Day 300: Putin Tells Security Services to Root Out 'Traitors and Spies'

    Day 300: Putin Tells Security Services to Root Out 'Traitors and Spies'
    Last updated Dec 20, 2022
    Image credit: Reuters [via Al Jazeera]


    • Speaking on Monday, which also saw the celebration of Russia's Security Services Day across the country, Pres. Vladimir Putin ordered the strengthening of Russia's borders and called on his intelligence agencies to maximize use of their "operational, technical, and personnel potential." This was followed by comments made by Putin on Tuesday, suggesting the organizations should step up measures to root out "traitors, spies and saboteurs."[1]
    • Referring to the regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia — which Russia claimed to have annexed in September despite Western countries arguing that the annexations were illegitimate — Putin described the situation there as "extremely difficult." He also claimed that: "people living there, Russian citizens, hold out hope for you, for your protection."[2]
    • His words came on the second of a three-day trip to Belarus, where Putin is reportedly seeking to shore up alliances with Pres. Alexander Lukashenko. Putin has said of relations with the head of Belarus: "We agreed to continue to take all necessary measures together to ensure the security of our two countries." Additionally, the Kremlin leader said the nations will: "continue the practice of regular joint exercises and other operational and combat training activities."[3]
    • Elsewhere, Russia and China are set to kick off a week of joint naval exercises in the East China Sea on Wednesday. A statement from China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) has said: "This joint exercise is directed at demonstrating the determination and capability of the two sides to jointly respond to maritime security threats."[4]
    • On the ground, Russian attacks continued to be reported in the regions of Donetsk, Dnipropetrovsk, Kharkiv, Kherson, and Sumy. Ukrainian officials said three civilians were killed and five more were injured in Donetsk, while two civilians were killed and three more were injured in Kherson.[5]
    • In Ukrainian attacks, the Russian border region of Belgorod was shelled on Tuesday, reportedly injuring one civilian. A Ukrainian attack also reportedly struck a hospital in the city of Donetsk, though there were no reports of civilian casualties at this stage.[6]


    Anti-Russia narrative

    Putin knows Russia is losing the war and is panicking. The Russian leader is clearly paranoid and believes anyone who wants to promote peace is a spy or traitor. Russian propagandists may argue that the country is operating from a position of strength, but they are shaking in their boots.

    Pro-Russia narrative

    NATO and the US — which have ignored Russia's security concerns by breaking its promise not to expand eastward in return for German reunification — are coordinating to impose their dominance, and Putin, knowing what’s at stake, is taking the lead to make sure his security leaders do too.

    Nerd narrative

    There is a 95% chance that Vladimir Putin will be the president of the Russian Federation by February 1, 2023, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

    Establishment split



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