Putin is currently a “retired tsar”. Some observers say there is a risk of a power struggle in the ruling elite. And the mood in Russia has also changed. How weak is the Kremlin boss really?
Putin’s tsar throne wobbles. The country is facing a power struggle in the ruling elite that could escalate into a civil war. This is how some observers in the USA see it, but also in the EU.
I can’t get much out of this finding. It is true that Putin is currently a “retired tsar” who does not want to be associated with bad news from the front.
It’s also true that there are increasing signs among the ruling elite that more and more of them believe that Russia’s defeat in the war is a possibility.
Questions are also growing as to what price Russia should pay for victory in the war with Ukraine. So there are signs of unrest and excitement.
There are also figures like Yevgeny Prigozhin, the financier of the Wagner mercenary group, or Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov, who have appeared very confidently and loudly in recent weeks.
Both have attacked the Ministry of Defense leadership and the General Staff very sharply. Many a general has been judged to be totally incompetent.
There are also observers who warn that both the Wagner group and the Kadyrovtsy have mercenaries at their disposal who could play a role in an open power struggle. According to my assessment, both will hit a glass ceiling. The domestic secret service FSB will deny them access to the heart of power.
Gerhard Mangott is a professor of political science with a special focus on international relations and security in the post-Soviet space. He teaches at the Institute for Political Science in Innsbruck and is a lecturer at the Diplomatic Academy in Vienna
So Putin’s position as tsar is not in jeopardy at the moment. With all the information about a fierce power struggle in the Russian elite, we must also not forget that we are currently engaged in an information war.
Of course, rumors about fault lines in the Russian leadership are also spread on purpose. But that doesn’t mean that Putin’s position isn’t at risk. With a drastic defeat in Ukraine looming, he will hardly be able to stay in power.
But Putin’s is undoubtedly showing signs of weakness. The withdrawal of Russian troops from the west bank of the Dnieper in the Kherson region was the third major military defeat of the Russian army since the beginning of the war. Rumor has it that Putin had long spoken out against the withdrawal.
If this is true, he apparently had to accept the urgent recommendations of the military leadership after all. The west bank was obviously no longer militarily to be held.
The weakness was evident in dealing with the United Nations-Turkey-brokered grain deal, which allows Ukraine to export grain through three ports.
After a Ukrainian drone attack on the Russian Black Sea Fleet, the Russian leadership announced that it would suspend participation in this agreement. But contrary to expectations, the other three parties to the agreement continued export shipments – without Russia.
Russia’s mere implicit threat to take military action against the grain carriers had no effect. A few days later, Russia rejoined the agreement and finally agreed to extend the contract for a further 120 days.
Putin’s aura of invincibility and constant success has undoubtedly been tarnished. But a leader who stops winning loses authority. This also applies to Putin at the moment.
In addition, popular support for their president has declined. The partial mobilization that Putin has not delayed for so long has changed the mood.
The previously celebrated semblance of normality has given way to a bitter reality – fathers and sons have been torn from their families and sent to the front.
As a result, war has now penetrated almost every household. At that point, at the latest, a majority of the population realized that the “special military operation”, contrary to what was claimed, had not gone according to plan. As a result, Putin has lost the image of the ever-successful president to some extent among the general public.
Weaknesses and military defeats have certainly worsened Putin’s position in the power structure. But we are still a long way from overthrowing Putin. The expectation in many reports about an impending power struggle in the Russian leadership may well be due to wishful thinking.
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High energy costs, inflation: Many Germans are currently suffering from money worries. One topic that has not been discussed much so far are so-called index leases.
They allow the landlord to increase the basic rent each year as much as the consumer price index has risen. Currently, an increase of 10.4 percent would be possible.
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