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The Prigozhin copycats are coming for Putin The Wagner rebellion isn't over

The threat from within the Kremlin remains (Gavriil Grigorov / Sputnik / AFP)

The threat from within the Kremlin remains (Gavriil Grigorov / Sputnik / AFP)


July 13, 2023   5 mins

Kremlinology is like reading tea leaves or astrology. It is closer to an art than a science — little is as it seems, and what information does trickle out has often only been released to service further palace intrigue. Nearly three weeks after Yevgeny Prigozhin’s Wagner rebellion, the Kremlin is doing everything in its power to project a façade of resilience and normality. But nothing could be further from the truth. And despite the opacity of Moscow politics, some fundamental threats to Putin (of which Prigozhin is only a particularly grisly manifestation) are beginning to emerge.

Putin is now engaged in a power struggle on three fronts: against the still-lingering forces of Prigozhin and Wagner; against discontents within his own military hierarchy; and against the Russian public itself which, spurred on by nationalist influencers, have proven themselves far from loyal to the regime. Putin knows that Prigozhin’s rebellion could open a Pandora’s Box of pretenders and uprisings for the rest of his reign. But at a deeper level, the nationalist Right, for whom Prigozhin has become the favoured avatar, now offers an alternative to Putin’s monopoly on political thought in Russia. And this is a far more fundamental threat to Putinism — the emergence of an ideological movement to challenge the stranglehold he has maintained on Russia’s political culture for a generation.

Far from defeated, Prigozhin now stands as a symbol of future defiance. Though his coup failed to topple the Russian Defence Ministry, for now his Wagner Group continues to operate outside of the military establishment. And though the Russian authorities have already begun to dismantle his personal commercial empire, Prigozhin is far from penniless: Belarus’s Alexander Lukashenko confirmed that he had arrived in St Petersburg to claim billions in cash assets and personal weapons that had been seized, while authorities cleared him of financial responsibility for the rebellion. The balance of power between him and his President is therefore unclear, with Putin clearly unable to clear or quash him. This week, the Kremlin confirmed that Prigozhin met with Putin after the uprising “and pledged loyalty to the Government” — messaging that contrasts sharply with the continuing demonisation of the Wagner leader in the Russian media.

The contradictory narratives around Prigozhin’s future continue to pile up. But for now, he remains active and substantially autonomous. In a recent broadcast, he stated that Wagner fighters would be back on the frontlines in Ukraine soon, in direct contravention of his deal with Putin, which stipulated that Wagner would relocate to Belarus. The group reportedly continued to recruit new fighters in Russia for some time after the rebellion, before finally announcing it would pause as it withdrew from the country — which reportedly has yet to materialise. All of this amounts to a highly frustrating set of circumstances for Putin. He has been reduced to chipping away at Prigozhin’s power instead of confronting him. And this demonstrates his continuing dependence on Wagner: he understands the role the group has played in Ukraine, and would rather reorganise than disband it so as to maintain its influence in Africa, the Middle East, and elsewhere.

So Wagner remain a dormant but present threat. But more proximate are the copycat-rebels Prigozhin may inspire from elsewhere in Putin’s administration. It was evident from the moment that Wagner captured Rostov-on-Don without any resistance and embarked on its march toward Moscow nearly unopposed that Prigozhin may have had help on the inside — a notion that is more terrifying for Putin than the rebellion itself. There are claims that General Sergei Surovikin, one of the most senior members of Putin’s military brass, knew of Prigozhin’s plans in advance. And since the revolt, documents have emerged showing that he and 30 other high-ranking military and intelligence officials had been secret “VIP members” of Wagner since 2018. Surovikin has not been seen in public since he released a video during the rebellion, leading US intelligence reports to suggest he may have been detained or arrested. Other military leaders, such as Deputy Defence Minister Yunus-bek Yevkurov, who was filmed negotiating with Prigozhin in Rostov (potentially under duress), were also conspicuously absent from recent broadcasts by the Ministry’s leadership this week.

At the very least, the rebellion has exacerbated divisions within the Russian security state, while the influential Russian military blog Rybar, founded by a former Defence Ministry press officer, claims that Putin is in fact executing a “purge”. The scale will remain obscure until Putin is finished, but given the circumstances, a significant reorganisation must be taking place in which personal loyalty to Putin will become the chief currency. Putin has always privileged fealty over competence — Surovikin, a well-regarded military commander who once headed Russia’s operations in Ukraine, was later replaced by Gerasimov, who, despite being widely seen as incompetent by many Kremlin critics including Prigozhin, has served as a faithful foot soldier for his President. For what Putin truly fears is lack of control over his circle of strongmen, the so-called siloviki.

