It's not yet a revolution, but it looks like a revolt. First there are those deputies from a district of Saint Petersburg who, on September 7, officially asked the Duma for the dismissal of Vladimir Putin for "treason", because, they write, his decision to invade the Ukraine "harms the security of Russia and its citizens". A former Russian deputy believes for his part, on state television, "that it is impossible to beat Ukraine with the current means". As for the formidable Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, who has sent thousands of fighters to Ukraine, he plans to go "to talk to the [Russian] leaders to explain to them the real situation on the ground".
Legitimate concern. Because Putin's "special operation" looks more and more like a rout. This reconquest constitutes the second, since the bitter failure of the capture of kyiv, at the beginning of the war, and the retreat of the Russian army which followed. Through deceptive communication, the Ukrainians cleverly tricked their opponents into concentrating their forces in the south, the better to hit them in the north and east. Meticulously prepared, this counter-attack galvanized the troops, while criticism was raised on the lack of equipment and training of the soldiers sent to the front. "It shows the Ukrainian people that they are not doomed to remain on the defensive, and the Western allies that their sophisticated arms deliveries make the difference," said Marie Dumoulin, Russia specialist at the European Council on Foreign Relations.
How far will they go? If some do not exclude that the Ukrainians, at the gates of Donetsk, could push their advantage much further, perhaps even as far as Lughansk, their victories, paradoxically, will expose them to new - potentially terrible - risks.
Rather than accept a humiliating defeat, Putin, who draws his legitimacy from his strength, may choose to escalate. Its political survival depends on it. As winter approaches, Russian propagandists, visibly confused, are already calling on TV sets to cut off water and electricity to Ukrainians by destroying their infrastructure. And then there is the nuclear threat, regularly agitated by the most radical "hawks" gravitating in Putin's entourage. And who might begin to find that their master has lost his bite.
"It seems like it's time to get tough," host Vladimir Solovyov, one of the regime's most outrageous voices, summed up during his television talk show. The war has undoubtedly reached a turning point, which gives hope to the Ukrainians. And to the world. Let's hope the worst is not yet to come.