Russians feel the new Iron Curtain up close

Two weeks ago, a middle-class Russian worked for the largest global company, bought from there, planned a vacation in the west, and got news from a vibrant (if confused) independent retailer. I was able to get it and post it on social media as I like.

Play status: With the new law Promising prison time for journalists For those who call the Vladimir Putin war a “war,” domestic and foreign retailers have ceased operations. Western companies are leaving. Social media platforms are disappearing. The border is tight. Protesters have been imprisoned all at once.

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  • “It’s over,” says Alexander Baunov, Senior Fellow of Carnegie Moscow. “All traces of liberalism will be wiped out.”

“The rules were clear And they are no longer so, “says Baunov. I don’t know what kind of oppression can be met against what was previously tolerated. “

  • Educated Russians knew they lived in dictatorship, he says. Many have settled with it. But they never expected to live again in the type of country where the “portrait of a great leader” was hanging on the wall.

  • People working in journalism, art, or global companies are seeing their career prospects evaporate. Tens of thousands of Russians have fled the country.

  • Educated Russians have long debated the conditions under which they may migrate, he says. For many, the closure of borders, the closure of social media, and “Russia’s de-globalization” were their red lines, he says. Others simply feel that they cannot live normally in a country that is attacking a neighboring country.

Yes, but: It is, of course, a subset of the population. One independent poll Quoted in The Washington Post War approval is 58% and 23% is disapproved.

  • Many Russians have never shopped at IKEA, drank Starbucks coffee, or watched Netflix, so they don’t feel the shift so sharp.

  • When financial sanctions begin to bite, many are ready to accept the Kremlin’s line of being victims of economic warfare from the West, which has nothing to do with the war in Ukraine, Baunov says. ..

  • Sanctions have permeated everyday life and conversation in ways that weren’t already in 2014, but he doesn’t expect them to push more Russians to the streets. “The fear of crackdown is much higher than the dissatisfaction with sanctions,” he said.

But Russians are not completely blocked From the west, or from the truth about the war.

  • Telegram, a widely used social media app, continues to work.Online, Russians Flock to a virtual private network..

  • But Putin still believes that when Russian troops bomb a maternity hospital in Mariupol (only 35 miles from Russia), only a few people in the population will see horrific images or believe their country is responsible. You may be pretty confident.

Conclusion: The last two weeks have, in a sense, gone back in time. Coca Cola, McDonald’s When Disney I’m gone. A new iron curtain is taking shape.

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