friends and relatives” (

            In the second 12 months of the conflict, it continues, “the state concentrated on convincing people of the need for ‘sacrifices’ to achieve ‘victory.’” And to that end, “agents of the system helped create an atmosphere of fear, with denunciations, administrative prosecution, and criminal charges for anything from earrings to laying flowers in memory of Navalny.”

            The Horizontal Russia portal points to 10 ways in which the lives of Russians have become worse over the course of the last two years and provides details about each in the course of a 4500-word article:

1.     The greatest loss has been that there is no longer a sense of security among residents of Russia.

2.     Even surviving has become more complicated and making plans still more difficult.

3.     Prices for even the most basic consumer goods have risen.

4.     Repressions have increased to “an unprecedented level,” now that Russian citizens can be punished for almost anything.

5.     NGOs have been marginalized or closed altogether and Russians have lost their last defenders in almost all spheres of life.

6.     Censorship has destroyed the media and cultural phenomena inside the country. There is no real discussion and often no reporting of any kind on important events.

7.     Getting a decent education is ever more difficult.

8.     The regime’s promotion of its traditional values are hitting more and more groups of the population.

9.     Regions have less and less money but are expected to perform more and more functions as Moscow diverts money from domestic needs to its foreign war.

10.  Russians generally are losing friends and relatives as combat losses mount, and those living near the border with Ukraine are themselves at increasing risk of suffering losses as well.

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