NEW YORK – In Russia, if a public figure is being prosecuted or punished, two things used to be true: they oppose Vladimir Putin’s rule or his “special military operation” in Ukraine, and they are not a high-ranking official.

The arrest last month of Deputy Defense Minister Timur Ivanov for allegedly accepting a bribe ominously defied these rules of thumb. It also highlights deepening tensions among powerful groups in Russia amid a lack of coherent leadership from the despot in charge.

Make no mistake: Putin has no serious challengers. When he ordered the full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 22, 2022, even his own Security Council was surprised. Russia’s political and business elites were then forced to sacrifice many of their pre-war privileges and start building a new Russia that corresponded to Putin’s vision of history and international relations. They had no choice.

QOSHE - Russia’s Battle of the Ministries - Nina L. Khrushcheva
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Russia’s Battle of the Ministries

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15.05.2024

NEW YORK – In Russia, if a public figure is being prosecuted or punished, two things used to be true: they oppose Vladimir Putin’s rule or his “special military operation” in Ukraine, and they are not a........

© Project Syndicate

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