Seven months after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin’s mobilization order has sent shockwaves through a society that had previously still been able to ignore the fighting.
“If you were in Moscow this past summer, you wouldn’t know that Russia was fighting a costly, bloody and totally unnecessary war in Ukraine,” Russian-American journalist and author Julia Ioffe tells New Lines’ Amie Ferris-Rotman. “It was easy for Russians to push it off to the edge of their minds, but now it has come home to them.”
As security forces battle protests across Russia, about 700,000 Russians are estimated to have fled the country. Traffic jams at border checkpoints, Ioffe explains, have been visible from space. “When they’re asked to actively participate in the war and asked to go into the trenches themselves, they don’t want to take part in it.”
“How long will it take to rebuild a new Moscow, a new Russia, after this one collapses?”
For Ioffe, watching Russia’s civil society implode since the invasion has been particularly painful because of her ties to the country — and to Moscow especially. “It was my favorite city in the world,” she says. But now, its once-vibrant society has been driven into exile by the regime. “How long will it take to rebuild a new Moscow, a new Russia, after this one collapses?”
But, she adds, it’s nothing compared with what was done to Mariupol and other cities across Ukraine.
Produced by Joshua Martin