Half Of Putin’s Decrees Since Start Of War In Ukraine Made In Secret – OpEd


One of the anomalies of Kremlin administrative practice is that all of Vladimir Putin’s degrees are numbered, but many of these are never released, allowing researchers to count just how many of his orders are in fact secret. Since the start of his war in Ukraine, the share of secret orders has risen to 50 percent, the Holod news portal says.

Putin has always issued many secret decrees (zona.media/article/2022/05/05/topsecret),  but since the start of the war in Ukraine, their number has risen to 50 percent. Some of the increase reflects decree about casualty reports that are now kept secret or orders involving the military (holod.media/2023/02/04/ukazy-putina/).

But it is likely, even certain, that many of the now secret decrees Putin has been issuing involve other issues, Holod says. They may be about awards to his friends or the shifting of ownership of property from one group to another, neither subject of which he or those involved want to become public knowledge.

If that is in fact the case, then the war in Ukraine is providing the opportunity to move in an ever more totalitarian direction and thus casting an ever darker shadow on Russian governance than many had thought, with the Kremlin giving orders on all kinds of things that have little or nothing to do with Ukraine.

And such secrecy is unlikely to disappear after the conflict in Ukraine ends unless Putin departs the scene and is succeeded by someone more committed to open governance than he has been, something that unfortunately history suggests is less likely than would be good for Russian society as a whole

Paul Goble

Paul Goble is a longtime specialist on ethnic and religious questions in Eurasia. Most recently, he was director of research and publications at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy. Earlier, he served as vice dean for the social sciences and humanities at Audentes University in Tallinn and a senior research associate at the EuroCollege of the University of Tartu in Estonia. He has served in various capacities in the U.S. State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and the International Broadcasting Bureau as well as at the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Mr. Goble maintains the Window on Eurasia blog and can be contacted directly at [email protected] .

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