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By: Annie Yu

The Russian-Ukrainian war has taken 100,000 lives. Russian citizens don’t know it.

Putin is trying his hand at old 1917 and 1991 tactics, the years of communism. As George Orwell describes it in his famed 1984, he “forget(s) whatever it was necessary to forget” and restores “memory again at the moment when it is needed.” In other words, Putin is lying to the citizens of Russia. He utilizes the past in his speeches instead of the future. Putin never speaks about the future, so you never know just what he’s going to do.

One recent mystery is how Yevgeny V. Prigozhin survived the prisons of Russia. Prigozhin accused the defense minister, Sergei K. Shoigu, of enabling genocide. The answers are mostly speculation: but there is one solid answer that lays in the grave of Boris Batsev, a railroad worker killed near Bakmut. The answer? Putin needed flesh for the war. His forces were often missing essential equipment and sometimes had to go as far as becoming a human wave. Prigozhin could provide those recruitments, the “flesh”, from any Russian prison, even those as far as Siberia. He’d offer them amnesty and big payouts. They’d take the offer, and off they went.

First Sergey V. Lavrov, the foreign mister, then Shoigu, and then Prigozhin- why the swift changes?

Dmitri A. Muratov, Nobel-prize-winner of the newspaper Novaya Gazeta, eplains Putin’s motive. “Putin likes competition, he has liked putting pressure on Shoigu, and enjoyed the theater.” He enjoys watching the “drama” go on, so to speak.

But Prigozhin has been useful in other ways—projecting a fitting image of Russian power across several African countries. He has been the “Russian leader moderate,” and has suggested that without him, everything would become highly unstable. He’s become the tank that affluent Russian elites pour their frustrations into.

Putin only became recently aware of how powerful Prigozhin was. Prigozhin called it a “march for justice”, a phrase that resonated within the Russian public more than a “military coup” or an “armed rebellion.”

Prigozhin isn’t doing much good for Putin’s campaign. He wants to deliver the cold, hard truth. Will he survive in doing so?

The public seems to wish he stays.

“I hope he is not killed before his time,” Aleksander Petrianko, 62, half paralyzed by a stroke says, in a referral to Prigozhin.

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