Even for an autocrat like Russian President Vladimir Putin, waging war depends on the acceptance—if not the support—of his people. Despite the disastrous start to his invasion of Ukraine, and with Moscow facing battlefield losses and mounting casualties, Russian approval of the war remains remarkably high.
Maria Lipman, a Russian journalist and political scientist who fled her country when the war began, explains why Russian support for the war remains so strong—and what Putin is doing to keep it that way. He “has used the war to clamp down on Russian society, to pull elites even closer to him, and to shore up his domestic position,” Lipman writes in a January essay with Michael Kimmage.
We discuss the strength of Putin’s regime, how the war in Ukraine has shaped Putin’s relationship with the Russian people, and what outcomes of the war the Russian public would possibly accept.
You can find transcripts and more episodes of The Foreign Affairs Interview at https://www.foreignaffairs.com/podcasts/foreign-affairs-interview.