Vladimir Putin's decision to mobilize some 300,000 soldiers in the reserve fell yesterday like a bomb in Russia, causing protest demonstrations in the main capitals and also the escape of some lucky people who were able to catch a flight to leave the country. It was the definitive confirmation that the invasion of Ukraine is a failure and that Putin had no choice but to take off his mask and publicly acknowledge that he needs more troops to counter the Ukrainian offensive. As our correspondent Gonzalo Aragonés explains, Russian public opinion was able to verify yesterday that what is happening in Ukraine is something more than a "special military operation" as defined by the media to try to disfigure what is actually a war.
For days now, many Russian citizens were losing their fear of the regime. From public officials who supported manifestos against Putin to rock and pop stars who denounced the lies about what was happening in the neighboring country. Putin's problem is that, despite all the ironclad official censorship, it is very difficult to control what runs through social networks and that, in the hands of younger generations, they have access to everything that happens in the West. In this sense, the video released by the dissident Alexei Navalni in which an opulent palace allegedly owned by Putin was seen did a lot of damage to the Russian leader's reputation, so much so that he had to go out and deny that it was his. The first demonstrations called yesterday were violently repressed by the police and it seems difficult to think that Russia could experience a color revolution like those experienced by Georgia, Belarus, Kazakhstan or Ukraine itself. But also much of the published opinion believed seven months ago that Russia could easily invade Ukraine and that Putin was untouchable.
His reaction yesterday by appealing, again, to the nuclear threat could be bravado, but be careful what the Russian president could end up doing if he feels cornered. Nothing is written about what may happen in Russia in the coming days and the consequences that all this may have for the end of the war.