Enforced unity in Russia
One aim of the tough sanctions against Russia is also to strengthen domestic opposition to President Putin and sow division in his inner circle. The press asks to what extent this has succeeded.
Putin's inner circle solid as a rock
Russia's political elite has closed ranks around the president, observes Phileleftheros:
“Even those who had reservations don't dare to express them openly. The resulting consensus within the Russian leadership strengthens Putin by quashing any hope that he can be overthrown by those around him. The Russian president has built a strong wall of support around himself, based on a combination of fear, servility and self-interest. No one in the Russian elite is willing to risk his head, his position or his wealth and turn against Putin. If there was ever a faint doubt about this, it has now disappeared. Political change in Russia will not come from Putin's inner circle.”
No room for deviation
Tygodnik Powszechny is alarmed by the increasing suppression of all opposition in Russia:
“In peacetime, news like the conviction of Alexei Navalny in yet another rigged trial, or the rejection of Memorial's appeal to postpone the organisation's dissolution would have been the most important news of the day. The war has covered up and muted them, but it has not deprived them of their meaning and importance. ... All expressions of social discontent, especially those about the invasion of Ukraine, are being prosecuted. The first criminal proceedings based on the paragraph on the dissemination of 'false information about the activities of the Russian army' have already been opened.”