LONDON – Divisions appear to be forming between Russian President Vladimir Putin and members of the oligarchs who made billions of dollars while showing loyalty to an authoritarian leader but now see their fortunes threatened by Western sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine.
According to Western experts and officials, the cracks are faint and suggestive of no wave of oligarchy opposition to Putin. But expressions of worry weeks ago seemed out of the question again and again in recent days.
after earlier Share on social media Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska called for peace talks “as soon as possible” and on Sunday followed him up with a hidden bullet in Putin’s management of the economy, issuing a statement in which he said: “It is necessary to change economic policy, it is necessary to put an end to all this state capitalism.”
The second oligarch, Mikhail Friedman, He said in a message To subordinates that the Ukraine crisis “will cost lives and destroy two nations that have been brothers for hundreds of years,” according to Reuters, which said it had seen parts of the letter.
Even the daughter of Putin’s main spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, expressed her opposition to the invasion by posting a black box on her Instagram account with the caption, “No to war!” It was a clear message of solidarity with protesters in Russia, even as her father defended the arrests of thousands who took part in rallies he said were “not permitted by law”.
Sanctions experts and former US officials said that while signs of dissent remain tepid, they represent more tangible tension in relations between Putin and his loyalist elites than has been observed in years.
“The regime’s division is palpable,” said Daniel Fried, the former State Department official who helped lead the sanctions response to past Russian military incursions into Ukraine.
He described the flood of letters as the most important expression of opposition from Russian elites “since the Soviet era.”
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