But, rare for an aspiring autocrat, the last front on which Putin has been forced to defend himself is in the theatre of public opinion. In a recent interview with The New Yorker, analyst Tatiana Stanovaya correctly pointed out that Putin has never derived his authority from the Russian people. Nonetheless, public perception still matters, because any form of dissent undermines the central narrative of Putinism: that the only way to secure Russia’s historically justified status as first among nations is through allegiance to Putin and his circle.

Not only did Prigozhin publicly speak out against Putin’s establishment from the outside, but in his broadcasts he often spoke directly to the Russian public. In doing so, he violated another pillar in Putin’s power — the idea the Russian people should remain depoliticised and allow the authorities manage the country as they see fit. The sight of civilians in Rostov greeting Wagner with open arms and shaking Prigozhin’s hand is a spectacular affront to this. And, according to the Levada Center, one of the largest independent polling organisations left in Russia, support for Wagner sat at 58% in the days leading up to its rebellion, including the day when Prigozhin laid out why he believed the Ukraine war had been started for corrupt reasons. Although this support dropped on the day of the rebellion, it continued to hover around 30% for days afterward, despite near-universal denunciations of Prigozhin on mainstream Russian media.

In tandem with these media attacks, Putin has also apparently felt compelled to demonstrate that he can also command the allegiance from ordinary Russians. In a somewhat uncharacteristic move after his long years of isolation during the pandemic, Putin appeared in front of a doting crowd in Derbent in the Republic of Dagestan, on the southern fringes of the Russian Federation. The Wagner rebellion has changed the rules of the game, and Putin has been forced to adapt. But it’s not the disorganised masses of far-flung Derbent that Putin is most concerned about.

After quashing the last vestiges of Russia’s liberal opposition, and successfully entrenching his historically-informed vision of traditionalist Russian nationalism, Putin positioned himself as the ideological north star of modern Russia. But as the war in Ukraine exposed his inabilities to deliver on that vision, this hegemony began to crack, and the same nationalists Putin had inspired soon took note. Prigozhin gave voice to many of these concerns about the management of the war, including from sub-regime agitators such as Rybar. Now, Rybar and other influencers are bristling at the Kremlin’s campaign to discredit Wagner’s achievements in Ukraine, and are picking fights with a Russian Ministry of Defence that is increasingly frustrated with its inability to get these milbloggers to fall in line with the official narrative. Offline, too, support for Wagner continues to fester, as students brandishing the group’s flags in Moscow earlier this month demonstrated.

For Putin, the Wagner rebellion destabilised the ground beneath him as much as it did the walls around him. Though his public responses have appeared restrained so far, the better to project an image of calm, his command is no longer absolute. Even if he is able to neutralise Prigozhin and bring Wagner under his own control, the threat from within the Kremlin and from the nationalist grassroots will remain. And far from an aberration, Prigozhin’s coup may be looked back upon as a turning point, the first link in a concatenation of coups, counter-coups and civil wars, all-too bloodily familiar to Russia and its people.


Michal Kranz is a freelance journalist reporting on politics and society in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and the United States.

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AJ Mac
AJ Mac
10 months ago

I would like to know what evidence or convincing indication there is that Prigozhin is a free man, or even still alive. And where is Sergei Shoigu? It seems as though the Kremlin is being taken at their word, with little good cause.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
10 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

It would be an incredibly risky strategy to do away with Prigozhin while he still commands the loyalty of a well armed and battle hardened group of mercenaries, especially as Wagner seems to be quite popular amongst the general population. It’s quite different scenario to those usually bumped off by Putin, who tend to have fled abroad or been relentlessly attacked by state media for years beforehand

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
10 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I agree in the main. But where is he?

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
10 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Magaluf?

Last edited 10 months ago by Billy Bob
AJ Mac
AJ Mac
10 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Haha. Ok, maybe.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
10 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Haha. Ok, maybe.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
10 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Magaluf?

Last edited 10 months ago by Billy Bob
AJ Mac
AJ Mac
10 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I agree in the main. But where is he?

