The withdrawal of Russian troops from Kherson is igniting ideological fracture between Vladimir Putin and the supporters of the invasion of Ukraine, reports the US-based Institute for the Study of War (ISW). As it adds, pro-Kremlin ideologue Aleksandr Dugin has openly criticised Putin.
In its latest analysis, published on Saturday evening, the ISW assesses that this fraction undermines confidence “in Putin’s commitment to and ability to deliver on his war promises”. According to the think tank, the strongly ideologised supporters of the war belonging to Putin’s electorate are increasingly dissatisfied because the Kremlin is incapable of fulfilling the maximalist goals of invasion – seizing all of Ukraine and overthrowing its authorities.
The institute cites the arguments of Dugin, who on 12 November criticised Putin for his inability to uphold a Russian ideology that presupposes, according to the columnist, the defence of ‘Russian cities’, which he considers to include Kherson, Donetsk and Simferopol.
“Direct criticism of Putin within pro-war community is almost unprecedented,” the analysts estimate.
“Putin needs to retain the support of this community and has likely ordered some of his propagandists to suppress any critiques of the Russian withdrawal from Kherson since many state TV news programs have been omitting or downplaying the aftermath of the withdrawal,” ISW speculates.
The US-based centre points out that Russian authorities, including the occupation authorities in Ukraine, have spoken of further ongoing deportations of Ukrainian children. Russian Presidential Commissioner for Children’s Rights Maria Lvova-Belova on 12 November made public the illegal abduction of 52 medically fragile Ukrainian children from the Kherson region to an unspecified ‘safe’ place in Russia, reports the think tank.
Occupation authorities in Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhya region have in recent weeks spoken of the planned forcible transfer to Russia of more than 40,000 children from the Kherson Oblast. This is a possible violation of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, the US think tank stresses.