Nearly six months ago, word circulated that Vladimir Putin’s inner circle was maneuvering to find a successor amid concerns over his Ukraine war. Those concerns, if true, apparently fell by the wayside, and perhaps that can be best explained by the fact that Putin punishes any Russian who dares to speak against him. A few months ago, local Russian lawmakers were summoned by police, fined, and removed from office after they plotted to overthrow the president for damaging the Russian economy with his current military invasion. Perhaps that’s also why we’re seeing some apparent backtracking after a key Putin ally allegedly called for the autocrat to be ousted.
As the New York Times relays, Aleksandr Dugin (whose own daughter perished earlier this year in a car bombing) now sees this war as an embarrassment. Newsweek points out that Dugin’s unofficial position as “Putin’s brain” makes this criticism notable, and here’s how the NYT sums up Dugin’s Telegram-posted apparent reference to Putin and his subsequent denial:
The post did not name Mr. Putin directly, but made reference to a study of myths and religions that included the African tale of Kings of the Rain, slain for failing to make it rain amid a drought. Mr. Dugin later wrote on his page on Vkontakte, the Russian equivalent of Facebook, that Western analysts were falsely portraying him as having turned on Mr. Putin.
That quick turnaround was to be expected whether or not Dugin specifically intended to criticize Putin with this Kings of the Rain warning. After all, Putin has (allegedly) left a trail of dead journalists in his wake and silenced his rivals, including Alexei Nalvany, who will probably never emerge from prison again after spending nearly a decade behind bars. In the meantime, Russian troops are continuing to abandon heavy artillery (including tanks) in Ukraine, basically handing victories to Zelensky’s forces. Despite a massive draft, Russia is still losing the numbers game with boots on the ground, so it seems like a matter of time before Putin really threatens to go nuclear in a desperate effort to win his war.
(Via New York Times)