Russia | 06/20/2022

Russia 2022 June


June marked the 100th day of Russia’s war against Ukraine. In more than three months Russia has failed to gain a foothold near Kyiv, but it has succeeded in occupying the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions. By the end of June Russia was able to build on this success and seize Lysychansk and Severodonetsk. Since the start of the war against Ukraine, the Russian army has lost around 34,850 soldiers, the Ukrainian Armed Forces’ General Staff has said.

Updates in the National Landscape

In the first hundred days of the war against Ukraine, Russia received $93 billion in revenue from fossil energy exports, according to a report by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA). The revenues Russia receives mainly from the sale of crude oil (46 billion euros), almost half as much from pipeline gas exports (24 billion euros) and the rest from the sale of oil products (13 billion), liquefied natural gas (5.1 billion) and, finally, coal (4.8 billion). According to the study, the EU remains the largest buyer of Russian gas and oil, accounting for 61 per cent of Russia’s fossil fuel exports between February 24 and June 3, or €57 billion.

The super profits of the Russian budget do not affect the standard of living of ordinary citizens. Even according to official statistics: the richer the treasury and the higher the export revenues, the poorer the population. Russian export revenues have increased by 1.5 times, the budget surplus has grown almost six times, the number of poor people has increased by 1 million and the income continues to fall, at an accelerated rate. Data on trade and tax payments show that the speed of the fall in real income is measured in tens of per cent, according to Independent Newspaper.

Despite Russian President Vladimir Putin becoming the most unpopular leader in the world, according to a Pew Research study, his rating in Russia remains stable at 80%.

On 17 June Putin spoke at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum, where he made some important statements about the war and the current world situation. According to him, the economy is now in a difficult state throughout. All the world’s problems – today’s price rises, inflation, problems with food and fuel, petrol, in the energy sector in general – are the result of systemic mistakes by the US administration and the EU bureaucracy, Putin believes. According to him, the Russian special operation has become a “lifeline” for the West to shift all the problems on Moscow.

Putin stressed that the anti-Russian sanctions imposed by Western countries because of Russia’s special operation to protect Donbas were insane and thoughtless. Their sole purpose is to swoop in and crush the Russian economy, but it has not succeeded. An economic blitzkrieg against Russia had no chance of success from the outset, Putin added.

According to him, the era of the unipolar world order is over. Meanwhile, the European Union (EU), according to Putin, has finally lost its political sovereignty, “and its bureaucratic elites are dancing to someone else’s tune, accepting everything they are told from above, harming their own population and their own economy, their own business.” In his view, the current situation in Europe will lead to a surge in populism and radicalism.

Transnational Activities & Group Interactions

Far-right groups in Russia have not been particularly active, limiting themselves to symbolic actions. Those who supported the war in Ukraine switched to humanitarian aid for the population of Donbas, such as far-right politician Roman Yuneman and his Society. Future. According to the report, the organisation sent more than 13 million roubles (€215,000) in humanitarian aid in June. This is primarily food, medicine, clothing, footwear, hygiene products and children’s goods. Dmitri Bastrakov’s far-right book publisher Black Hundred launched a similar project, Tyl-22, which raised more than 13 million rubles (215,000 euros).

Opposition nationalist organisations did not take radical steps against the war and Putin, limiting themselves to the usual fratricidal war rhetoric. One of the leaders of the Nationalist Movement, Sofia Budnikova, wrote: “The ‘military operation’ in Ukraine will have the following outcome: the extinction of Russians in the Russian Federation will accelerate, Ukraine will never again be a second home for Russians, and the very idea of Russian nationalism will be left in ruins. Besides standard anti-war arguments, the active members of the DN regularly write that this war will have grave consequences for the nationalists in the Russian Federation because the invasion started exactly under the slogan of fighting the nationalists.

The Nationalist Movement held an online conference on 20 June on the “Preservation and development of European nationalism in an era of global conflict between international alliances”.

The Russo-Slavic Association and Renaissance (RUSOV) published several photos from Poland in its social media groups, accompanying them with captions: “Support for the Russian brothers from a Polish associate of the International RUSOV Movement. Poland, Jasinowka village, Podlaskie Voivodeship. Glory to the brave Polish sons fighting for the freedom of Poland from western occupation and for a fraternal alliance with Russia, Serbia and other Slavic countries! The Slavic Sun is rising!”

Also on June 11th in Warsaw companions of the International Movement “RUSOV” from the Polish organization “Zadruzni Krag” visited the Soviet warrior’s cemetery “in protest against the Russophobic policy of the Polish government and in solidarity with brotherly Russian people, where they lit candles and paid tribute to the Russian soldiers who died fighting for the liberation of Poland from fascism, and went to the grave of Polish hero Roman Dmowski, who was a supporter of Russian-Polish friendship, to honour his memory”.

At the end of June, the Russian Conservative movement published a video addressing the Serbian people on the bank holidays of St Vitus or Vidovdan.

Transnational Developments on Discourse in Mainstream Media

Several dozen Poles are fighting on Russia’s side in Ukraine as part of the neo-Nazi Rusich unit, the Polish publication OKO wrote, citing an interview with Arwid Pływaczewski, a former police officer and now a pro-Russian activist of the nationalist, paramilitary organisation Zadrużny Krąg – Slavic Division and Rusov Poland. This is the first evidence of Polish involvement in Rusich.

“The Rusich battalion has volunteers from various countries who want to fight for the interests of the Slavic region and also fight against Nazi and Bandera ideology,” Arvid Pliwaczewski said in an interview.

According to Plivaczewski, the unit has about a thousand mercenaries, paid by Russia, and a commander is a man nicknamed “Slavyan”. This is Jan “Great Slav” Petrovsky.

The conversation with him was recorded and published on Facebook on 5 June by Krzysztof Tołwiński, former Deputy Marshal of the Podlaskie Voivodeship from the Polish People’s Party, then an MP of the ruling Law and Justice party.

The tone of the interview was clearly pro-Russian – when Pliwaczewski spoke about Polish mercenaries fighting on the Russian side, Tołwiński called their actions “fighting on the right side”, stressed their courage and claimed that “Poles are not interested in war with Moscow”. Plivaczewski added: “Many Poles respect Russians, many Russians respect Poles, they want friendship, I think this is the direction to follow.”

Also the major Russian opposition media outlet Meduza published a text on the history of neo-Nazism in Europe for its newsletter Signal.

Russian right-wing media outlet Readovka published a story about soccer hooligans who created a unit ready to engage in a battle in Ukraine. Stanislav Orlov (call sign “Spaniard”), commander of the “Skull and Bones” militia of the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Russian military humanitarian association Española, leads such a unit. In the fan community, he is known as a member of CSKA’s oldest fan group, the Red-Blue Warriors. Many Russian football fans (of which there are indeed many) are involved in the Russian special operations in the Donbas under his leadership.

Transnational Social Media Activity & Propaganda/Narratives

As the Sova analytical centre notes, by late spring and early summer, the topic of the war in Ukraine began to fade away on all far-right resources, and posts dedicated to the war began to be gradually replaced by traditional content, including anti-migrant content.

Also, far-right Russian channels have reacted very strongly to the law abolishing abortion rights in the US.

The most famous neo-Nazi unit Rusich which took part in the ongoing war created its official Telegram channel.