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
10 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

It would be an incredibly risky strategy to do away with Prigozhin while he still commands the loyalty of a well armed and battle hardened group of mercenaries, especially as Wagner seems to be quite popular amongst the general population. It’s quite different scenario to those usually bumped off by Putin, who tend to have fled abroad or been relentlessly attacked by state media for years beforehand

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
10 months ago

I would like to know what evidence or convincing indication there is that Prigozhin is a free man, or even still alive. And where is Sergei Shoigu? It seems as though the Kremlin is being taken at their word, with little good cause.

D Walsh
D Walsh
10 months ago

Clutching at straws

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
10 months ago
Reply to  D Walsh

Why do you believe that to be the case? And let’s have something more substantial in your reasoning this time, rather than simply repeating “Russia is winning” over and over again like you normally do

D Walsh
D Walsh
10 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Wanting Putin to be removed from power is fine, but it leads people into believing all kinds of hopeium, last year many believed he had cancer and was on the way out. Putin is actually popular with the public, they really do support him. if he was by some chance to be replaced, the next Russian president would from a Western/Ukrainie POV be even worse than Putin

Oh yeah and BTW, Russia is winning

Ralph Wade
Ralph Wade
10 months ago
Reply to  D Walsh

Winning? If anyone predicted on Feb 24, 2022, when Putin launched the attack, that in 500 days the Russians would be bogged down with marginal territorial gains in the south, Zelensky would remain firmly in command in Kiev, that Finland and Sweden would join NATO, and that in the last month Putin would face an armed insurrection by a renegade Russian army that took control of Rostov, you would have declared them delusional. The Russians might be your team, and you can cheerlead for them, but if you check the score, they aren’t winning.

Steve White
Steve White
10 months ago
Reply to  Ralph Wade

It all comes down to the fact that the Russians have ammunition. Ukraine is nearly out. This is narrative collapse time. We’ve all been lied to again.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
10 months ago
Reply to  Steve White

When is “nearly”?
I challenge you to return to this in three months time with a raincheck (but weren’t you saying similar three months ago?)

Steve White
Steve White
10 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Well, I’m just quoting president Biden who said “This is a war relating to munitions. And they’re running out of that ammunition, and we’re low on it” That is why he is sending them the banned cluster bomb munitions.
Here is the deal Steve, I like truth, I don’t like lies or liars. I’d love to hear an ugly truth more than a beautiful lie. How about you?
They had been telling us that the Russians were running out, and Ukraine is doing great, and now we hear the opposite, straight from Biden’s lips. So, what that means is they have been lying… It’s a narrative collapse… I don’t like the fact that these people lie to us

But I do like truth, and when I find out someone has been lying, I tend to point it out. What’s so hard to understand with that, and why wouldn’t you also appriciate that? It helps us all out when the truth they have been hiding is revealed, does it not? Even if it’s ugly, I want truth!

Last edited 10 months ago by Steve White
AJ Mac
AJ Mac
10 months ago
Reply to  Steve White

But you almost seem to think that ugliness is a prerequisite for truth. For instance in your defense and promotion of Andrew Tate.

Last edited 10 months ago by AJ Mac
Steve White
Steve White
10 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

I had never really heard of the guy, but I listened to the interview and he said a lot of true things. Remember..I love truth! Give me truth! A lot of people just want to be told or shown what they want too see. I want to know, hold to, and promote truth. Hate me for it, call me bad names, whatever. I will take the truth over all that any day.

Last edited 10 months ago by Steve White
AJ Mac
AJ Mac
10 months ago
Reply to  Steve White

Fine. Sift through his ugliness to find the truth about him, as presented for Tucker’s audience. I can see the value and virtue in that approach and to some extent I share it, though I find Tate mostly contemptible.
I’m not going to take the bait on calling you names, nor am I inclined to do that. I do believe that facts or perceived truths which wallow in the ugly and cruel are not truth of a needful and admirable kind, or rarely so at least. One doesn’t see the entire scope of reality–not you, me, our neighbors, nor the Great Sages of History–so any so-called truth that traffics heavily in sadism, selective self-interest, or schadenfreude doesn’t earn the name truth, in my view.
Again, I dispute the notion that truth is synonymous with (quite inescapably some portion or one version of) the facts in many, perhaps most cases. And sometimes they are one and the same. Honesty is different; that’s saying what you think or perceive without (necessarily) equating it with truth itself. Brutal honesty–though not always called for–strikes me as more often “a thing” than brutal or “ugly truth”.

