Ukraine has had astonishing success on the battlefield recently. Not surprisingly, this is not playing well back in Russia. This article from Foreign Policy looks at how the war in Ukraine is energizing the Russian far-right opposition and the long-term consequences this may have for internal Russian politics: "A new Russian protest movement is coalescing, but it’s neither pro-democracy nor anti-war. Instead, it’s the most extreme of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s supporters, who have grown increasingly furious at the unfolding military disaster for Russia in the six-month-long war in Ukraine. ... Their push to escalate the war, including widespread demands to use nuclear weapons, is dangerous in itself. But by creating a fantasy world in which a supposedly all-powerful Russian army is being defeated by domestic enemies—instead of by superior Ukrainian soldiers fighting for their own land with modern tactics and Western weapons—the movement has potentially disturbing implications for a postwar and possibly post-Putin Russia. In fact, the narrative sounds a lot like the Dolchstosslegende, the German “stab-in-the-back” conspiracy theory that blamed the country’s defeat in World War I on nefarious enemies at home, including Jews. This narrative of military defeat became an integral part of the propaganda that brought the Nazis to power. ... The level of hatred and derision toward everything Ukrainian in their blog posts is difficult to convey. Ukrainians are described as illegal squatters on Russian imperial lands or followers of the Nazi bandits supposedly governing in Kyiv. Their cities must be “hammered into the Stone Age” while massacres against civilians are gleefully referred to as “pig-butchering.” ... Whether or not the Kremlin now cracks down, the pro-war movement’s toxic narrative will take on a life of its own—especially if and when Russia loses the war, which is now all but inevitable. As the disconnect between official propaganda about an easy, successful “special operation” and the reality of crushing defeat becomes clear, many Russians will be looking for someone to blame." foreignpolicy.com/2022/09/12/russia-ukraine-war-defeat-opposition-putin-stab-in-the-back-conspiracy-theory-far-right
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