Recent reports from the Kremlin have added to speculation about Russia’s descent into authoritarianism. The Russian news outlet Baza claimed this week that men in President Vladimir Putin’s administration had been banned from traveling outside of the country, fearing that they will never return.

Although the Kremlin has not confirmed the ban, the publication reported that the order is connected to a Kremlin staffer who failed to return from travels out of Russia.

“It’s possible that this is a precautionary measure since there is a rumor among officials in the administration that such a requirement appeared after the ‘escape’ of an employee from one of the departments,” Baza reported.

The outlet also claimed that vacations are limited for people within the president’s inner circle.

If true, this may be a part of Putin’s attempt to tighten up his administration amid his failing military efforts in Ukraine.

At the end of last month, it was reported that a third of Moscow’s top officials had fled the country to evade conscription.

“They leave, leaving things at the workplace, without washing their mug,” a source told Russian outlet Netska.

The United Kingdom announced this week that it would be imposing a new round of sanctions against Russian officials with the intended effect of weakening conscription and mobilization efforts. 

One pundit told CNBC that anxiety is rising in Moscow about how the war has played out recently.

“For the first time since the war started, people are beginning to consider the worst-case scenario that Russia can lose, and they don’t see and don’t understand how Russia can get out from this conflict without being destroyed,” she said.

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