It’s been a week and a half since Yevgeny Prigozhin rose up in mutiny and marched on the Russian capital, abruptly turned around, and, allegedly, retired to Belarus. Ever since, the Russian capital has been just fine, actually.
“The parks are full, the restaurants are full,” one well-connected Moscow source told me, using the now universal Moscow shorthand for normalcy. “People look relaxed. I know five drones tried to attack Moscow, but I only found out from the news. Maybe if there had been significant losses and destruction it would’ve been different.” Then again, the source said, “What else can you expect from the enemy in times of war?”
Over the last couple of days, I spoke to a number of people in Moscow, members of the Russian elite who revolve around and depend on the Kremlin, to gauge what things were like in the capital a fortnight after the barbarians were convincingly headed for their very gates. They had all been a little rattled on the day of the attempted coup: The source above said the government had sent a handful of soldiers to guard their apartment building on June 24. “It was a big, dramatic event that could’ve had very serious consequences,” they said, “and many of us had to think about our own personal and emergent security. But it passed. It lasted literally a few hours.”