More and more I’ve seen evidence of Russian women stepping into power as Putin loses his grip.
Women in Russia make up a rising proportion of those being detained in protests against President Vladimir Putin’s mobilisation for the war in Ukraine, data show, as many Russian men fear being sent to the frontlines if they demonstrate.
That helps explains the decades of Putin undermining women, as if he knew his abject cruelty would never last if more women had a say. His completely botched invasion of Ukraine, impossible to cover up, has highlighted the problem.
The following story is a perfect example.
The BBC tries to report with a straight face that a hardy young Russian man has gone “off-grid” during winter to save himself from serving in Putin’s suicide squads.
Someone literally titled this “Ukraine war: Hiding from Putin’s call-up by living off-grid in a freezing forest”
“Leaving would have been a difficult step out of my comfort zone,” Kalinin, who is in his thirties, told the BBC. “It isn’t exactly comfortable here either but nevertheless, psychologically, it would be really hard to leave.” And so he took the unusual step of saying goodbye to his wife and heading for the forest, where he has lived in a tent for nearly four months. He uses an antenna tied to a tree for internet access and solar panels for energy.
Man, that sounds sort of rough, although not really off the grid… and then you get to the giant buried BBC lede.
He has endured temperatures as low as -11C (12F) and exists on food supplies brought to him regularly by his wife.
Giant record scratch.
You’re telling me a Russian guy focused on staying comfortable is hanging out in a forest tent with Internet while his wife preps meals for him?
That? That is “hiding” and “off grid”? If I read that again it almost sounds like he is complaining about his wife’s cooking. “Hey, how about some more fruit?!”
Dear BBC that is called a remote man cave, garden, or even a basement and pretty much the opposite of getting off-grid.
He could be sitting in his backyard for this story, a really really big backyard. We can’t be sure. But he’s clearly still very connected while being barely hidden.
I won’t get into the obvious security issues here as much as stick to the main point: his primary line of defense against authority is to have his wife open the front door while he sits outside a back one.
That inversion of Russia says a lot, especially with a dictatorship that has been furiously trying for decades to block women from having any authority at all.
The story title really should have credited her more, and the bulk of the story should have been about her rise into prominence and power.