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Death of Alexei Morozov, a Russian blogger who covered the war in Ukraine

“I no longer find the strength to fight”: it is with these words that the Russian blogger Alexei Morozov announced, on his Telegram channel, his upcoming suicide.

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Death of Alexei Morozov, a Russian blogger who covered the war in Ukraine

“I no longer find the strength to fight”: it is with these words that the Russian blogger Alexei Morozov announced, on his Telegram channel, his upcoming suicide. Wednesday morning, “Murz”, his nom de guerre, published several long messages on this social network explaining his action. His death, which comes a few days after he spoke of heavy losses within the Russian army during the Battle of Avdiivka, was later confirmed by several of his relatives, his lawyer as well as Russian press agencies. .

Close to Russian ultranationalist circles, “Murz” waged war in Ukraine in 2014 alongside Donbass separatists. Following the invasion of the country in 2022, he opened a Telegram channel, today followed by more than 135,000 Internet users. Since then, he was among the Russian bloggers who covered the “special military operation” and sometimes criticized the military command.

Also read: In eastern Donbass, after months of fierce fighting, the Russian army seizes the industrial town of Avdiivka

This February 18, three days before his death, Alexeï Mozorov returned, on his Telegram channel, to the battle of Avdiivka, and more particularly to the massive losses suffered by Russia to achieve this victory, the first since the capture of Bakhmut , in May 2023. According to its estimates, calculated from information transmitted by its contacts in different units, Moscow would have lost 16,000 soldiers and 300 armored vehicles. The Ukrainians, for their part, would have seen 5,000 to 7,000 men fall, a figure lacking solid sources, the blogger admitted.

Pointing the finger directly at the high-ranking officers, “Murz” insisted on the need to open a “broad criminal investigation” to find those responsible for this mismanagement of the front. These commanders were ultimately “designated as heroes,” the blogger was indignant, in a post that provoked strong reactions from pro-Kremlin propagandists, who accused him of “slandering the Russian Defense Minister.”

On February 20, he finally deleted his text. But in his text on Wednesday, Alexei Morozov explained that he had been the target of pressure from the military command, which threatened to no longer provide equipment and ammunition to the units with which he communicated. To avoid this, the blogger said he preferred to “[shoot] himself,” before asking that the money from the sale of his family home be used to equip the 4th Motorized Rifle Brigade. He then castigated one last time "a cowardly elite" and "generals who are ready to 'sacrifice' thousands of soldiers just to distinguish themselves", also denouncing an omerta too strong to "continue to serve under [the] orders and , at the same time telling the truth”.

The death of this pro-war blogger attests to the strengthening of repression in Russia. If criticism against the Ukrainian war was stifled from February 24, 2022, certain personalities sometimes mentioned problems occurring at the front, like bloggers specializing in military affairs like “Murz”.

But since the rebellion of Yevgeny Prigozhin, the former leader of the Wagner militia, and his death in the summer of 2023, the Russian repressive machine has even affected ultranationalist figures. On January 25, Igor Girkin, close to Alexei Morozov, suffered the wrath of Moscow for criticizing the way Vladimir Putin managed the war. This former officer of the FSB, the Russian security services, who became a pro-war blogger, was sentenced to four years in prison for “public calls to extremism” by a Moscow court.

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