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Russia

Under Pressure In Moscow, Putin Pins Hopes On The “Other Russia”

Vladimir Putin is still the man to beat in Russia’s upcoming presidential election, thanks in large part to support from rural working-class voters. As urban protesters take to the streets, Putin heads off to chat up miners and laborers in far-off provinc

A construction site near Yekaterinburg (peretzp)
A construction site near Yekaterinburg (peretzp)
Marie Jégo

MOSCOW Since the urban middle class doesn't want him anymore, Vladimir Putin is turning elsewhere. You just had to see the campaigning prime minister during a visit late last month in Kemerovo, Siberia, where he whipped some 6,000 miners and laborers into a frenzy by promising some $117 billion worth of public investment for the area.

That's apparently what it takes to win over the people of Kemerovo, who have a reputation for being hard to impress. Last October, for example, locals barely noticed when the regional administration announced the sighting of a Yeti (abominable snowman). In Siberia, as elsewhere in Russia, people are generally wary of what political leaders say.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

The "Corrosion" Strategy: How Ukraine Targets Russian Networks And Morale

Russia continues to shrink its ambitions in Donbas, as Ukraine doubles down on its strategy of guerilla attacks, interrupting supply and communication contacts and ultimately undermines the morale of the enemy.

Ukrainian soldiers sitting atop a tank in Donbas on May 22

Clemens Wergin

For years to come, military experts will be studying how Ukraine managed to push back a far stronger enemy and grind Russia’s major offensive in the east of the country to a halt.

Some military strategists are already trying to find a term to sum up the Ukrainians’ success. Australian military expert and retired army major general Mick Ryan credited Kyiv's stunning showing to "the adoption of a simple military strategy: corrosion. The Ukrainian approach has embraced the corrosion of the Russian physical, moral, and intellectual capacity to fight and win in Ukraine.”

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Ryan argues that while the Ukrainians have used the firepower they possess to halt the Russian advance, while aggressively targeting their enemy’s greatest shortcoming. “They have attacked the weakest physical support systems of an army in the field – communications networks, logistic supply routes, rear areas, artillery and senior commanders in their command posts,” Ryan wrote.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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