Demands for Putin to be replaced on Russian state TV after Moscow drone attacks
Putin’s top brass recruited by CIA in new video
Russian opposition politicians are voicing calls to replace President Vladimir Putin, despite the Kremlin’s ban on freedom of speech in the country. According to the latest UK Ministry of Defence update, Russian politician Boris Nadezhdin was brave enough to call for the Russian President’s replacement on national television.
The MoD wrote: “On 27 May 2023, Russian opposition politician Boris Nadezhdin appeared on Russia’s NTV channel and called for a new president to be elected in 2024, in order to rebuild normal relations with Europe.
“Nadezhdin has been a vocal critic of the war since the invasion, but this is highly likely the first call for Putin to be replaced on Russian state-approved TV since it began.
“In the last 15 months, Russia has introduced limitations on freedom of speech which haven’t been seen since Soviet times.
“However, there is a realistic possibility that recent vitriolic rhetoric by nationalist figures such as Wagner Group owner Yevgeny Prigozhin is emboldening opposition figures to challenge taboo topics.”
The update comes as a drone attack that targeted Moscow on Tuesday exposed glaring breaches in its air defences and underlined the capital’s vulnerability as more Russian soil comes under fire amid expectations of a Ukrainian counteroffensive.
The attack, which lightly damaged three apartment buildings, angered Russia’s hawks, who scathingly criticised President Vladimir Putin and the military brass for failing to protect the heart of Kremlin power more than 500 kilometers (310 miles) from the front line.
Five of the eight drones that took part in the raid were shot down, the Defence Ministry said, while three others were jammed and forced to veer off course. Some Russian media and bloggers alleged a larger number of drones were involved, but those claims couldn’t be verified.
The attack followed a May 3 drone strike on the Kremlin that lightly damaged the roof of the palace that includes one of Putin’s official residences. Other drones have crashed near Moscow in what Russian authorities described as botched Ukrainian attempts to attack the city and infrastructure facilities in the suburbs.
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Yevgeny Prigozhin, the maverick millionaire head of the Wagner private military contractor that plays a key role on the battlefield in Ukraine, scolded the Russian military leadership and denounced them as “scum” and “swine” for failing to protect Moscow.
“You, the Defence Ministry, have done nothing to launch an offensive,” Prigozhin said in a statement released by his office. “How dare you to allow the drones to reach Moscow?”
Ramzan Kadyrov, the strongman leader of the Russian province of Chechnya who sent forces from the region to fight in Ukraine, urged the Kremlin to declare martial law nationwide and use all its resources in Ukraine “to sweep away that terrorist gang.”
Some Kremlin watchers noted that Putin’s calm reaction that contrasted with angry statements from Russian hawks reflects his belief that the public won’t be unsettled by the attack.
“Putin has talked repeatedly about the Russian people’s remarkable patience and tenacity,” Tatiana Stanovaya of the Carnegie Endowment said in a commentary. “No matter how defiant another Ukrainian attack is, Putin doesn’t think that it could provoke public discontent with the government.”
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