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The widow of Putin's political mentor and mother of his rumored goddaughter is increasingly voicing concerns about Russia's war in Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Lyudmila Narusova, widow of former St. Petersburg mayor Anatoly Sobchak, stand at the monument to Anatoly Sobchak during the 20nd anniversary of his death in in St. Petersburg, Russia, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Lyudmila Narusova, widow of former St. Petersburg mayor Anatoly Sobchak, stand at the monument to Anatoly Sobchak during the 20th anniversary of his death in in St. Petersburg, Russia, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020Alexei Druzhinin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP
  • A prominent Russian senator with close ties to Putin is increasingly criticizing the war in Ukraine.

  • Sen. Lyudmila Narusova, whose late husband was a mentor to Putin, has been a skeptic of the war since the start.

  • Her public discontent is a sign of mounting chaos in the Kremlin following months without a win.

A prominent Russian senator with close ties to President Vladimir Putin is increasingly and publicly criticizing the ongoing war effort in Ukraine, exemplifying the mounting chaos currently gripping the Kremlin.

Sen. Lyudmila Narusova, who is also the widow of Putin's one-time political mentor, Anatoly Sobchak, recently spoke out about her growing frustrations with Russia's 15-month war more than a year after she first expressed concerns about the invasion.

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Narusova's public aspersions signal a shift in the Russian public's perception of the war following months of heavy Russian casualties in the strategically-unimportant city of Bakhmut, as well as increasingly public infighting between Russia's military brass and Wagner Group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin, who has taken to shaming the country's defense leaders.

"Nobody has explained how victory is supposed to look," Narusova told an interviewer with Forbes Russia in an April video, according to a translation in The Washington Post. "If we think of the originally declared goals, 'denazification' and 'demilitarization,' the entire Ukrainian army must have been already destroyed by now."

Narusova added that Russian soldiers are now up against NATO-armed Ukrainian troops.

"Does that mean we are demilitarizing NATO?" she asked. "That goal is unattainable."

Narusova, who was elected to the State Duma in 1995 and has served as a member of the Federation Council of Russia for decades, was an early skeptic of Putin's invasion, telling Russian state television that she did not "identify herself with those representatives of the state that speak out in favor of the war," just days after the conflict began, according to The New York Times. 

"I think they themselves do not know what they are doing," Narusova told the independent Dozhd channel in February 2022, per The Times. "They are following orders without thinking."

Narusova also told the Dozhd outlet that dead Russian soldiers were laying in Ukraine "unburied; wild stray dogs gnawing on bodies that in some cases cannot be identified because they are burned."

In March 2022, she spoke to the Russian Federation Council of heavy Russian losses and was the only lawmaker to abstain from voting for an electronic draft summons in the mobilization of the Russian army earlier this year.

Narusova's criticism is notable given her close connection to Putin, who was a protege of Narusova's late husband, as well as the rumored godfather to her socialite daughter, Ksenia Sobchak, who has been called "Russia's Paris Hilton." 

Her husband, Anatoly Sobchak, who served as the first democratically elected mayor of Saint Petersburg and helped co-author the Constitution of the Russian Federation, was a mentor to two future Russian presidents, Putin and Dmitry Medvedev, the current deputy chairman of the Security Council of the Russian Federation.

Sobchak died in February 2000 soon after traveling to the city of Kaliningrad to support Putin's then-election campaign.

His widow's public defiance is a sign of the worry growing among top Russian officials ahead of Ukraine's much-anticipated counteroffensive. Anna Nemtsova, a Daily Beast correspondent who has covered the Putin regime for more than two decades, wrote in The Post this week that the Ukrainians are successfully rattling the Kremlin, leaving the country in an unprecedented state of chaos and disarray.

Read the original article on Business Insider