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Vladimir Putin appears to have had quite an awakening following his imperialistic decision to declare war on Ukraine. Over 100 days into his ill-advised invasion, his opponents have waged an admirable opposition. And behind the Russian military scenes, his troops have expressed displeasure before threatening to kill their general. Further conflict on the Putin side of things saw him fire secret agents and military leaders by the dozens, and a palpable air of setback can be witnessed through the news that one of his top commanders, (who was fearsomely known as “The Executioner”) found himself whacked by a sniper in what’s turning out to be a very dismal war.
Amid thousands of civilian deaths in Ukraine, this conflict is overall a very bad look, so news that Putin’s inner circle is maneuvering to install his successor only seems natural. With ongoing rumors of health woes and assassination attempts, Putin may have seen some writing on the wall. Or things are terrible at home for other reasons. Whatever the cause, Vlad the Bad has curiously (and without explanation) decided to cancel a long-running tradition within his waxing and waning leadership:
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s annual telephone marathon, Direct Line, will not be held this June for the first time in almost two decades.
It is the first time that the program, which see ordinary citizens speak directly to the Russian leader about their daily problems, has been delayed since 2004. In a statement, Kremlin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov reassured reporters that the event would take place at a later date.
In (possibly) related news, Business Insider reports that Russia’s economy has been set back to an astounding degree by Putin’s decision to invade the country helmed by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. That news initially hails from the Institute of International Finance, which points toward a 15-year devolution in economic growth due to global firms turning its back on Russia while countries around the globe say goodbye to its energy resources. The institute believes that the Russian economy would shrink by 18% before 2023 is said and done, and all the while, the spirit of the Ukrainian people has proven much harder to conquer than initially believed.