Last edited 10 months ago by AJ Mac
Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
10 months ago
Reply to  Steve White

You sound like a failed preacher.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
10 months ago
Reply to  Steve White

Fine. Sift through his ugliness to find the truth about him, as presented for Tucker’s audience. I can see the value and virtue in that approach and to some extent I share it, though I find Tate mostly contemptible.
I’m not going to take the bait on calling you names, nor am I inclined to do that. I do believe that facts or perceived truths which wallow in the ugly and cruel are not truth of a needful and admirable kind, or rarely so at least. One doesn’t see the entire scope of reality–not you, me, our neighbors, nor the Great Sages of History–so any so-called truth that traffics heavily in sadism, selective self-interest, or schadenfreude doesn’t earn the name truth, in my view.
Again, I dispute the notion that truth is synonymous with (quite inescapably some portion or one version of) the facts in many, perhaps most cases. And sometimes they are one and the same. Honesty is different; that’s saying what you think or perceive without (necessarily) equating it with truth itself. Brutal honesty–though not always called for–strikes me as more often “a thing” than brutal or “ugly truth”.

Last edited 10 months ago by AJ Mac
Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
10 months ago
Reply to  Steve White

You sound like a failed preacher.

Steve White
Steve White
10 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

I had never really heard of the guy, but I listened to the interview and he said a lot of true things. Remember..I love truth! Give me truth! A lot of people just want to be told or shown what they want too see. I want to know, hold to, and promote truth. Hate me for it, call me bad names, whatever. I will take the truth over all that any day.

Last edited 10 months ago by Steve White
Roger Inkpen
Roger Inkpen
10 months ago
Reply to  Steve White

Truth. First casualty of war?
Of course it suits Biden to ring the alarm bells now to justify sending Ukraine what most of the civilised world considers illegal weapons.
The ‘truth’ is we don’t know where Wally is. Everything else is speculation.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
10 months ago
Reply to  Steve White

But you almost seem to think that ugliness is a prerequisite for truth. For instance in your defense and promotion of Andrew Tate.

Last edited 10 months ago by AJ Mac
Roger Inkpen
Roger Inkpen
10 months ago
Reply to  Steve White

Truth. First casualty of war?
Of course it suits Biden to ring the alarm bells now to justify sending Ukraine what most of the civilised world considers illegal weapons.
The ‘truth’ is we don’t know where Wally is. Everything else is speculation.

Steve White
Steve White
10 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Well, I’m just quoting president Biden who said “This is a war relating to munitions. And they’re running out of that ammunition, and we’re low on it” That is why he is sending them the banned cluster bomb munitions.
Here is the deal Steve, I like truth, I don’t like lies or liars. I’d love to hear an ugly truth more than a beautiful lie. How about you?
They had been telling us that the Russians were running out, and Ukraine is doing great, and now we hear the opposite, straight from Biden’s lips. So, what that means is they have been lying… It’s a narrative collapse… I don’t like the fact that these people lie to us

But I do like truth, and when I find out someone has been lying, I tend to point it out. What’s so hard to understand with that, and why wouldn’t you also appriciate that? It helps us all out when the truth they have been hiding is revealed, does it not? Even if it’s ugly, I want truth!

Last edited 10 months ago by Steve White
Steve Murray
Steve Murray
10 months ago
Reply to  Steve White

When is “nearly”?
I challenge you to return to this in three months time with a raincheck (but weren’t you saying similar three months ago?)

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
10 months ago
Reply to  Ralph Wade

“when Putin launched the attack”
The Russians were outnumbered 3:1 (whereas you ideally need the reverse when attacking), declined to launch an all out attack on Ukrainian transport and power infrastructure (that could have disrupted Ukrainian military movements), against an Ukrainian army that was in well prepared defensive positions (often in towns that were naturally formidable positions), sanctioned and facing being cutoff from vital electronic weapon components against an enemy being restocked constantly by the West.

The Russians today control a quarter of Ukraine. The part that, other than being Russian majority and who had voted for the leader forced to flee for his life in 2014, also happens to be the most well developed and industrialised part of Russia.

And Ukraine have spent the last month proving just how difficult it is to attack prepared defensive positions.

Roger Inkpen
Roger Inkpen
10 months ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

What part of Special Military Operation do you not understand? Putin didn’t think he’d need to do any more than march on Kiev and take over without any bloodshed, just like he did in Crimea. Why would he need to inflict any more damage or risk greater numbers of troops?

