Opinion | Russians Know Their Nation Has Suffered a Ethical Defeat

Opinion | Russians Know Their Nation Has Suffered a Ethical Defeat

For many people, the horror is visceral and private. My uncle, for instance, is Ukrainian and my spouse’s grandmother, born within the Ukrainian metropolis of Vinnytsia, survived the Nazi occupation of Kyiv. It’s exhausting to discover a Russian household with out Ukrainian kin and pals, husbands and wives, girlfriends and boyfriends, chess companions and colleagues. Lots of them at the moment are hiding in bomb shelters in Kyiv and Kharkiv.

They’re beneath assault by a Russian Military whose troopers — younger males who’ve spent their whole lives beneath Mr. Putin — look forlorn and confused. They had been instructed by their commanders that they had been going to the Ukrainian border to participate in logistical drills, solely to seek out themselves at conflict. Mr. Putin seemingly dreamed of a fast victory with Russian-speaking Ukrainians welcoming their “liberators” with flowers, the Ukrainian Military surrendering en masse and the nation’s leaders fleeing in worry. None of that is occurring.

As an alternative, because the Ukrainians bravely resist the onslaught, Russians are feeling the ache of wide-ranging worldwide sanctions and reprisals. With no European Union nation accepting flights from Russia and America closing its airspace, 1000’s have been left scrambling in airports — whereas others wait in lengthy strains at A.T.M.s because the ruble plunges. For unusual Russians, poorer and minimize off from the world, the prices of Mr. Putin’s aggression shall be excessive.

State propaganda is baying hysterically, doing its greatest to rally individuals behind the conflict — even whereas refusing to name it that. In reality, the censorship ministry is punishing these few remaining impartial media organizations, together with Meduza, the place I work, that dare to name Russia’s conflict what it’s. On Tuesday, the federal government took Echo of Moscow and TV Rain, the final remaining impartial radio station and TV channel, off the air. Calls for to punish the “fifth columnists” and “traitors” — in impact, those that sympathize with Ukraine — are rising louder and louder. Political repression will certainly intensify.

The Kremlin wish to counsel that almost all Russians are unconcerned concerning the distress already ricocheting their approach. In accordance with a state-owned pollster, 68 p.c of residents help the conflict. However there’s an enormous caveat: The survey by no means talked about conflict in any respect. As an alternative, it requested individuals whether or not they help what the federal government calls a “particular army operation,” aimed amongst different issues at “stopping a NATO base in Ukraine” and “denazification of Ukraine.” What the ballot actually exhibits is how state media dominates public opinion.