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Russian coup update, Edition 3. The fallout.
Hello, my friends!
I wanted to send you the latest news about the Russian coup happening.
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Russia coup update:
It’s been almost twenty-four hours since Yevgeniy Prigozhin, the head of the private military company called Wagner, turned his forces around and abandoned his efforts to take Moscow.
Since that time, we’ve learned several things, so let’s just jump into it.
First, what really happened?
More facts have emerged on why Prigozhin stopped. Here’s the latest reporting from The Washington Post:
“They wanted to disband Wagner,” Prigozhin said in an audio message confirming his agreement to turn back the convoy. “We set out on June 23 on a ‘March of Justice.’ In a day, we marched just short of 200 kilometers [124 miles] away from Moscow. During this time, we have not shed a single drop of the blood of our fighters.”
But he acknowledged that if Wagner continued, it would lose fighters.
“Now is the moment when blood can be shed,” Prigozhin said. “Realizing all the responsibility for the fact that Russian blood will be shed, we are turning our columns around and leaving in the opposite direction of our field camps, according to the plan,” he said, in an apparent reference to the agreement brokered by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.
As David Ignatius wrote in his Washington Post opinion piece: Putin and Prigozhin played a game of chicken — and both swerved in the end.
That’s what believes, and I think he’s right. Here’s how he framed it:
President Vladimir Putin looked into the abyss Saturday and blinked. After vowing revenge for what he called an “armed mutiny,” he settled for a compromise.
The speed with which Putin backed down suggests that his sense of vulnerability might be higher even than analysts believed. Putin might have saved his regime Saturday, but this day will be remembered as part of the unraveling of Russia as a great power — which will be Putin’s true legacy.
Putin’s deal with renegade militia leader Yevgeniy Prigozhin is likely to be a momentary truce, at best. The bombastic rebel will head for Belarus, in a deal brokered by his pal President Alexander Lukashenko, in exchange for Putin dropping charges against him and his mutinous soldiers, according to Kremlin spokesman Dimitry Peskov.
Secondly, Putin (and Russia) is living on borrowed time now.
As Max Boot writes, Putin finally learned the lesson all tyrants learn.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is learning what so many tyrants have learned before him: When you unleash the dogs of war, they can come back to bite you. When the Russian strongman sent his troops marching to take Kyiv, he never imagined that 16 months later, mutinous Wagner mercenary group troops would march on Moscow.
But then Napoleon never imagined that invading Russia would lead to his exile and the restoration of monarchy in France. Hitler never imagined that invading Poland would lead to his suicide and the partition of Germany. Saddam Hussein never imagined that invading Kuwait would lead, eventually, to the overthrow of his regime and his death.
War is inherently an unpredictable and risky business, whose consequences can never be foreseen with clarity — and seldom managed with success. A dictator’s illusion of control can all too often collapse in the cauldron of combat — especially if the war turns into a prolonged, bloody conflict of attrition as has occurred in Ukraine.
Without question, experts agree that Putin is weaker.
An article in NPR makes this case. NPR interviewed three experts who claim this severely weakened Putin — perhaps fatally.
Alexander Gabuev, director of the Carnegie Russia Eurasia Center, says despite the apparent end of the mutiny, the Russian leader will undoubtedly be weakened by the strong challenge to his authority.
Former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul says there's "no doubt" that Prigozhin's mutiny weakens Putin and "raises doubts about his ability to continue to govern Russia in an effective way."
Samuel Charap, a senior political scientist at the Rand Corp, cautions that at the moment, little is known, but "one thing we know for certain is that Putin's authority is irreparably damaged."
"It's sort of like a Wizard of Oz moment, where it turns out that the people who have the guns are not willing to use them to prop up your authority," he says.
Some closing thoughts from others.
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Love and peace,
Stan R. Mitchell
P.S. Don’t forget to check out my books. I’ve written 11 of them, including: a CIA/Marine sniper series, a detective series, a private investigator series, an action-packed Western, a motivational self-help book about President Obama, and two realistic war novels: one about World War II and one about Afghanistan. You can find all of these books on Amazon.