I am pessimist. There is euphoria and the sanctions are not visible, the sounds of Moscow

The world is fighting the invasion of Ukraine with sanctions against Russia, blocking pro-Russian websites and rebutting misinformation. Russian propaganda is still in force. How does this affect Russian citizens? And what is their attitude in the war?

Hostem I ask was a publicist George Just living in Moscow.

Extensive sanctions, blocked global applications, the fall of the ruble and a plan to cut Russian banks from the SWIFT system complicate the daily life of ordinary Russians. The world is reacting to the Russian invasion with strong measures affecting the Russian economy, and protests against the war in Ukraine continue in many parts of the country.

As Putin’s regime tries to quell the reluctance of the people, the war is muted in local media, as well as non-Kremlin media. On Tuesday, the Russian authorities stopped broadcasting the liberal Echo Moscow radio or the Dožď television website.

What are the current moods in Moscow? And how does the “successful” regime suppress votes against invasion?

You can start the whole conversation in the intro video, audio, or in your favorite podcast app.

What was said in the interview?

1:00 – I’m staying in Moscow. But it was announced on Sunday that Czechs in Russia and Belarus are expected to leave those countries. I don’t want to play the hero, but for me there is no reason to leave Russia yet, both for professional and personal reasons. So far, I don’t see any risks or pressures. The situation has been much the same since 2014, when the first invasion of Ukraine began.

2:00 – Some of my acquaintances have really left, mostly entrepreneurs who no longer have anything to do in Russia. Business in Russia is severely limited for them. However, returning to the Czech Republic is now problematic. Russia is cut off from European skies. But it goes through Istanbul or other destinations, but no one will return directly to the Czech Republic.

3:00 – People in the metro read what is happening in Ukraine, listen to streams, TV shows. Ukraine dominates the public sphere. If it was a coid two weeks ago, Putin’s aggression against Ukraine is now number one. Unfortunately, people follow official channels, people watch state media or patriotic blogs. It was to be expected, but it is tragic.

4:00 – The media space is sterile. We speak purely of a “Russian special operation”, as if it were not a war. There is not much talk about the losses, only if the heads of the Russian regions publish it. Only seven people believed to have fallen in Ukraine have been the subject of such discussions in the media. I don’t think the Russians think about losses, the Russians are a bit xenophobic from an imperial point of view and they look down on the Ukrainians. They don’t care that anyone fell, especially that Ukraine is “liberated” from the Nazis, the Banderas. This is the official rhetoric that many people believe and are willing to sacrifice their standard of living for it. But there are a lot of people outside Moscow who are already so bad and the current situation hasn’t affected them that much.

7:00 – The banning of certain media is perceived negatively by the liberal part of society, but it must be realized that 30% of these people. The 70% of Russians see the whole operation as “denazification”, as President Putin put it. Many people see this as the right thing to do. The measures are like wartime measures, which now have their place.

8:00 a.m. – There’s a slight euphoria here so far. The Russians will feel the sanctions in a week or two, for example. It is not visible yet. There are more lenient queues at ATMs, bigger at banks where people try to withdraw their deposits. The rise or lack of things in Russia will come in a week or two. Things are in stock now. I did not see the price increase in the store. But it will get worse and people will take notice. But I remember the situation in 2014 and I’m afraid it won’t affect them. They will blame the bad Western propaganda, the bad West, and they will not realize that their leader Vladimir Putin is hurting them.

11:00 – From the middle class of Moscow, people ask me if I can bring them an iPhone from the Czech Republic. An acquaintance complains that he cannot go on vacation to Cuba because of the war in Ukraine. People can’t buy lunch because ApplePay isn’t working. People feel something, but it won’t change anything if the remaining 70% of Russians don’t notice it, if Vladimir Putin doesn’t notice it himself, then nothing will happen.

12:00 – Russia will be the Soviet Union 2.0, closing itself off to the outside world and making propaganda saying it’s because of the West. Some will accept it, I’m sure. The new “Iron Curtain” is now hard, Russia’s connection to the global world is coming to an end.

15:00 – These people live in another world, most of the society is post-Soviet. They live Soviet stories. I am pessimist.

6:00 p.m. – The restrictions faced by protesters are very severe. They risk a very high fine or 15 days in prison. They are fired from their jobs. What seems to us in the West that few people show is enormous personal courage here in Russia. These people face batons and brutal punishments.

I ask

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