‘Putin always chooses escalation’

‘Putin always chooses escalation’

Moscow Times reports:

A clear indication the Kremlin is preparing for a protracted war is the draft budget for 2023-2025. This shows that spending on the Russian army this year will amount to almost 5 trillion rubles ($86.2 billion), not the 3.5 trillion originally planned. In subsequent years spending will also exceed forecasts. At the same time, the Kremlin is increasing expenditures on the police, apparently fearing opposition protests.

“We are transitioning into a wartime economy. Everything related to development — infrastructure, education, health — is taking a back seat,” explained a source in the Finance Ministry. He said there is no point in looking at budget figures for 2024-2025, because the situation is evolving so rapidly at the moment.

“By now, everyone is on edge, and it is clear the war will not end soon,” said the source, who regularly attends meetings in the Kremlin.

“Putin always chooses escalation. And he will continue to choose escalation at any unpleasant juncture, up to and including nuclear weapons,” predicted another source close to the Kremlin who has worked with Putin for many years.

Despite awareness of the impending catastrophe, nobody in Russia’s elite has tried to persuade Putin to stop the war for a long time. Whereas in the early months, figures like Alexei Kudrin, head of the Audit Chamber, tried to explain to Putin the consequences of his decisions, this is not happening today. According to our sources, Putin still repeats the mantra about Russia being surrounded by enemies and the machinations of NATO. Talking to him is pointless. [Continue reading…]

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