'We have nothing to drive': More Russians openly question war in Ukraine as sanctions hit their economy

'We have nothing to drive': More Russians openly question war in Ukraine as sanctions hit their economy
Cristina Fernández and Vladimir Putin in Argentina.

On Wednesday, CNN reported that discontent is growing in Russia as citizens increasingly question the Ukraine invasion, and as the sanctions against Russia to end the war continue to take a heavy toll on the country's economy.

"This year, the feeling of melancholy is increased by the sight of shuttered shops on many of the capital’s streets, as businesses face the economic fall-out from massive Western sanctions in response to the war in Ukraine, which Russian officials still call the 'special military operation,'" reported Frederick Pleitgen. "'The mood in Moscow and the country is now extremely gloomy, quiet, intimidated, and hopeless,' said 34-year-old Lisa, who declined to give her last name and said she was a film producer. 'The planning horizon is as low as ever. People have no idea what might happen tomorrow or in a year.'"

According to the report, supermarkets in Russia are still reasonably well stocked, but Western products in particular are vanishing.

The lack of Western technology is having more effects, however: "The country’s industrial firms are facing major problems replacing Western technology, leading the automobile company AvtoVAZ – manufacturer of the Lada vehicle brand – to first halt production earlier this year and then move to producing some vehicles without basic electronic features like air bags and anti-lock braking systems."

Yevgeny Popov, a Russian Parliament member and state media mouthpiece, recently demanded of a Russian general on the state program "60 Minutes," “What will we drive, we have nothing to drive. Are we going to drive railcars?”

Sergey Javoronkov, a senior researcher at the Gaidar Institute for Economic Policy, tells CNN that "both the economic price and the dissatisfaction with the task not being solved" has contributed to criticism of the war.

“We were supposed to win. Officials promised to capture Kyiv in three days but, as we see, it turned out to be foolish," Javoronkov told CNN.

All of this comes as Russian officials are frantically trying to tamp down fears that Ukraine, which recently drove back Russian forces in the eastern regions and reclaimed much of the territory seized early in the operation, could move into Crimea — held by Russia since the annexation in 2014 — and liberate territory there as well.

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