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
10 months ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Lots of nice cluster bombs will soon test the comfort of their defensive positions, mate.

Roger Inkpen
Roger Inkpen
10 months ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

What part of Special Military Operation do you not understand? Putin didn’t think he’d need to do any more than march on Kiev and take over without any bloodshed, just like he did in Crimea. Why would he need to inflict any more damage or risk greater numbers of troops?

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
10 months ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Lots of nice cluster bombs will soon test the comfort of their defensive positions, mate.

Steve White
Steve White
10 months ago
Reply to  Ralph Wade

It all comes down to the fact that the Russians have ammunition. Ukraine is nearly out. This is narrative collapse time. We’ve all been lied to again.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
10 months ago
Reply to  Ralph Wade

“when Putin launched the attack”
The Russians were outnumbered 3:1 (whereas you ideally need the reverse when attacking), declined to launch an all out attack on Ukrainian transport and power infrastructure (that could have disrupted Ukrainian military movements), against an Ukrainian army that was in well prepared defensive positions (often in towns that were naturally formidable positions), sanctioned and facing being cutoff from vital electronic weapon components against an enemy being restocked constantly by the West.

The Russians today control a quarter of Ukraine. The part that, other than being Russian majority and who had voted for the leader forced to flee for his life in 2014, also happens to be the most well developed and industrialised part of Russia.

And Ukraine have spent the last month proving just how difficult it is to attack prepared defensive positions.

Ralph Wade
Ralph Wade
10 months ago
Reply to  D Walsh

Winning? If anyone predicted on Feb 24, 2022, when Putin launched the attack, that in 500 days the Russians would be bogged down with marginal territorial gains in the south, Zelensky would remain firmly in command in Kiev, that Finland and Sweden would join NATO, and that in the last month Putin would face an armed insurrection by a renegade Russian army that took control of Rostov, you would have declared them delusional. The Russians might be your team, and you can cheerlead for them, but if you check the score, they aren’t winning.

D Walsh
D Walsh
10 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Wanting Putin to be removed from power is fine, but it leads people into believing all kinds of hopeium, last year many believed he had cancer and was on the way out. Putin is actually popular with the public, they really do support him. if he was by some chance to be replaced, the next Russian president would from a Western/Ukrainie POV be even worse than Putin

Oh yeah and BTW, Russia is winning

Jim C
Jim C
10 months ago
Reply to  D Walsh

.

Last edited 10 months ago by Jim C
Billy Bob
Billy Bob
10 months ago
Reply to  D Walsh

Why do you believe that to be the case? And let’s have something more substantial in your reasoning this time, rather than simply repeating “Russia is winning” over and over again like you normally do

Jim C
Jim C
10 months ago
Reply to  D Walsh

.

Last edited 10 months ago by Jim C
D Walsh
D Walsh
10 months ago

Clutching at straws

Ira Perman
Ira Perman
10 months ago

To all you root’n’-toot’n armchair cowboys waving your hats for Ukraine and believing that Putin is among the walking dead:  Yesterday the Daily Mail reported: “Retired General Robert Abrams, who served as the commander of US Forces-Korea, said that Prigozhin is most likely dead and will likely never be seen again publicly. He told ABC News: ‘I think he’ll either be put in hiding or sent to prison or dealt with some other way, but I doubt we’ll ever see him again.’”
 
As the pages of the calendar flip by, Ukraine’s counteroffensive looks increasingly like a bust.  No significant weak spots have been reported in the Russian defense line to exploit. Zelensky has become more obviously desperate.  This week he all but demanded immediate membership in NATO – so foolish a proposition for the world that even U.S. President Biden comprehends it would mean the requirement of sending Western troops to Ukraine’s aid and the real risk of starting WW3.  This is not going to happen.  The West may be willing to help Ukraine fight to its last soldier, but not to our first.  

Ukraine isn’t worth that. Democracy? Schmemocracy.  Notwithstanding the superb patriotic acting job of former comedian Zelensky, Ukraine is as corrupt as they come.  

And what is left in the area that Zelensky calls a country?  A decimated, energy-bereft industrial base and soon agricultural land peppered with unexploded cluster bombs. As recently as 1990 Ukraine’s population was 53 million.  One of the world’s lowest birthrates and the loss or Crimea took that down to 45 million at the start of the current conflict.  10 million Ukrainians then had the good sense to leave.  Most of these were the land’s best and brightest women – and their children.  The additional 40,000 square miles that Russia now sits resolutely upon contains or contained at least 2 million more.  UN estimates last year put the population of the remaining rump of Ukraine at just above 30 million. The longer the war goes on the less likely those 10 million ex-pat women and children will return.  More likely, they will draw their men to them and away from Ukraine. 

