American intel officials are pretty sure Russian dictator Vladimir Putin wouldn’t give a shit if public opinion shifted against his murderous assault on Ukraine, CNN reports. The question is largely academic at this point since a large swath of the population remains sold on the propaganda and bullshit that the war is a just and patriotic defense of Russia – even as Western sanctions crush an already moribund economy and men face possible forced conscription into the army.
American intel “has very little accurate insight post-invasion,” one source told CNN. “The assumption right now is Putin has effectively isolated his people from information and repercussions regarding the conflict. How long he can do that is unknown.” One of the only possible red lines officials quoted by CNN identified was a mass mobilization order drafting all males into military service, which is why they said it appears unlikely Vlad would go all the way with it and risk a popular uprising against his rule. Euro policy think tank egghead Natalia Savelyeva says “We can only guess,” what the reaction to such a move would look like inside Russia given Putin’s support, but “that’s a very different thing when you just observe the war on TV and support it, and when your child or yourself have to go and fight,” she cautioned.