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When are Russians really going to start feeling the pressure of the shooting war in Ukraine and the economic/political one with the West? I explain why I think September is when they will really start to feel it.In the second part, I read the coda written for the paperback edition of my Short History of Russia (out now, and a bargain!)And apologies for some sound issues with background noise, that I could not edit out...You can also follow my blog, In Moscow's Shadows, and become one of the podcast's supporting Patrons and gain question-asking rights and access to exclusive extra materials right here. Support the show
A week before Victory Day,  I consider some different constituencies' notions of victories. For Patrushev and the hard-liners, they could win politically not despite failing in the war, but thanks to it. Nuclear rhetoric may be scary, but it is also a reflection not of victory but failure. The war and sanctions are reshaping the opportunities in the Russian underworld, and this create new winners and losers. And what does Patriarch Kirill hope to win?The Moscow Times piece I mentioned is here.You can also follow my blog, In Moscow's Shadows, and become one of the podcast's supporting Patrons and gain question-asking rights and access to exclusive extra materials right here. Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/InMoscowsShadows)
For an experimental change in format, this episode is given over to a long conversation with Fabian Burkhardt of IOS-Regensburg, who works on Russian elites, institutions and authoritarian politics. He gives his sense on the state and loyalties of the elites, on the chances of any kind of palace coups, and the degree to which we are all flailing around in the fog of (info)war.As for relevant publications of Fabian's on the topic of the podcast: "Institutionalising Authoritarian Presidencies: Polymorphous Power and Russia’s Presidential Administration" , "Foolproofing Putinism", "The Fog of War and Power Dynamics in Russia’s Elite: Defections and Purges, or Simply Wishful Thinking?"Useful sources for listeners some of which Fabian used in his prep or mentioned in podcast:Adam Casey, "Putin Has Coup-Proofed His Regime"Timothy Frye "Why Regime Change in Russia Might Not Be a Good Idea"Vladimir Milov "Ugroza perevorota v Rossii. Okruzhenie Putina sposobno na zagovor? FSB, Sovbez, FSO, Genshtab i drugie." [The threat of a coup in Russia. Is Putin's entourage capable to stage a conspiracy? FSB, Security Council, FSO, General Staff and others]Mark Galeotti "Putin is devouring his children", "Putin’s totalitarian turn"Stanislav Markus "Meet Russia’s oligarchs, a group of men who won't be toppling Putin anytime soon"Farida Rustamova "They’re carefully enunciating the word clusterf*ck", "'Now we're going to f*ck them all.' What's happening in Russia's elites after a month of war"Andrey Pertsev "Blindsided Russia’s top officials were caught off guard by Putin’s war in Ukraine. Many of them want to resign — but can’t.", "Filling the void Putin’s administration no longer hopes to take Kyiv. The Russian president has yet to make a final decision."Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan "Could the Siloviki Challenge Putin?"Dossier Center "Beseda na doprose. Deistvitelno li arestovan glava 5-i sluzhby FSB" [Interrogation of Beseda. Was the head of the FSB's Fifth Service really arrested?]You can also follow my blog, In Moscow's Shadows, and become one of the podcast's supporting Patrons and gain question-asking rights and access to exclusive extra materials right here. Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/InMoscowsShadows)
Who is General Dvornikov, the new Russian operational commander for the war in Ukraine? Will Prime Minister Mishustin and the other technocrats be able to prevent the militarisation of the Russian economy? Four scenarios for the war. And why it's all about 'enemies' versus 'traitors' for Putin now...The piece on Rusich I mentioned is here, and the Telegraph piece is here.You can also follow my blog, In Moscow's Shadows, and become one of the podcast's supporting Patrons and gain question-asking rights and access to exclusive extra materials right here. Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/InMoscowsShadows)
Another brief and unedited podcast trying to track some of the latest Ukraine-related Russian stories, all distinctly depressing:- the war crimes of Bucha (and the Kirill Shamiev twitter thread I mentioned is here)- comparing Ivan the Terrible and Vladimir (Putin) the Pretty Terrible Too - the dilemmas for ordinary Russians - and why today's support may not be tomorrow's (the Farida Rustamova piece I mention is here)You can also follow my blog, In Moscow's Shadows, and become one of the podcast's supporting Patrons and gain question-asking rights and access to exclusive extra materials right here. Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/InMoscowsShadows)
A brief and thoroughly unedited look at four particular issues relating to Ukraine:- the 'new strategy' of concentrating on the Donbas- where's Shoigu?- fear and loathing in the National Guard- a comparison with medieval Lithuania (yes, really)You can also follow my blog, In Moscow's Shadows, and become one of the podcast's supporting Patrons and gain question-asking rights and access to exclusive extra materials right here. Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/InMoscowsShadows)
