I joined the UK’s Times Radio and Australia’s ABC News on Monday for up-to-date analysis of Russia, Vladimir Putin, and the lasting effect of the Wagner Group’s mini-rebellion against his conduct of the Ukraine invasion.
I speak with Rosie Wright about the likelihood of Putin’s departure from poewr in Russia, setting out the context of the in-fighting in and beyond Moscow.
This rebellion may have occurred suddenly, but the conflict has been building for months between the Wagner Group and the Kremlin. The speed with which the rebellion developed on Friday may have surprised people, but the fact that it happened should not have.
Vladimir Putin has spent this invasion balancing the factions around him, trying to remain in control. But once it became apparent that Russian forces are not going to win in Ukraine — and indeed might lose on the battlefield — he could no longer maintain the balance.
On Monday afternoon, I analyzed the post-rebellion developments in a chat with Beverley O’Connor.
I explain how the Kremlin, trying to reassert its authority, is backing out of the deal with Wagner Group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin, threatening to imprison him for up to 20 years. I look at the damage to Putin, the Russian military leadership, and their position in Ukraine, and the possible development of the internal challenges that could seal Putin’s political fate.
Often, when you have a change in power, it is through a gradual loss of legitimacy as people peel away from a leader.
We’re not at that point yet in Russia, but there have been some individuals in the last 24 hours — both from those who are against the invasion of Ukraine and those who are for it but think it’s being mishandled — who are saying, “We need to re-assess where we are going.”
I look at Yevgeny Prigozhin’s situation and his tactics in the next stage of his showdown with the Kremlin, and I consider Russia’s military position after last week’s blow to its forces and its command of the invasion.