Only a few people know the exact location President Vladimir Putin celebrating my 70th birthday in St.Petersburg on Friday, but critics say he is spending more and more time isolated deep inside the nuclear bunker.
The Kremlin has announced that Putin will spend his birthday at work. Mired, like him, in the is the greatest self-made disaster of his predecessory, that just raises more unsettling questions about the kind of orders he’ll take on his big day. Backed in a corner, what is Putin considering next?
Those who have known Putin for many years claim that the Russian leader is “Anxiety” and “stress” these days; online political group speculation on Telegram that Putin is planning to “use tactical nuclear weapons out of bunkers, away from Moscow,” while Kremlin researchers debated how to prevent an approaching apocalypse.
Putin himself has said that he will respond to the daily grim news from Ukraine – where his troops are suffering defeat after defeat – with “all means at our disposal”. It was “not a hoax,” he added.
In an alarmingly symbolic gesture, he promoted one of his closest and most notorious allies on Wednesday, the leader of the Chechen republic, Ramzan Kadyrov, who is now the a general. His elevation comes just days after Kadyrov called for more drastic escalation in Ukraine, including the declaration of martial law in Russia’s border regions and the “productive use of nuclear weapons”. short”.
The Russians are increasingly worried about the state of their leader.
In his most recent public appearance, Putin’s eyes looked foggy. He spoke to a group of teachers from a small office on Zoom. The idea was to celebrate “Teachers’ Day” on Wednesday — but Putin couldn’t resist praising the so-called “New Nazis” in Ukraine.
“That part looks really crazy,” school student Vitaly Shatrov, 17, from St.Petersburg, told The Daily Beast. “Putin, who has been compared by many to Hitler for his violence against the Ukrainians, talks to teachers from a certain bunker about Nazi Germany.”
Shatrov is so concerned about nuclear escalation that he is clinging to the idea of peace talks proposed by Pope Francis and Tesla boss Elon Musk, who have been mocked for suggesting Ukraine accepts effectively fail. “I fear a nuclear war. There is no politician in the world who can calm Putin. Instead, people mocked him, threatened him, so he became even crazier in the upside-down world he created.”
It is clear that Putin has many bunker options to retreat to. One of his favorite hiding places is in the Altai mountains. Any taxi driver in the remote part of Ongudaysky near the border with Mongolia will show you the way to “Putin’s bunker” or Altayskoye Podvorye. During the pandemic, residents told The Daily Beast the president’s helicopter was regularly seen in the air over the mountains. Locals talk of a giant underground bunker where all members of Putin’s family, Gazprom and Kremlin staff, can hide from radiation in the event of a nuclear attack – but the same Like much of the presidential security apparatus, that has never been officially confirmed.
Another famous hideaway nearly 1,000 miles from Moscow is in the republic of Bashkortostan, in the mountains south of the Ural. Construction of this huge network of bunkers began under Boris Yeltsin, but the project was frozen after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Western spies claim that the huge underground complex can hold between 100,000 and 300,000 people; others suggested it was a nuclear command post or a secret weapons depot.
Putin’s whereabouts are often a hot topic in Russia. When he holds his meetings on Zoom, it’s hard to know where he is, but during the pandemic, it’s evident that he has at least two identical offices, one in Moscow and the other in his abode on the Black Sea, in the city of Sochi.
Gennady Gudkov, a former Russian congressman in exile, told The Daily Beast that the president was taking precautions as the war in Ukraine spiraled out of control.
“Putin will hide in bunkers in the event of a nuclear war,” he said. “But he’s not safe there either; he will be destroyed – that’s what Biden should make clear to Putin now. “
Putin’s allies say the president’s nuclear threats are being over-explained outside the country, but they blame the West for that. “Russia will only strike in response to an attack. Pro-Putin political analyst Yuriy Krupnov told The Daily Beast.
Ordinary Russians – even among the elite – know that they will not be protected if a real nuclear conflict breaks out, he said. “Of course, no bunker will help Moscow. Maybe it’s just that the leadership has the right shelters.”
Veteran human rights defender Valentina Melnikova, who has helped Russian families avoid military service, said she does not believe the world is safe from nuclear war. “I am sure that our generals have the ability to bomb Kyiv and Washington with torpedoes and nuclear bombs. I say that because I know the Russian military well – they will obey any orders from Putin and nothing can prevent this disaster at this point.”
Many Russians are starting to think the impossible.
Perceptions have changed a lot in the past two decades. In the early days of Putin’s rule, few Russians would have believed that a female journalist like Anna Politkovskaya could be assassinated in the heart of Moscow. And it happened – on Putin’s birthday – in 2006.
People’s understanding of what Putin can do is changing faster and faster.
A year ago, most of the public did not believe that the Kremlin would launch an all-out attack on a neighboring country, such as Ukraine. Even then, they’re sure there won’t be a mass movement — but, again, it’s happening, right now.
Russians have always feared nuclear war but most of them never imagined that their homeland would start a nuclear war.
Now, they are not so sure.