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  • Writer's pictureMariah Nimmons

A Moral Battle

A NOTE: Our Russia-Ukraine Resources are updated weekly - if you're accessing the page three or more weeks past the below date, pieces mentioned in this post may have been removed to make room for up-to-date resources.


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Updated Resources - May 22, 2024


President Putin speaking at Russia Day celebrations. 12 June 2003. (Kremlin.ru, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)


KEY DEVELOPMENTS



 

President of China Xi Jinping and President of Russia Vladimir Putin standing for national anthems during the official welcoming ceremony as part of Putin's state visit to China. 16 May 2024. (Kremlin.ru, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)


WHAT'S ON OUR MIND


In addition to our weekly resource update, today we also offer an updated collection of pieces on the Israeli-Hamas war.


On the heels of the Russian inauguration, ushering in Putin’s fifth term in office and marking a 25-year-long tenure of power and in the wake of a leadership reshuffle, we tackle the expansive yet vital subject of Putin’s Russia. Since the onset of the Ukraine War - though seeds were sown well before the invasion - experts and observers have noted with alarm Russia’s rapid acceleration towards an autocratic society underpinned by growing militarism, conservatism, ultranationalism, and repression.


The war in Ukraine has offered insight into this new ‘face’ of Russia. The evident societal shifts lay the groundwork for one of the Kremlin’s central positions: that Russia offers an alternative to Western liberalism in the form of a more ‘traditionally moral’ system. And, as a part of the broader international order, that Russia - along with like minded state partners - submits autocracy as a viable alternative to Western democracy and hegemony. This week’s update offers insights into the current state of Russian society, the role of the elite, and the Kremlin’s stated moral battle against the West.


We begin with The Washington Post’s comprehensive presentation on the current state of Russian society, detailing the changes since the start of the war, the origins of Putinism, and growing militarism. Novaya Gazeta Europe publishes a brief but striking editorial statement on their view of Putin’s power following his recent inauguration. Russia.Post examines the rise in radical nationalism and how it has been affected by the Ukraine war, policies and official rhetoric, and the Crocus City Hall terrorist attack. Meduza reports on allegedly leaked documents which show that a Russian state agency has been tasked with devising a national surveillance system employing cameras equipped with AI.


We consider the state’s impact on the flow of information with insights from Novaya Gazeta Europe on Wikipedia-alternative ‘Ruwiki,’ that was formed due to concerns over the former’s ‘reliability and neutrality’ and is in ‘proud compliance’ with Russian law. In a different piece, Novaya Gazeta Europe interviews Askold Kurov, co-director of a new documentary on the demise of press freedoms in Russia titled Of Caravan and the Dogs. Russia.Post examines the worsening state of literary censorship. A Russian state TV broadcast ‘investigative film’ about Russians who have been declared ‘foreign agents’ featuring pro-war and pro-Kremlin commentary is summarized in Meduza. The evolution of legislation behind Russia’s ‘undesirable organization’ designations is examined in Novaya Gazeta Europe.


In response to recent leadership shake ups. Novaya Gazeta Europe explores attitudes towards corruption and increasingly public in-fighting among top officials. Foreign Affairs details the current atmosphere amongst elites regarding the war, anti-Western sentiment, and the recent terrorism attack.


Finally we conclude with pieces that probe Putin’s Russia and its drive to challenge Western liberal order through the legitimization of autocracy as a viable alternative to democracy. Meduza elucidates readers on the Kremlin’s use of the phrase ‘The Collective West’. An essay from Desk Russie unpacks the moral delineation between Russia and Europe that is touted by Russian state narratives. The Christian Science Monitor continues interrogation of this topic, citing recent legislation and acknowledging that the West has gone from ‘geopolitical foe’ to ‘the source of destructive moral and cultural contagion’.


The role of the arts and culture in shaping public sentiment amidst the tug-o-war between autocracy and democracy is discussed in Foreign Affairs. In a different piece from Foreign Affairs, Russia’s growing traditionalism reaches beyond borders in an exploration of Putin’s effort to unite the Far Right at home and abroad. A final piece from Foreign Affairs delves into the Russo-Sino relationship, two nations united in their desire to eschew Western international order. Our theme concludes with a piece that offers a Russian outlook on soft power from Russia in Global Affairs, a leading Russia-based think tank.


In the overview, a preeminent expert on the history of the Donbas discusses the region’s complex history and tenuous future. In videos, a vital discussion on where the war goes from here with Russian economist and politician Grigory Yavlinsky and distinguished experts. Find also videos offering a Russian perspective on foreign policy from Russia in Global Affairs Editor-in-Chief Fyodor Lukyanov, as well as a panel on European postwar order. In the arts, a Russian visual artist brings war torn Ukraine to Europe’s most popular landmarks and the rise of Russia’s most popular pro-war pop start Shaman.


Find these stories - and more - in today’s Russia-Ukraine resource update. Be sure to visit our blog for the latest Israel-Hamas War resources, including a recording of the powerful 19th annual joint Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day ceremony organized by Combatants for Peace and the Parents Circle Family Forum.


 




STATEMENT


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