The Kremlin is further restricting the information space in wartime Russia, making it more difficult to openly discuss political issues, reads the Oct. 29 UK Defense Intelligence report on the situation in Russia’s war on Ukraine.
In mid-October 2023, Russia’s Education and Science Ministry reportedly instructed universities to avoid open discussion of any “negative political, economic and social trends” in Russia during academic activities.
In the longer term, this will likely further the trend of Russian policy-making taking place in an echo-chamber of politically acceptable, pro-Kremlin perspectives, the UK Defense Intelligence report reads.
It is highly likely that the Kremlin wishes to further suppress negative perspectives on the “special military operation” in the run up to Russian dictator Vladimir Putin’s anticipated bid for re-election in March 2024, the report goes on.
“Special military operation” is a propaganda euphemism used in Russia to refer to Russia’s war of aggression on Ukraine since February 2022. It is illegal in Russia to term the Kremlin’s full-scale invasion and war against Ukraine as “a war.”
After his last election as president in 2018, Putin said he would not run for president in 2024. However, in June 2022 the Kremlin held a referendum on constitutional amendments, backed by 78.56% of voters, to grant Putin the right to two more six-year terms as president.
Putin also signed a bill on Dec. 22, 2020 giving lifelong immunity from prosecution for former Russian presidents.
Past Russian votes have in the past been frequently criticized by international observers as not being free or fair.
Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine