What impact will the drone attacks on Moscow have?

Moscow’s business district has been apparently subject to drone attacks several times in recent days. According to Mayor Sergey Sobyanin, the same office tower has been hit twice. No one was injured. Although there has been no official statement from Kyiv, the Russian Defence Ministry has blamed Ukraine for the attack. Commentators are divided.

Der Standard (AT) /

Breaking the apathetic silence

The drone attacks are meant to arouse internal Russian resistance, Der Standard believes:

“The right of self-defence that Ukraine must be granted after Russia’s unprovoked attack allows Kiev to attack all buildings of military relevance on Russian territory. ... However avoiding civilian casualties must remain as high a priority as possible. Kiev has managed this surprisingly well so far. The nervousness expressed by many Russians on social media also shows that the bombing of military targets in Moscow is having an enormous effect. It may even result in the emergence of a critical mass in Moscow to resist — which has so far been alarmingly absent.”

Fabian Sommavilla
De Telegraaf (NL) /

Zelensky shouldn’t overplay his hand

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is taking a huge risk, De Telegraaf warns:

“Zelensky must tread carefully and not overplay his hand. The demand for F-16 fighter jets has already caused irritation among some Nato partners. ... It’s understandable that he seeks revenge for all ‘his’ dead and wants to make the Russians, who continue to live happily in Moscow, feel the horrors of war. He also gambles on fostering unrest in Russia and diminishing public support for Putin and his war. From a strategic perspective, instilling fear is justifiable. ... Nonetheless it wouldn’t be surprising if Zelensky has been advised by his close friends to use such attacks judiciously.”

Frank van Vliet
NV (UA) /

They will fight like spiders in a jar

The attacks will fuel doubts within Russian society, political scientist Igor Reiterovich hopes in NV:

“Many are now wondering: What is with the best air defence systems in the world that the Russian authorities, especially in Moscow, pride themselves on having? ... If such incidents continue, more and more questions will be raised. And we know very well how they like to fight each other, like spiders in a jar. ... And then will come the accusations directed at the Ministry of Defence: where have the huge sums of money gone that were supposedly spent on the army and the missile and air defence systems?”

Ihor Reiterovych
Echo (RU) /

A small dose of fear aids Putin

In a Telegram post republished by Echo, exiled oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky fears that Russians will be tempted to back their president:

“On one hand, the war becomes routine, a familiar backdrop. But on the other hand it penetrates deeper into everyday life, sowing fear and uncertainty about the future — does that remind you of something? This is Putin’s preferred strategy leading up to elections (presidential elections are scheduled for 2024): he stirs up a desire for security and protection during challenging times, emphasising the importance of not changing horses (including the ‘proven leaders’) in midstream. However at the same time society must not be overly frightened, so as to avoid massive discontent and questions to the president about how we ended up living like this.”

Mikhail Khodorkovsky
Sergei Medvedev (RU) /

The war is destroying us from within

Exiled political scientist Sergey Medvedev recently received a reminder on Facebook of a post from six years ago when he was still enthusiastic about Moscow. Now he reflects in a new Facebook post:

“I cherished Moscow-City. ... It had potential: that was Russia as it could have been, with all the possibilities to live, work, and prosper. And now, six years later, I watch — not with schadenfreude but with cold curiosity — videos of explosives landing there. ... I feel no remorse for the City, nor for my naive feelings from six years ago, nor for this Russia. And I contemplate how the war not only devastates Ukraine but also annihilates everything within us: memories, joy, beauty, past hopes — leaving only the frigid curiosity of a pathologist.”

Sergej Medwedew