The Jordan Center Blog

A space for news and opinion, sponsored by The Jordan Center

Do Russians Care About the War in Ukraine?

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Polling in an authoritarian regime is a tricky business, all the more so when the country is at war. People are understandably wary of expressing an opinion to a random stranger. Nevertheless, the Levada Center has regularly asked Russians about their attitudes towards the “military operation.” They find a high level of support: 74% in April, 77% in May and 75% in June. Age differences are significant: more than 90% of respondents over 65 supported the war versus 36% of those aged 18-24. The May poll found that 44% expected the “operation” to last at least six more months.

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The Ukraine War and the Putin Succession

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Putin is 69 years old. There has been much speculation about the state of his health. All we know for sure is that he will die at some point: that could happen tomorrow, or it could be 25 years from now. Putin has made no move to groom a potential successor. Such a step could lead to a palace coup and an involuntary and premature departure from power. Putin has structured his regime in a way that makes a successful coup unlikely to succeed.

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With Russia’s War in Ukraine, Aeroflot Faces Unfriendly Skies, Part II

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Yesterday’s post addressed the new cold war in the skies, which has divided the West from Russia as a consequence of Russia’s aggression in Ukraine. Sanctions against Russia’s aviation sector and the country’s retaliatory measures have unmade many of Russia’s global air routes, which the Soviet Union began building in the mid-1950s. Yet this sector, I hazard to predict, will likely weather sanctions by recreating the illiberal regime of air travel that characterized Aeroflot in the Soviet era.

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What Russian Rap Can Teach Us About Russian (Anti-)War Discourse

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At the other end of the spectrum from Oxxxymiron and FACE is one of the few high-profile artists speaking in defense of Russia’s invasion: the rapper and MMA enthusiast Timati, who has released several statements explaining the invasion as a “forced measure” enabled by Western funding and agitation. The infamously pro-Kremlin rapper (see his now-deleted video with Guf entitled “Moscow,” one of the most disliked videos in Russian YouTube history) vehemently defended Russia and his own patriotic stance, while still claiming to be against the loss of “innocent” life.

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A Woman’s Lot: Realism and Gendered Narration in Russian Women’s Writing of the 1860s

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In March 1862, the first part of a novel titled Zhenskaia dolia [A Woman’s Lot] appeared in the leading Russian literary journal Sovremennik [The Contemporary]. The publication was signed “N. Stanitskii.” Loyal readers would have recognized a name that had appeared in nearly every issue of the journal for the last fifteen years. Like the rest of “Stanitskii’s” fiction, Zhenskaia dolia offered a contribution to the debate on women’s rights.

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Reimagining Imperial Russia in “Russia: My History” Parks

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“Russia My History” and other, similar history parks are a remarkable testament to the state of historical memory in Russia today. These expensive and intricately crafted productions make clear the importance of the imperial narrative to the “soft power” component of Russia’s statecraft. The Romanovs exhibit in particular accords with the stilted view of the past that Russia’s political center has been crafting for decades. As the war in Ukraine demonstrates, these types of geopolitical narratives are anything but harmless. 

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