Around 70 critics of Russian President Vladimir Putin met at a secret summit on Friday in Vilnius, Lithuania. Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis has invited current and former top politicians, business people, human rights activists and journalists from Europe, the USA and Russia.
According to information from FOCUS Online, former Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov and Mikhail Khodorkovsky, head of the Open Russia Foundation, will also take part in the 8th meeting of the “Russia Forum” in Vilnius. At the summit, the invited group will discuss a possible strategy to “deputinize” Russia and “slay the Russian bear,” according to the agenda of the two-day summit.
According to a “Bild” report, the guests present worked out three scenarios for a “deputinized” Russia on Friday.
1. Putin’s generals in the army and secret service oust the Kremlin chief: In this scenario, a more or less war criminal regime would replace Putin’s. However, those present at the summit see even this as a positive development. “Any kind of change is a step forward in the current situation,” the “Bild” quoted a participant as saying.
2. “An uprising from below”: If the Russian population resists Putin en masse, warlike conditions would break out in Russia, the group warns at the secret summit. Poverty, street fighting and a social and political collapse of Russia could result in many regions. Especially at the beginning of the war, protest movements in Russia became loud and many demonstrators were arrested.
3. “Russia will become one big Ukraine”: This would mean that the current regime would end and Russia would orientate itself towards Ukraine with democratic elections. This scenario is considered very unlikely.
The “Vilnius Russia Forum” has been organized since 2013 and is co-organized by the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Center for East European Studies.
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, this year’s forum focused on Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine, measures to end the aggression, as well as the deteriorating situation of civil society and restrictions on media activities in Russia.
With a new war tactic, Putin’s army is increasingly gaining ground in eastern Ukraine. 90 percent of the Luhansk Oblast is said to be under Russian occupation. Retired brigadier general Klaus Wittmann sees an important weakness in the Ukrainian army.
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