Rather than try and follow the day-by-day, I tackle one of the tricky conundra: not just why the Russians have done so badly, but why the Ukraine war hasn't been fought the way the Russian army is meant to fight. My suspicion is that it is what happens when autocracy meets technocracy, and I explain what I mean.In the second part, I look at the current claims that Colonel General Beseda of the FSB is under arrest and the hints of opening divisions in the security apparatus, as well as the wider question of how we try and make sense of it all in the midst of active information warfare being waged on every side.You can also follow my blog, In Moscow's Shadows, and become one of the podcast's supporting Patrons and gain question-asking rights and access to exclusive extra materials right here. Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/InMoscowsShadows)
What can one say about the unfolding horror in Ukraine. In this podcast I alight on a few specific issues: Putin's nuclear signalling (at least I hope that's all it is), the idiocy of 'No Fly Zones' in this context, Russian morale, and how, if Putin is re-booting the Brezhnev franchise, this could in the long-term let Russia finally complete its reform process.You can also follow my blog, In Moscow's Shadows, and become one of the podcast's supporting Patrons and gain question-asking rights and access to exclusive extra materials right here. Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/InMoscowsShadows)
It may well be, as US/UK leaders are saying, that it is too late, that Putin is determined to wage war on Ukraine, but even as we assiduously wargame the potential routes of advance and attack, we should continue to try and peacegame, too, to apply the same imagination to framing any potential settlement. It would be exquisitely difficult and complex, but right up until the tanks cross the border, we ought to try. Today, I try and sketch out some thoughts as to what such a deal - one that does not sell Kyiv down the river - might involve. You can also follow my blog, In Moscow's Shadows, and become one of the podcast's supporting Patrons and gain question-asking rights and access to exclusive extra materials right here. Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/InMoscowsShadows)
With Schrodinger's War both imminent and unthinkable there is, to be blunt, only so much that can usefully be said about Russia and Ukraine. I start with a few observations on whether insiders are trying to warn Putin off escalation and what it means if Russia does launch a full-scale invasion (in short, welcome the Brezhnevian stagnation and the rule of the hawks), before turning to some listener questions. Specifically, why Russia is so good at hacking the international system, whether it will stay in Syria through 2022 (yes) and whether Bortnikov will retire (also yes). I talk about putative FSB director-elect Korolev in a piece for Raam op Rusland here, and talked about the debate over recognising the Donbas pseudo-states in this IMS episode. You can also follow my blog, In Moscow's Shadows, and become one of the podcast's supporting Patrons and gain question-asking rights and access to exclusive extra materials right here. Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/InMoscowsShadows)
I spin a post on the Nezygar Telegram channel out to explore the current uncertain state of play over Ukraine, covering topics from the current US claims of what its intelligence says about both Zelenskyy and Putin to whether recognising the Donbas pseudo-states is being floated in Moscow precisely as an escape route.  In the second segment, I tackle some of the requests for predictions sent in by Patrons and offer what turn out to be some disappointingly unexciting responses. The article on Minsk II for the Council on Geostrategy is here.You can also follow my blog, In Moscow's Shadows, and become one of the podcast's supporting Patrons and gain question-asking rights and access to exclusive extra materials right here. Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/InMoscowsShadows)
One of the short bonuses provided to Patrons over the 2021-22 Christmas and New Year season, released generally a month later.A Christmas tale of villainy and corruption.There are all kinds of rumours about embezzlement and theft at a state bank, but the directors swear blind that all is fine.The chief teller is clearly rich beyond his means, and his wife is never seen but that she is dripping with diamonds, but no one sees fit to enquire further.Eventually, when it turns out that the bank has been plundered into near-bankruptcy, there’s an enquiry, but the chief director of the bank – who incidentally is a close crony of the ruler – is put in charge of the investigating commission.And this is despite the eye-witness account of his removing bullion from the bank’s vaults as the scandal breaks.Lo and behold, all the blame is placed on the teller and sundry other small fry, while the directors go scot free.Sounds like just another tale of modern Russia?You can also follow my blog, In Moscow's Shadows, and become one of the podcast's supporting Patrons and gain question-asking rights and access to exclusive extra materials (including retrospectively the archive of past bonus posts) right here. Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/InMoscowsShadows)
