Putin ‘does not have the control he’d like to have’ says expert
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Russians are panicking so much about the possibility of nuclear warfare that they are stocking up on radiation pills, Nikita Khrushchev’s great-granddaughter has warned. The Professor or International Relations at New Yorks’s The New School said that ordinary citizens are concerned about “grandiose rhetoric” coming from the Kremlin and are preparing for the worst.
Nina Khrushcheva, who is currently in Russia, described a “palpable” fear in the country about what Putin might do next.
Talking to a Moscow think tank last night, the Kremlin leader was asked whether he was in a “hurry” to send the country to Heaven through the use of nuclear weapons.
After a few seconds pause, the interviewer noted: “You have been thinking for a while, it’s already alarming somehow.”
Putin joked that it was his intention to make the room feel “wary”, adding: “The effect is achieved.”
Francis Scarr of the BBC commented that “there aren’t many things less funny than Vladimir Putin attempting to joke about nuclear war”.
According to Ms Khrushcheva, many Russians agree.
She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Society is getting more desperate.
“It is frozen in despair – not even fear, despair – we don’t know what is going to happen [or] what tomorrow brings.
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“The last month of nuclear conversation… there is a story [that sales of radiation pills] went up 70 percent.
“People are preparing for something disastrous.”
The situation, Ms Khrushcheva suggested, was all the worse for the fact Putin is not following in her great-grandfather’s footsteps.
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Nikita Khrushchev was the First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1953 – taking the reins from Georgy Malenkov who led the bloc for just a matter of months after Joseph Stalin’s death – to 1964.
Ms Khrushcheva today commented: “When Khrushchev was ousted one of the allegations was he took rockets away from Cuba and after that the Soviet Union looked weak.
“Khrushchev said: ‘What, I was supposed to start a world war?’
“Putin clearly doesn’t think in those terms. He thinks ‘it is our way and the way I decide it is going to be and we’re not going to back off’.
“I’m not going to put words in his mouth – he didn’t say ‘otherwise it will be a world war’ – but it does seem… that he may be ready to have a war instead of adjusting his political behaviour.”
The Moscow Times reports that sales of iodine pills in Russia have risen by 150 percent since the country invaded Ukraine in February.
The chemical compound can be used in the event of exposure to radiation and blocks part of the body from absorbing radioactive elements.
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