Some Russian officials think invading Ukraine was ‘a mistake,’ and are ‘discouraged, frightened’ and ‘making apocalyptic forecasts’: report
Jake Lahut – March 7, 2022
- Some Russian officials are reportedly unhappy about Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine on February 24.
- Farida Rustamova, formerly of the BBC, spoke to Kremlin officials for a March 1 story.
- An English translation of her article says many are “discouraged, frightened.”
President Vladimir Putin has alienated some top Russian officials ever since the early stages of the ongoing invasion of Ukraine, according to Russian journalist Farida Rustamova.
According to journalist Ilya Lozovsky’s English translation of Rustamova’s March 1 report, officials and members of parliament she spoke to said they’re increasingly worried about how Putin is handling the war.
“In reality, the attitude toward the war within the corridors of power is ambiguous,” Rustamova wrote, according to Lozovsky, whose translation she shared on Twitter and reposted on her Substack newsletter. “I came to this conclusion after speaking with several members of parliament and officials at various levels. Many of them are discouraged, frightened, and are making apocalyptic forecasts.”
Rustamova recently fled the country, and has previously worked for the BBC Russian Service — which has since been suspended by the London-based network — as well as Meduza and the RBC, an investigative outlet that saw a a mass resignation in 2016.
“No one is rejoicing,” a source described as “close to the Kremlin” told Rustamova, per Lozovsky’s translation. “Many understand that this is a mistake, but in the course of doing their duty they come up with explanations in order to somehow come to terms with it.”
“Some officials aren’t associating themselves with what’s happening at all, viewing Putin’s decision as a historical choice over which they have no influence, and the meaning of which no one will understand for a some time to come,” Rustamova wrote.
Another source granted anonymity said Kremlin officials are “carefully enunciating the word clusterf*ck” when describing the invasion.
Rustamova wrote that every source she talked to believed Putin wouldn’t follow through on invading Ukraine, and was instead looking to gain leverage for concessions, such as declaring Donetsk and Luhansk “people’s republics.”
“Everyone had some scattered information that did not provide an answer to the main question: will we start bombing or not?” another source “close to the Kremlin” told Rustamova.
The Russian reporter also outlined how Putin has been limiting information to a close circle of advisors.
“Most likely, my sources say, only the narrowest circle had been informed: Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov, and the leaders of the counterintelligence service,” she wrote, according to Lozovsky’s translation. “For example, the head of the presidential administration Anton Vaino, whose role, unlike his more influential predecessors, is more akin to a private secretary, is not informed about such decisions, my sources say.”
A different source Rustamova called “a good acquaintance of Putin’s” said the Russian president’s mood has gotten worse.
“Here he is in a state of being offended and insulted,” the source said. “It’s paranoia that has reached the point of absurdity.”