The sooner peace is negotiated, the better for all in this conflict. 

Last edited 10 months ago by Ira Perman
Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
10 months ago
Reply to  Ira Perman

“the area that Zelensky calls a country”
Well, your pro-Putin bias is clear, as is the motivation for your call for “peace”.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
10 months ago
Reply to  Ira Perman

“the area that Zelensky calls a country”
Well, your pro-Putin bias is clear, as is the motivation for your call for “peace”.

Ira Perman
Ira Perman
10 months ago

To all you root’n’-toot’n armchair cowboys waving your hats for Ukraine and believing that Putin is among the walking dead:  Yesterday the Daily Mail reported: “Retired General Robert Abrams, who served as the commander of US Forces-Korea, said that Prigozhin is most likely dead and will likely never be seen again publicly. He told ABC News: ‘I think he’ll either be put in hiding or sent to prison or dealt with some other way, but I doubt we’ll ever see him again.’”
 
As the pages of the calendar flip by, Ukraine’s counteroffensive looks increasingly like a bust.  No significant weak spots have been reported in the Russian defense line to exploit. Zelensky has become more obviously desperate.  This week he all but demanded immediate membership in NATO – so foolish a proposition for the world that even U.S. President Biden comprehends it would mean the requirement of sending Western troops to Ukraine’s aid and the real risk of starting WW3.  This is not going to happen.  The West may be willing to help Ukraine fight to its last soldier, but not to our first.  

Ukraine isn’t worth that. Democracy? Schmemocracy.  Notwithstanding the superb patriotic acting job of former comedian Zelensky, Ukraine is as corrupt as they come.  

And what is left in the area that Zelensky calls a country?  A decimated, energy-bereft industrial base and soon agricultural land peppered with unexploded cluster bombs. As recently as 1990 Ukraine’s population was 53 million.  One of the world’s lowest birthrates and the loss or Crimea took that down to 45 million at the start of the current conflict.  10 million Ukrainians then had the good sense to leave.  Most of these were the land’s best and brightest women – and their children.  The additional 40,000 square miles that Russia now sits resolutely upon contains or contained at least 2 million more.  UN estimates last year put the population of the remaining rump of Ukraine at just above 30 million. The longer the war goes on the less likely those 10 million ex-pat women and children will return.  More likely, they will draw their men to them and away from Ukraine. 

The sooner peace is negotiated, the better for all in this conflict. 

Last edited 10 months ago by Ira Perman
Jim C
Jim C
10 months ago

As a general rule, whenever you read a piece written as if the author can read Putin’s mind – that the Russian leader is “frustrated”, or that he finds something “terrifying” – it’s a pretty good indication that the writer is penning propaganda (a very common example of this is the claim that Putin “expected” to take Kiev in 3 days).
The fact is, Prigozhin’s “coup” failed quickly because he failed to gain significant support from other power brokers in Russia. And although in theory he commands tens of thousands of troops, only a few thousand accompanied him on his march on Moscow.
You can make the argument that this coup actually cements Putin’s power, as it shows everyone that even the popular Prigozhin couldn’t gain enough support to threaten Putin, and Putin now has a list of those amongst the elites who didn’t immediately support him.
I expert reports of a few more oligarchs being defenestrated in the upcoming weeks.

Last edited 10 months ago by Jim C
Jim C
Jim C
10 months ago

As a general rule, whenever you read a piece written as if the author can read Putin’s mind – that the Russian leader is “frustrated”, or that he finds something “terrifying” – it’s a pretty good indication that the writer is penning propaganda (a very common example of this is the claim that Putin “expected” to take Kiev in 3 days).
The fact is, Prigozhin’s “coup” failed quickly because he failed to gain significant support from other power brokers in Russia. And although in theory he commands tens of thousands of troops, only a few thousand accompanied him on his march on Moscow.
You can make the argument that this coup actually cements Putin’s power, as it shows everyone that even the popular Prigozhin couldn’t gain enough support to threaten Putin, and Putin now has a list of those amongst the elites who didn’t immediately support him.
I expert reports of a few more oligarchs being defenestrated in the upcoming weeks.

Last edited 10 months ago by Jim C