Russian President Vladimir Putin is facing the domestic zero hour, which has likely been exacerbated by Moscow’s ongoing war in Ukraine, a political adviser on post-Soviet and international politics told Newsweek.
Putin, who is seeking another term in the March election, faces backlash over power outages that have plagued Russia in recent months, often resulting in a life-threatening lack of heating.
“Putin is facing another grave crisis due to the ongoing heating disaster” that was pushing Russia toward “the breaking point,” political adviser Jason Jay Smart told Newsweek.
“There have been estimates that perhaps thousands of Russian civilians have frozen to death,” Smart said. “Incredibly, the genesis of this crisis, as a UK [Ministry of Defense (MoD)] report said today, is that the Kremlin has been pushing regional governors in Russia to make infrastructure cuts, since early 2022, to help finance the war in Ukraine.”
“This is another sign that Russia is becoming increasingly unstable and nearing the breaking point,” he added.
Outages had left approximately 25 percent of Moscow residents without heat in brutal winter weather as of earlier this month, while a 60-year-old Russian Navy officer reportedly froze to death in his home near St. Petersburg after losing power on January 3.