Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a Security Council meeting via a video link


  • A recording of the phone call was posted on YouTube last week
  • One businessman reportedly said Russia will become a 'scorched desert' under Putin's rule
  • The businessmen denied having any such conversation, saying they do not talk about politics

Several Russian businessmen slammed President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine, adding that the war will likely "end in hell," according to newly leaked phone calls.

The conversation allegedly happened on Jan. 10, 2023, between Russian billionaire Roman Trotsenko, one of the country's richest entrepreneurs, and businessman Nikolay Matushevsky, the creator of Moscow's Flacon design spaces. An audio recording of the phone call was posted on the YouTube page of the Russian language broadcaster Current Times last week.

"The Russia that we love so sincerely fell into the clutches of a**holes," one of the businessmen can be heard saying, as translated by The Moscow Times. "They're professing some strange 19th-century [beliefs]. This can't end well, it will end in hell. People will kill each other on the streets of Moscow."

In addition, the businessmen were also recorded giving bleak assessments of Russia's future under Putin's rule, with one saying the country will turn to a "scorched desert."

"How can a country live and develop where the only ideology is making money and keeping one group of people in power?" a voice identified as Trotsenko said. "They'll die at some point and leave nothing behind. It will just be a scorched desert."

The International Business Times could not independently verify the authenticity of the recording. Both Matushevsky and Trotsenko denied having any such conversation, saying they do not talk about politics.

However, Current Time said it believes the call was authentic and argued that there were several personal details divulged in the phone call. For instance, during the call, Matushevsky claimed he was in Bali, which the outlet confirmed after checking his Instagram account.

The outlet also noted that the phone number Trotsenko used in the call corresponded to his number.

Apart from details divulged in the phone call, the outlet also pointed out that Matushevsky previously publicly sympathized with the opposition, posting videos of protests in Moscow in 2021 on his Instagram account. Trotsenko, in contrast, also stopped attending meetings with Putin since the start of the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

That being said, the outlet noted that the audio's authenticity has not been officially confirmed, adding that it would only be able to confirm if the voices belonged to the Russian business after getting it assessed by a professional.

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