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Few Russians wanted the war in Ukraine – but they won’t accept a Russian defeat either

By Anatol Lieven

30 Aug 2023 · 4 min read

informed Summary

  1. Anatol Lieven underscores the deep-rooted fears within the Russian establishment and the broader population of defeat, chaos, and mistrust. Many believe that a Ukrainian victory could oust Putin, leading Russia into a chaotic and uncertain era.

It is highly probable that we will never know precisely how or why Yevgeny Prigozhin, leader of the Russian mercenary group Wagner, was killed. It is also highly probable that he was assassinated, most likely on the orders of Vladimir Putin, but possibly on the orders of his enemies in the Russian defence ministry, who had probably been dreaming of this moment for a long time and believed they could finally kill him with impunity.

Most western commentary on the assassination has focused on the fear of Putin that Prigozhin’s death will cause among the Russian elites, or on the underlying fragility it reveals in the Russian regime.

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