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  • Writer's pictureMariah Nimmons

Making Sense of Mutiny

A NOTE: Our Russia-Ukraine Resources are updated weekly - if you're accessing the page a week or more 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 - June 28, 2023


A man with a flag of Shtil-Wagner in front of police cars during Yevgeny Prigozhin's military mutiny in Rostov-on-Don on June 24, 2023 (Fargoh, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons)


KEY DEVELOPMENTS

  • Al Jazeera: June 21 // June 22 // June 23 // June 25 // June 26 // June 27 // June 28

  • The Guardian: June 21 // June 22 // June 23 // June 24 // June 25 // June 26 // June 27 // June 28

  • The Insider: Newsfeed

  • Novaya Gazeta Europe: Newsfeed

  • Kyiv Independent: Newsfeed

 

Battle tank under codename "Siberia" used by PMC Wagner in Rostov-on-Don during Wagner's rebellion (Unknown pedestrian, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons)


WHAT'S ON OUR MIND


For months ratcheting tensions between Russian oligarch and Wagner PMC founder Yevgeny Prigozhin and senior Russian military leaders have served as a drum beat for the Russian war effort. Roiling precipitously close to the edge before receding for a time, souring relations were spurred on regularly by brazen criticism from Prigozhin and efforts to diminish the mercenary chief’s position by the Ministry of Defense.


Late last week tensions boiled over and in the early morning hours of Saturday June 24 Wagner forces led by Prigozhin crossed the border from Ukraine into Russia. They seized military headquarters in Rostov-on-Don, securing control of the Southern city before advancing towards Moscow in what the Wagner leader deemed a ‘March for Justice’. The Kremlin chose a less poetic moniker: treason. However, less than 48 hours after it began, the rebellion was over.


In the ensuing days, experts and thought leaders have sought to make sense of these events, with many concluding that this abrupt intra-Russia incident further evidences a fracturing of the strength projected by the Russian state, and as some believe, that of Putin himself. They suggest that these cracks in the facade make way for the emergence of individuals with deep pockets willing to challenge the Russian leader’s position. This may bely a lack of stable leadership in the country and may signal a struggle for political survival lurking in the halls of the Kremlin. Whether these assessments are accurate or not remains to be seen. In today’s collection we examine this perspective, and offer resources on the reverberations emanating from the PMC Wagner mutiny.


One piece featured today offers background on the dynamics of power at play between Putin, Prigozhin, and top ranking military leaders, leading to broader insights into some of the key features of Putin’s approach to the exercise of power. Another assessment of the power-seeking shuffle offers analysis of public calls for anti-war Russians to support Prigozhin’s march made by exiled businessman, opposition activist, and Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky.


A piece which predates the insurrection fortuitously explores the current state of Putin’s regime and the possibility of Russian Civil War, with the Russian author arguing that in a post-Putin Russia there is hope for an ‘exceedingly difficult, but relatively peaceful transition to normalcy’. Conversely, we offer perspectives from Western Russia experts who urge immense caution from NATO and the West when considering the prospect of Russian disintegration.


Further insight is provided through overviews of the mutiny, including an interactive map showing the insurrection’s movements, transcribed translations of both Putin and Prigozhin’s statements, and examinations of Belarusian President Lukashenko’s role in resolving the rebellion. We include the Russian people’s response to the weekend’s events - including those of the elites, the everyday people, and within the digital space - as well as Ukrainian perspectives and Russian state coverage. Beyond the more localized confines of the war we share insight into the ‘headaches’ created by this insurrection for Russia’s closest and most powerful partner, China.


As always, our collection extends beyond this very specific event to include an array of excellent pieces that cover the many diverse aspects of this war at large. Find these stories and more in today’s resource update.

 

ARTICLES OF PARTICULAR INTEREST

Find these stories and more on our Resource Page

  • How to Curb Corruption in Ukraine’s Postwar Reconstruction (Foreign Policy)

  • Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan to Share Data with Moscow on Anti-War Russians, Conscripts (The Moscow Times)

  • Flooding from the Kakhovka dam collapse displaced thousands of Ukrainians. Many are still missing (Meduza)

  • Africa’s Russia, Ukraine peace mission criticised in South Africa (Al Jazeera)

  • My father handed my passport over to the draft board.” How war aggravated generational conflict in Russia (The Insider)

  • Ukraine Blocks Journalists From Front Lines With Escalating Censorship (The Intercept)

  • Rampant Russophobia takes us down a dangerous path (Responsible Statecraft)

  • Lukashenka’s nuclear card (Novaya Gazeta Europe)

  • This Week in Ukraine Ep. 13 – How, and why, Russia kidnaps thousands of Ukrainian children (The Kyiv Independent)

  • Fyodor Lukyanov: Why Russia cannot ‘sober up the West’ by using a nuclear bomb (RT)

 

Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) from the South Korean side (Daniel Oberhaus, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)


OVERVIEW & VIDEOS


In the overview, a comparative look at Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait that reveals growing international fragmentation and disorder. Find also an argument for the ‘Korean Model’ of armistice being the best hope for peace in Ukraine, as well as an examination of how climate change will reshape economic statecraft.

 

ARTS


An early Byzantine icon of the saint martyrs Sergius and Bacchus, the 7th century AD, in the collection of the Khanenko Museum, Kyiv, Ukraine. (An anonymous Byzantine master, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)


In the arts, an exhibition of sacred art from the Bogdan and Varvara Khanenko Museum opens at the Louvre, a new documentary, ‘Rule of Two Walls,’ debuts at at the Tribeca Film Festival telling the story of artists in Ukraine after the start of Russia’s invasion, the return and significance of Kyiv’s Arsenal Book Fair amidst war, how music therapy can help refugees, a renowned Ukrainian American artist and the unusual story of her family, and how the Ukraine House in Denmark creates space for arts, cultural exchange and dialogue.






STATEMENT

Track Two: An Institute for Citizen Diplomacy stands in opposition to the invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces. We have many friends in both countries and we stand with the people of Ukraine and Russia. We deplore their suffering.


Track Two does not believe violent conflict or war are valid means to push political agendas. Today, threats to our existence from nuclear arms, climate catastrophes, diseases and cyberattacks are intensifying, and we do not believe any country should resort to violence. All people, of all nations, have a right to peace, meaningful work, shelter and food. Much collective work must be done to ensure our children and grandchildren can live full lives in a habitable world.


We believe there are humane and diplomatic avenues to coexistence that must be explored to mutual benefit. Let's arrive at these with deliberation so that we can continue work essential to preventing the end of life on this planet.


More than ever, it is incumbent upon all of us to be acutely aware of the disinformation campaigns orbiting the globe, and offer support to those who need it most. To that end, we've compiled a selection of resources from our team and network as we follow this crisis closely.


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