NewsCould Putin lose power?

    Could Putin lose power?

    President Vladimir Putin He had long proclaimed himself the guarantor of Russia’s stability and an inflexible protector of its statehood.

    Russian stability was nowhere to be found this weekend, and neither was Putin, who after making a brief statement on Saturday morning He dispeared from view during the most dramatic challenge to his authority in his 23-year reign.

    For more than two decades, Putin tolerated, and even encouraged, conflict between elites, keeping potential rivals at bay and stressing that ultimate authority always rested with him. Now, that system threatens to consume you. (Arash Khamooshi/The New York Times)

    In his absence, he left stunned Russians wondering how the leader of a paramilitary group, Yevgeny Prigozhinwas able to organize an armed mutiny on Saturday that threatened to reach Moscow.

    And it raised uncomfortable questions about the future of the Russian president:

    What did his failure to prevent the revolt mean for his security—and his staying power?

    Russians with ties to the Kremlin expressed relief on Sunday that Prigozhin’s revolt did not spark a civil war.

    But, at the same time, they agreed that Putin had given an image of weakness that could be lasting.

    Konstantin Remchukov, editor of a Moscow newsper with connections to the Kremlin, said in a telephone interview that what previously seemed unthinkable now it was possible: that people close to Putin would try to persuade him not to run for re-election in the Russian presidential election next spring.

    With the events of Saturday, he said, Putin had lost definitely his status as guarantor of the wealth and security of the elite.

    The idea that “Putin is in power and provides stability and guarantees security, suffered a fiasco on the 24th,” Remchukov said.

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    “If a month ago I was sure that Putin would rule unconditionally because it was his right, now I see that the elites can no longer feel unconditionally safe.”

    “Stability” was the Kremlin’s refrain amid the 2020 referendum that cleared the way for Putin to two more terms, until 2036.

    And it is the security of the Russian state that Putin describes as his driving motivation for invading Ukraine.

    Even in the midst of 16 months of war in Ukraine, the Kremlin has focused on normalcy at home.

    Putin has resisted calls from hardliners to declare the martial law or to close the country’s borders.

    For the elite, the sting of Western sanctions has been offset by new business opportunities in the Russian wartime economy and a domestic market suddenly free of competition from many Western companies.


    But Prigozhin’s challenge to the Kremlin’s authority this weekend turned that calculation upside down.

    Prigozhin, leader of the wagner paramilitary group he had his forces seize a Russian military headquarters in the south, and then sent a column of troops north toward Moscow, promising to enter the cital.

    The crisis abated late on Saturday when Prigozhin agreed to withdraw his forces in a deal that allowed him and his troops to avoid prosecution.

    The immediate threat was averted.

    But in the process, Putin lost more than just his reputation as a provider of stability:

    The fact that Prigozhin and his troops they were not punished undermined the reputation of the Russian leader as a decisive leader who did not tolerate disloyalty.

    That impression was compounded by reports by Russian military bloggers that Prigozhin’s forces they had shot down planes Russian combat.

    Putin also called Prigozhin a traitor after he launched his insurrection, and after the mercenary boss questioned Putin’s own justification for the war in Ukraine.

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    Those transgressions seemed to vanish with the agreement that ended the crisis.

    According to experts, this made Putin pear to have less control of the Russian state than was known.

    And foreign adversaries were quick to seize on that theme.

    United States Secretary of StateAntony Blinken, said on Sunday that the Prigozhin rebellion revealed the cracks that are emerging in Putin’s grip on power.

    It was a direct challenge to Putin’s authority,” Blinken said on the show. “Face the Nation” on S.

    One of the most confusing aspects of the crisis was why Putin allowed Prigozhin’s public conflict with the Russian Defense Ministry to fester for months without addressing it.

    Prigozhin had openly attacked and belittled to the Russian military leadership.

    Two people close to the Kremlin, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive political issues, described the crisis as the product, above all, of a dysfunctional system of government bordering on chaos, vividly expressed in the Russian word bardak.

    Decisions on how to handle the Prigozhin uprising were made on the fly on Saturday, they said, after months in which Putin and his inner circle continued to kick the can instead of finding a way to deal with the iconoclastic mercenary boss.

    Konstantin Zatulin, a deputy from Putin’s United Russia party, stated in an interview:

    “It was a pretty sloppy business.”

    The risk posed by Prigozhin, he said, “was not diagnosed early, perhs in the hope that it would resolve itself.”

    Zatulin argued that Putin ultimately provided stability, blessing an agreement to end the revolt and avoiding a pitched battle outside Moscow.

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    But he acknowledged that the drama did not make anyone look good: “it did not bring authority to anyone.”

    “It’s proof that there is a problem,” Zatulin said.

    “And at a time of war to show the problems so publicly – that’s damaging, of course.”

    For Putin himself, the riot could trigger an “existential crisis,” said Sergei Markov, a political analyst and former Kremlin adviser.

    “What he has always prided himself on is the solidity of the Russian state and political stability,” Markov said.

    “That’s why they wanted him. And it turns out that he doesn’t exist.”


    Remchukov said the jitters sparked by the Prigozhin uprising could be felt in the Russian cital in big and small ways.

    He said he knew of prominent Russians who had fled Moscow on the day of the rebellion.

    For his part, Remchukov said he had stayed in Moscow but had decided not to drive his Mercedes or Bentley on Saturday for fear that Prigozhin’s forces would confiscate it if they reached the city.

    To be sure, Putin’s system has proven extraordinarily resilient.

    The sanctions have not sunk the economy or led Russia’s top tycoons to turn against the Kremlin.

    a sophisticated propaganda machine and fierce repression have largely silenced public dissent on the war, despite its enormous human cost.

    For this reason, some experts believe that it would be premature to predict the dispearance of the system.

    “What we saw yesterday struck us as Western observers as quite dysfunctional and dramatic,” said Hanna Notte, nonresident senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

    “But that degree of dysfunction can be very long-lasting in such a system.”

    c.2023 The New York Times Company

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    Source: Clarin

    This post is posted by Awutar staff members. Awutar is a global multimedia website. Our Email: [email protected]


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