Russian ultranationalists think Putin's response to the Moscow drone attacks and border raids shows he's 'out of touch with reality'

  • Russian ultranationalists say Putin's response to recent attacks shows he's "out of touch with reality."

  • One critic questioned if Putin and Russian leadership have a "real plan" to retaliate.

  • The ISW says responses to the drone attacks and cross-border raids haven't satisfied war-hawks.

Recent drone attacks in Moscow and cross-border raids into Belgorod are bringing the Ukraine war home to Russians in disturbing ways. To the ultranationalists Russia allows to criticize the war, it is evidence that Russian leader Vladimir Putin is "out of touch with reality."

Tuesday marked the first drone strike in residential areas of Moscow, and afterwards the Russian government downplayed the attacks, praising the city's air defense systems but remaining relatively silent on retaliation.

Putin himself was notably calm when discussing the incident, reiterating many of the same talking points that Kremlin-backed media had touted.

Since the drone attack, Putin has been increasingly fearful for his life. While he continues to exude a composed demeanor, the Russian president is terrified of being assassinated and refusing to travel abroad.

While those official responses likely signal there's little for Putin to do against Ukraine beyond blasting Ukrainian cities like Kyiv with ballistic missiles and drones, The Institute for the Study of War said, they're unlikely to satisfy Russian ultranationalists and war-hawks who want Russia to escalate its attacks.

Former Russian officer and ultranationalist Igor Girkin said Putin was "out of touch with reality" and criticized "an absence of an honest conversation with" Russian society. In a Telegram message translated on Twitter, Girkin said it seemed as though there was a disconnect between how the Russian government talk about their war efforts and the actual reality of those plans. Girkin is a former Russian intelligence operative who played key roles in efforts to seize territory from Ukraine in 2014 and has become one of the few Russians permitted to criticize the Kremlin over the war.

According to ISW, both Girkin and other ultranationalists also criticized Putin's response to recent border raid attacks in the Belgorod and Kursk oblasts of Russia.

While Russian military bloggers "have complained about the lack of Russian military escalation to secure borders" in those areas, ISW said the official government responses to recent attacks by anti-Kremlin groups have likely been "insufficient to satisfy the Russian ultranationalist information space's desire for escalation in the war."

Read the original article on Business Insider