Mag. Matthias Penkin – Current situation in Russia and prospects for change


In this episode, we welcome German-Russian political scientist Mag. Matthias Penkin, who analyzes the situation of ordinary people in Russia. He himself took part in protests against Putin and the war several times and has since left the country for professional, but also personal reasons.

The risk of speaking out against the war in Russia is real, Penkin said. Repression by state organs has increased dramatically. The hacks of various Russian media sites are a positive sign of resistance, he said, but these actions are perceived only by those Russians who have an affinity for new media. Nevertheless, Penkin considers such hacks more effective than demonstrations in the streets – especially since the state’s capabilities of catching online protesters is also lower.

Putin’s speech on May 9th brought little news. General mobilization is not off the table, but it would massively damage people’s trust in Putin. His decision to launch the “special operation” was probably based on false information from his intelligence services, which were afraid to confront him with the truth. Many senior intelligence service officials have since been ousted. For Penkin, Putin’s use of the Nazi comparison for Ukraine is a betrayal of Russian history, undermining Russia’s great achievements in World War 2.

How the population feels about Putin, which personalities behind the wall of the Kremlin could drive Putin from power, whether sanctions will help end the war or primarily hurt the ordinary Russian citizen, and why it is important to maintain contact with the civil society in Russia are other topics of this terrific interview.


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Current situation in Russia-YOUTUBE Wolfgang Müller CC BY SA 4.0