In Moscow's Shadows 51: Ukraine, Prisons, Legitimacy and Lombards...
Something of a miscellany. First of all, latest thoughts - that turn out to be disappointingly inconclusive - about what's going on with Ukraine.
Then reflections on the appointment of a career cop as the new head of FSIN, the Federal Penitentiary Service, and the prospects for pragmatic reform. (The 2011 blog I mentioned is here.)
Then short and sour comments about the vacuous and dangerous virtue signalling that is the proposed Congressional resolution not to recognise Putin as president “if the autocrat remains in power” after 2024.
And finally, in response to a question from a Patron, observations about how Russians are getting by, and the increased visibility of pawn shops (lombards, in Russian).
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After tackling three of recent developments worth noting - the evolving military command structure of the war, Sergei Kirienko's role and the emergence of the war economy - I tackle a dozen listeners' questions, from how the conflict is affecting Putin's thoughts about his future, to whether...
Something of a magazine episode. In the first half I talk about my being banned from Russia (here's the Foreign Ministry announcement), Putin at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum, Lavrov interviewed by the BBC (see more here) and Pertsev's recent article about the elite in Meduza...