The Kremlin began to hide Putin’s travel routes around Russia

After going into self-isolation during the pandemic, which has intensified since the beginning of the war with Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin is increasingly surrounded by a regime of secrecy.

After Ukrainian drones nearly attacked a residence in Novo-Ogaryovo in May, and Wagner PMC tanks nearly entered Moscow a month later, the Kremlin began to cover up the Russian president’s movements on official trips around Russia.

At a daily briefing on Thursday, the president’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, announced Putin’s trip to one of the Russian regions, but declined to name it. “For obvious reasons, we are not announcing regional tours now, we are not talking about places to visit in advance, we will do it today during the day,” Peskov said.

After about 6 hours, it turned out that Putin flew to Murmansk, and this happened for the first time since 2014. Then he visited the largest city in the world above the Arctic Circle and the main base of Russian strategic submarines on Navy Day. This time, “the details of the program of the head of state’s stay in the Murmansk region are not disclosed,” Interfax wrote after Putin’s plane landed in Murmansk.

Later, the Kremlin press service reported on Putin’s visit to the Center for the Construction of Large Naval Facilities, where the president launched a gas liquefaction line on a gravity platform for the Novatek Arctic LNG-2 project, after which Putin held a meeting on Arctic development at the Murmansk Regional Management Center, where he stated that there were “big problems” with infrastructure and housing.

“The depreciation of communal infrastructure and housing resources, even in large Arctic cities, reaches 70 percent, and in small remote villages and the so-called

Near Murmansk is Gadzhiyevo, the base of the Northern Fleet, where ballistic missile submarines are located, including the newest Yuri Dolgrukiy and Prince Vladimir. It is not known whether Putin visited the base, or why the Kremlin decided to keep the details of the upcoming visit secret.

In the aftermath of Yevgeny Prigozhin’s rebellion in the Kremlin, fears of internal destabilization and a coup d’état have intensified, sources familiar with the situation told The Moscow Times. According to one of them, a former Kremlin official, “everyone is now under suspicion” by the FSB.

Putin is finding it increasingly difficult to fulfill his usual role as a moderator of Russia’s elite, Bloomberg wrote in June, citing Kremlin insiders. Fighting camps have formed, some for an aggressive continuation of the fighting and others for a quick settlement to limit damage to Russia, agency sources said. The Wagner rebellion intensified the split in the elites, which had been maturing for many months because of the setbacks at the front, Bloomberg wrote.


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