Do Russians Care About the War in Ukraine?



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



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



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



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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Sergei Lavrov’s Canard of a “Jewish Hitler” and the (Un)logic of Antisemitism



Old habits die hard. One especially pernicious “habit” that has resurfaced during the Russian invasion of Ukraine is the claim that Adolf Hitler, the man who led the attempted annihilation of European Jewry, was himself part Jewish. At a May 1 press conference, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated that Ukraine could still harbor Nazi elements even though its president, Voldymyr Zelensky, is Jewish.

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Digital Authoritarianism at War: Controlling Russia’s Information Space

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The unprecedented sanctions and the exodus of many international technology companies from Russia is understandable, but their absence risks ceding the information space to the Kremlin. Cutting off Russian users from international platforms makes it easier for the Kremlin to isolate the Russian public from all but its carefully-crafted narratives.

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Russia’s War on the Nonhuman



This is not the time to give in to techno-pessimism, nor over-rely on techno-optimism—though closing the sky is long overdue and those fighter jets are sorely needed! Also needed is the development of and financial incentivization for more sustainable green energies. When Russia’s war on Ukraine is over, Ukrainians and the world will have to confront that other “secret war.” The environmental nightmare facing Polissia and the nonhuman across Ukraine is, after all, another Soviet legacy that sovereign, independent Ukraine is more than capable of taking on.

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Five Wrong Ideas About Russia’s War on Ukraine



While Ukraine is winning the hearts and minds of Europe and North America, it is losing the propaganda war in the rest of the world. The role of the United States in global affairs in recent decades is so dominant that much of the public in China, India, Vietnam and elsewhere seem to have bought the Russian narrative that this is a war to stop Western expansion and domination. 

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Save Ukrainian Cultural Heritage!



What we are doing in the virtual cloud depends on what happens there, on a battleground. There is a list of cities and towns currently under attack, and it is getting longer. The archivists first go to high-risk collections, trying hard to get ahead of time to create copies. Each hour, under shelling, the flickering lights of Ukrainian culture risk disappearing into the darkness of oblivion.

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Post-Soviet Transformations as a Shame-Mediated “Civilizing Process”: Neoliberalization, Academia, and the War in Ukraine


I recently attended a workshop where each participant presented their observations about the state of national identity in the Baltic States. One of my arguments in the workshop was that emotions of (national) pride and shame are relational facets of national identity, and that in the post-Soviet space this emotional dynamic has been affected by Western expertise. Diplomats and others introduced neoliberal reforms and ideas to the Latvian “transformation elite,” a term I use to denote the Latvian political leadership that guided and governed the country’s post-Soviet transformation.

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Open Letter in Support of DOXA



We demand that the charges against Natalia Tyshkevich, Vladimir Metyolkin, Armen Aramyan, and Alla Gutnikova be immediately dropped and that all four be released, and we express our wholehearted support for their actions. To sign a letter of solidarity with DOXA, follow this link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1xp1cXclQxxglDWCf7AENRVwEL1e-i01ZJjdCr7tNDPM/edit..

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How Research on Role Conceptions Helps Understand Ukrainian Resistance

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The invasion of the Ukraine makes clear that Russia’s foreign policy stance toward surrounding states is now a decidedly aggressive one. This principle is especially true for any formerly Soviet states, which, since the beginning of the war, have demonstrated how deeply their vision of a relationship with Russia diverges from Russia’s own. Scholarly attention has thus far focused on Russia’s resurgence in what it defines as its “near abroad,” but the perspectives of those actually living in and governing this “near abroad” remains understudied. The Ukrainian popular reaction to Russia’s invasion demonstrates that former Soviet states very likely do not agree with Russia’s view of their countries as “clients.”

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What Russians Think When They Hear the Word “Nazi”



Claiming that a country whose head of state is a Jew with relatives who died in the Holocaust is a “neo-Nazi” state is absurd. Yet for many Russians, this claim could sound credible, because “Nazism” and the more commonly used “fascism” carry a different set of associations than for most people in Western Europe and North America.

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