Russia’s military incursion into Ukraine has been anything but successful. Defeat after defeat, ever-changing objectives, surprising retreats, and great losses describe a stalled campaign.
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Critique is outlawed
Vladimir Putin’s regime has banned by law criticism of the ‘special military operation in Ukraine’, astheKremlincalls it.
Few have dared to voice out concern about the war, and some among the Russian elites who reportedly did so privatelyhave paid the maximum price.
With the failures on the battlefield and great losses, even the Kremlin had to dial down the propagandatoprevent the dwindling of domestic support. Consequently, Russian state media began in September to agree with some of the hard facts on the ground in Ukraine.
Nevertheless, the Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov and Yevgeny Prigozhin, the founder of the ‘Wagner mercenary group’, are two Putin allies who have spoken out withoutany repercussions, BBC reports.
They have been repeatedly criticizing the handling of the Ukraine war, especially by Russia’s defence complex, including Russian Defense Minister Shoigu and his deputies.
The criticism by Kadyrov and Prigozhin suggests they have grown to see Putin as indispensable.
The former is a military leaderwho spearheaded Russia’s campaign of thwarting Chechen independence during the 90s, while the latter isa close confidant of Putin and a notorious billionaire whos involved in catering, mercenary work, and disinformation.
Kadyrovrecently criticised the now-sacked Russian General Lapin for his alleged retreats in key strategic settlements in Ukraine. Kadyrov called for the demotion of the general to a soldier for his ‘talentless’ actions:
He needs to be made to wash off his shame with blood.
Kadyrov's troops are active in Ukraine, and recently he has been promoted by Putin from brigadier general tocolonel general.
Prigozhin’s Wagner mercenaries have been instrumental thus far in Ukraine, proving to be highly effective and are reportedly behind many atrocities. Although recently he denied having criticisedthe Russian Army, reports suggest otherwise.
Recently, in a statement, Prigozhin admitted to Russia’s meddlingin the2016 US elections.CNN reports:
we interfered, we interfere and we will interfere.
Putin's inner circle includes officials who would like to end the Ukraine war and individuals like Prigozhin and Kadyrov who have repeatedly called forfurther escalation.
-BBC: ‘Putin allies who criticise Russia's war machine’
-CNN: ‘Russian oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin appears to admit to US election interference’