One of the short bonuses provided to Patrons over the 2021-22 Christmas and New Year season, released generally a month later.Who is Lt. Gen. Dmitry Mironov? It may prove worth knowing about this bodyguard-turned-governor-turned-presidential-aide, in effect Putin's eyes and ears over the security forces, and now you can spend just 13 minutes and feel that you do! How being a bodyguard and an ice hockey player can be one of the best routes to success in Putin's Russia.You can also follow my blog, In Moscow's Shadows, and become one of the podcast's supporting Patrons and gain question-asking rights and access to exclusive extra materials (including retrospectively the archive of past bonus posts) right here. Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/InMoscowsShadows)
After the Blinken-Lavrov talks, a brief one-segment podcast with a few thoughts on the current state of the dialogue, the risks of conflict, and the chances that Moscow will formally recognise the Donbas and Lugansk 'Peoples' Republics.'You can also follow my blog, In Moscow's Shadows, and become one of the podcast's supporting Patrons and gain question-asking rights and access to exclusive extra materials right here. Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/InMoscowsShadows)
One of the short bonuses provided to Patrons over the 2021-22 Christmas and New Year season, released later: usually a month, in this case a fortnight, as I think it's worth hearing early in the year!I freely admit business is not my area of expertise, so who better to give a quick assessment of what may await in 2022 than Ben Aris, Editor-in-Chief of bne Intellinews (https://www.intellinews.com/) and one of the more grounded commentators on ‘Planet Business.’You can also follow my blog, In Moscow's Shadows, and become one of the podcast's supporting Patrons and gain question-asking rights and access to exclusive extra materials (including retrospectively the archive of past bonus posts) right here. Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/InMoscowsShadows)
A Russian-led force deploying into Kazakhstan has inevitably had some people talking invasion, some stabilisation. I make no claims to being a Kazakhstan expert and look forward to people who are having the opportunity to work out if this was a coup by President Tokaev against his patron and master Nazarbaev or something else. So instead, I look at the crisis through the Russian lens: why did the CSTO agree to send forces, what are Moscow's interests, and what can we learn from the Russian media messaging?You can also follow my blog, In Moscow's Shadows, and become one of the podcast's supporting Patrons and gain question-asking rights and access to exclusive extra materials right here. Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/InMoscowsShadows)
To kick off the year, rather than making some grand predictions about Russia, instead I speculate as to what 2022 may offer Putin, Patrushev, Mishustin, Shoigu, Kirienko and Kadyrov. So much will depend on one key decision, whether the system will legitimate itself 'socially' or as a 'fortress.'The twitter thread on the VTsIOM poll I mentioned is here, and the Riddle 'Key Event of 2021' compilation is here.You can also follow my blog, In Moscow's Shadows, and become one of the podcast's supporting Patrons and gain question-asking rights and access to exclusive extra materials right here. Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/InMoscowsShadows)
A short, one-segment piece on Russia's proposed new treaties and how, despite what their deputy foreign minister may say, we have to treat them as the basis for some kind of negotiation, and see what comes of it. So long, that is, that we also step up our deterrence, to ensure Moscow has good reason to talk.You can also follow my blog, In Moscow's Shadows, and become one of the podcast's supporting Patrons and gain question-asking rights and access to exclusive extra materials right here. Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/InMoscowsShadows)
Quite what is Russia's game plan over Ukraine? It seems hard to explain through common sense, so I conduct a thought experiment: what would Putin have to be thinking to believe that a war, with all the consequent and catastrophic political and economic costs, might make sense?In the second part, I look at some developments in the Russian underworld that suggest that a long nightmare - the prospect of nation-wide mafia wars - might well actually be on the wane.You can also follow my blog, In Moscow's Shadows, and become one of the podcast's supporting Patrons and gain question-asking rights and access to exclusive extra materials right here. 
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).You can also follow my blog, In Moscow's Shadows, and become one of the podcast's supporting Patrons and gain question-asking rights and access to exclusive extra materials right here. 
Comments (2)

C muir

tedious podcast. sounds like a guardian reading lefty

Dec 16th
Reply

Lars Abrahamsson

Is it silent?

May 1st
Reply
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