Russian Opposition To Ukraine War And Opposition To Putin Not Same – OpEd


Many in Russia and the West assume that opposition in Russia to Putin’s war in Ukraine and opposition to the Kremlin leader are one and the same thing, Stanislav Belkovsky says; but in fact, many who are against the war are nonetheless supportive of its author.

That is because many who oppose the war either on ethical grounds or because it is costing them money nonetheless owe their positions to Putin and fear that his ouster would lead them to lose their status and wealth, the Russian commentator says. They thus are very different than those who oppose the war and want Putin out (

(Belkovsky does not here discuss the possibility that there may be some who support the war but want Putin out either for reasons unconnected with the conflict or because they do not feel that he is conducting the war in an effective manner. Someone else, such people likely think could do a better job than the aging Russian leader.)

Belkovsky’s observation is important to keep in mind because all too many in Russia and in the West lump all the opposition together in one group, forgetting that divisions within the opposition are important and that they mean no one part of it is large or powerful enough to represent a threat to Putin or his policies.

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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