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A Russian journalist has information that Moscow is actively trying to recruit people to administer territory it has taken in Ukraine.
And it is not just looking for anyone. It is begging military pensioners to return for the task.
“It looks like they don’t have enough resources to manage those occupied territories. And that is why they are looking, trying to hire pensioners who are 60 years old. And it looks like they are having problems,” Roman Anin tells Fox News.
Anin is editor of “Important Stories” or “IStories,” part of Russia’s bold and mostly now-exiled independent media world.
He claims potential recruits are being offered salaries that are twice the national average, around $500 a month.
“Since they are having problems in these territories,” Anin says, “in terms of managing people, organizing those referendums, they need people with military experience to work in what is actually a civil job.”
“Istories” was declared an “undesirable organization” by the Russian government, which means those who collaborate with the outfit can be fined or jailed. The outlet puts a warning label on its stories cautioning that reposting stories could be a criminal offense.
“Imagine a journalist who comes to his audience and says, ‘Please don’t repost us. Please don’t spread the information.’ But read and think is what we have to tell our readers,” said Anin, whose team, like most other independent journalists in Russia, had to leave after the war began.
Anin already had a case pending against him for some of his investigative work. He said there are essentially three options.
“Stay in Russia and go to jail. Stay in Russia and stop working. And option three is to immigrate and continue your work,” Amin explained. “We decided all three options are bad. But we thought, ‘You know, we can’t be silent in these times.'”
Russians who speak out are not safe at home, he says, but not welcome in other countries often either.
“Having a Russian passport is a big challenge,” Anin says. “In other parts of the world, sanctions don’t distinguish between journalists and propagandists.”
We see that police are so quick to arrest anyone who utters even a whisper of dissent — even those who go out with a blank placard or simply say “Nyet.”
Anin was asked why he believes Russian President Putin is so paranoid.
“I think the main reason is because of Putin’s background. People from the secret services — the KGB — this is their modus operandi. This is something hardwired in their brains,” Amin said. “They don’t trust anybody. They don’t believe anybody can have their own beliefs.”
Anin says Putin and company believe those who are not in ideological lockstep with the Kremlin are controlled by the CIA or the U.S. State Department.
“The other reason (for paranoia) is they’re getting older,” he added. “They have been in power more than twenty years. You are losing your sense of reality when you are constantly surrounded by an army of bodyguards and you constantly live in a bunker.”
“You know, I think this is a war of the young against the Soviets,” Anin, born in the dying days of the USSR, added. “The average age of Ukrainian politicians is about 40. The average age of Russian politicians is 67.”
Anin wouldn’t speculate on what will happen Monday, when Russia will mark victory over Nazi Germany in World War II. It has been increasingly said that Putin’s Russia has modeled its identity on this part of its past, and that the more it perpetuates a false narrative about the presence of latter-day Nazis and genocides, the more it tarnishes the glory of past heroism.
“They never talk about the future,” Anin says of the government, “because there’s nothing they can offer the Russian audience or other people in the world. There is nothing behind this idea of the ‘Russian World.’ You know, that’s why they are so focused on the 9th of May and on other symbols of the Soviet Union.”