Something Big Is Happening: Russian Cities Announce Major Change of Plans for Christmas and New Year’s Celebrations

In a nation that needs a little Christmas, there will be no publicly funded celebrations to be found in at least two cities, according to Russian state media.

“It was decided to cancel previously scheduled events dedicated to New Year festivities,” St. Petersburg Gov. Alexander Beglov said, according to a post on Tass, the Russian news agency, which was cited by the Washington Examiner.

“All available funds will be channeled into a special St. Petersburg [account] stipulating extra outfit and gear for volunteers and mobilized citizens,” the report said.

St. Petersburg, in northwestern Russia, is one of the country’s most important cities, second largest only to Moscow.

The city of Nizhny Novgorod in southwestern Russia will not hold “planned mass festivities, concerts, and fireworks to mark the [upcoming] New Year,” Mayor Yury Shalabayev said in the report.

The Tass report did not go into detail about exactly why the cities are canceling the celebrations, but whatever the exact reason, it’s clear that something big is afoot as the country’s military action in Ukraine gets into its eighth month.

Although Russian leader Vladimir Putin has invoked conscription and threats of nuclear war as a show of his commitment to bringing Ukraine to heel, Russia’s faltering war in its western neighbor is causing divisions at home, according to The Washington Post.

The Post reported that a recent briefing to President Joe Biden included the tidbit that a member of Putin’s inner circle has told Putin that he disagrees with Putin’s handling of the war.

The Post, which did not reveal its source, said the information was obtained by U.S. intelligence agencies.

Putin’s adviser spoke about what the Post called “mismanagement of the war effort and mistakes being made by those executing the military campaign,” according to one of its sources.

Some Russian dissidents speak of hopes that the war can become a lever to create change.

“The vertical of power is shaking,”  Alexey Minyaylo said, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

Minyaylo is an activist who lives in Moscow but has in the past spent months in jail for his opposition to Putin’s rule, CBC reported.

“Putin is very good at holding power, so I don’t believe that anything can be done just by people revolting,” he said. “The only feasible way, in my mind, is some part of the establishment persuading Putin to step out of the way.”

Others agree that Russian difficulties in Ukraine have eroded Putin’s standing.

“Putin’s position is definitely weakening and the more the situation escalates, the quicker the process is,” Abbas Gallyamov, a former Putin speechwriter who now lives in Israel, told the CBC.

“The elites are at least beginning to act and they see that he has lost control over the situation,” he said.

Some public venting is taking place.

Kirill Stremousov, installed by Russia as its governor of the occupied Kherson region in southern Ukraine, recently spoke out against Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, according to The New York Times.

“Many people are saying that as an officer, the defense minister could simply shoot himself for being the one who let things get to this state,” he said.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.