High-Profile Russians Turn Against Putin As Carnage In Ukraine Mounts

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Russian President Vladimir Putin doesn’t have the unified support of members of the Russian population amid his war against Ukraine. “More high-profile Russians are speaking out against the war in Ukraine, leading to government officials quitting their jobs amid growing discontent among the population,” the i — a British publication — reported this week. 

Examples include Boris Bondarev, a Russian diplomat working in Geneva who recently resigned and said, in part: “For twenty years of my diplomatic career I have seen different turns of our foreign policy, but never have I been so ashamed of my country as on February 24 of this year.” That date is when Putin launched the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, creating the war. “Today, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is not about diplomacy,” Bondarev added. “It is all about warmongering, lies and hatred.” In a potential recent example of another prominent Russian showing some sense as this chaotic situation continues to unfold, ret. Col. Mikhail Khodaryonok said on Russian government television that the “situation, frankly speaking, will get worse for us” — although in a follow-up appearance, he later went back on this stance.

There are other examples, however. Anatoly Chubais, a high-ranking, longtime Russian official and close ally to Putin, reportedly quit and left Russia over the war in Ukraine, although he hasn’t publicly commented about the situation. Lilia Gildeyeva and Zhanna Agalakova, longtime journalists working for Russian media, quit in connection to the war. “We have come to a point when on TV, on the news, we’re seeing the story of only one person – or the group of people around him… All we see are those in power. In our news, we don’t have the country. In our news, we don’t have Russia,” Agalakova said in March. She’d worked as a Paris correspondent for Channel One Russia. “During these past years, our government tried to strangle independent media,” Agalakova also observed, adding: “I left Channel One precisely because the war started… When I spoke to my bosses, I said I cannot do this work any more.” Vadim Glusker — who worked at NTV alongside Gildeyeva — also quit.

There are also figures in the worlds of art and culture who’ve spoken out, such as rappers Noize MC and Oxxxymiron, singer Sergey Lazarev, and rocker Yuri Shevchuk, who’s a part of the long-running band DDT — and recently joined the thousands charged for the so-called discrediting of Russia’s military forces. “And now people of Ukraine are being murdered. For what? Our boys are dying over there. For what? What are the goals, my friends?” Shevchuk said at a recent concert. He also said people were dying because of “some Napoleonic plans of another Caesar of ours,” adding: “The motherland, my friends, is not the president’s ass that has to be slobbered and kissed all the time.” Alongside all of these reports, information also recently emerged about Russian soldiers refusing to go along with the fight. So far, Ukraine claims to have killed over 29,000 Russian troops across over three months of war.