Espreso. Global

Russian generals may offer Putin a Ceauşescu scenario

2 February, 2024 Friday

Russia is losing its economic, political and military strength, and is sending signals of weakness. We just need to decipher them

The current Russian army consists mainly of under-trained people. They have been drawn into combat after their best soldiers were mostly killed or wounded in almost 2 years of fighting in Ukraine. Russia is losing its economic, political and military strength and is sending signals of weakness. We just need to decipher them. After all, all of this, plus the popular protests in Bashkortostan, is the beginning of the process of Putin's losing control over the regions of the Russian Federation.

And this is extremely dangerous for Moscow. After all, when uprisings begin simultaneously in another 7 or 10 national autonomies of the Russian Federation, the Kremlin will not be able to suppress them all. No amount of Rosgvardia, riot police, or police forces will be enough to restore "Putin's order" throughout Russia. This requires synchronization of actions between all the forces that are interested in Putin's regime finally collapsing. 

Even the guest experts on Skabeeva and Solovyov's propaganda TV show have already realized that Russia cannot win the war. And one of the main ideologues of the "Russian world," the director of the Institute of Diaspora and Integration, Konstantin Zatulin, has somehow lost his cool lately and has begun to publicly admit that Moscow will not be able to capture all of Ukraine.

The seat beneath the Russian dictator has started to tremble. However, the Moscow elite will be very cautious in supporting anyone who opposes Putin. After all, from the very beginning of his presidency, he has made very lucrative deals with them. They steadfastly carry out all his instructions, and in return they receive huge financial rewards, estates, and other privileges.

The Russian establishment owes its wealth and luxurious lifestyle to Putin. No one else on the political scene can guarantee them the preservation of all these dividends, which local power and support for the usurper gives them. And the emergence of a new leader of the Russian Federation will lead to a dangerous confrontation between different political and economic clans, threatening their lifestyle and the well-being of their families.

The outbreak of a national crisis of confidence in Russia could disrupt this business deal that was once made between Russia's criminal oligarchs and Putin. If they start an open war with each other, all the benefits of this kind of collective bargaining agreement between those who, together with Putin, privatized the Russian Federation in their favor, will immediately disappear. 

The corporate nomenklatura-bureaucratic octopus that, together with the Kremlin, sold the Russian population "stability" in exchange for obedience, can no longer fulfill its obligations to those whom it robbed under the guise of state interests and fictitious threats from Ukraine, America, and NATO.

Now, a situation is emerging in which the oligarchic giant and its entire propaganda television service will no longer be able to manipulate fear-mongering in society in such a cynical way.  After all, a gradual return to the standard of living of the early 1990s will be for most Russians the socio-economic watershed beyond which they will have nothing to lose.

The populace of the Moscow region, indoctrinated to revere "Tsar" Putin and his "boyars-oligarchs," witnessing the sudden unraveling of the power structure established in Russia since 2000, is unlikely to consider the necessity of safeguarding and upholding it. Instead, they will be preoccupied with navigating their own survival amidst the looming shadows of turmoil that are already encroaching upon the faltering state still referred to as Russia.

The dictator wanted to enter world history at any cost as a high-ranking politician who managed to revive the USSR. Now he will enter it from the back door, as the person who destroyed the Russian Federation due to his exorbitant geopolitical ambitions.

If Putin hadn't gone out of his way to "liberate" Ukraine from the Ukrainians, Russia would still be in the G8, successfully trading oil and gas with Europe, and establishing brisk trade with many other countries, including Ukraine, the United States, Japan, and the United Kingdom. 

Obviously, after Russia loses the war with Ukraine, the word "Putin" will enter the dictionaries of the world's peoples as a term defining a politician who recklessly tried to take geopolitical revenge without the appropriate resources, technology, and military means. And who failed completely.

It is not just the collapse of Putin's leadership and his United Russia party, it is the collapse of the entire Russian system of government. Because Putin's regime, having seized all the tools the Kremlin has to support its own government, has closed everything in on itself. It worked for a while. However, if several chains in the well-established mechanism of transferring power commands to the local level are broken, the system will begin to stall sharply, and Moscow will not be able to fix anything in emergency mode.

It is not difficult to see that by starting a large-scale war in Ukraine, Putin is driving the Russian economy to bankruptcy. By sending more and more crowds of poorly trained recruits into a "meat grinder of a war" they do not believe in, the despot has managed to sever Russia's ties with the rest of the world. And this can hardly be attributed to the Kremlin's achievements.

The deficit of goods and services in Russia is growing every day, and the financial security of any Russian who keeps their savings in rubles is decreasing as the Russian "currency" devalues.

The situation appears dire for Putin, as even his extensive security apparatus may not suffice to shield him, not from external threats like Ukrainians, but from discontent among his own populace. The brief Prigozhin uprising in 2023 underscored the escalating distrust towards the current administration and military under Putin's leadership, casting serious doubt on his prospects for maintaining power.

Using an army of his full-time propagandists, the tyrant managed to demonstrate an alternative reality to the Russian population for more than two decades. But this could not last indefinitely. This was not taken into account by the ideologues of Putinism when they created a system that they thought would last for millennia. 

Putin made a mistake that turned out to be as fatal as Russia's accession to World War I. After Russian terrorist troops occupied part of the Ukrainian Donbas and Crimea for almost 8 years, he believed that he could win a quick victory over the whole of Ukraine. Russia's top leadership was so carried away by the myth of invincibility created by the Russians themselves that they believed in something that never actually existed.

The formula for victory turned out to be a formula for failure, and Putin's vision of the situation they found themselves in was wrong. After all, the defective structure of governance in the Russian Federation is flawed at every level, and the army is no exception. The willingness of the military to carry out any criminal orders of the political leadership has led the top Russian generals into a stalemate. They have already realized that they are unable to win the Russian-Ukrainian war, but they have not yet fully matured to the point where Putin needs to be toppled to the top of the power pyramid. This is now in their strategic interests.

Until the Kremlin stops trying to sell Russians the nonsense that it is the entire West that has united against us, and that we, the "forces of good," together with our closest allies from North Korea, Iran, Venezuela, and China, are fighting for a "new and just world order," they will be doomed to repeat their failures over and over again. All attempts to revive a new Russian empire by occupying the territories once occupied by the Soviet Union have failed from the very beginning.  

Therefore, Russia's establishment needs to change its imperial mindset as much as it needs to replace Putin. The Russian elite's faith in Putin's power is also shaken by failures on the war fronts. After all, they create long-term political problems for a country that depends on the will of a supposedly "tough guy" who turned out to be a geopolitical failure. That has long ceased to represent strength and stability.

The collapse of the Soviet Union was the "Russian Spring." It lasted no longer than the presidency of Boris Yeltsin. Yeltsin handed over the presidency to Putin, and the latter, fooled by the immensity of his power over the population of the Russian Federation and imagining himself the ruler of the world, decided to bend the world to his will. The beginning of the realization of these intentions was Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Putin's plan is clear: either control all of Ukraine or destroy it. He will not stop until he is eliminated, dies himself, is removed from the presidency by force, or achieves his goal. Dictators don't just give up, as history shows. Time will tell whether a weakened Putin can survive in the Kremlin.

The balance of power in Putin's Kremlin coalition is now changing much faster than it has been during his entire tenure. The weaker the dictator's position becomes, the stronger the positions of those closest to his imperial throne. 

Today, the collective Putin is turning into a significant factor in Russian politics. This, of course, does not diminish the despotic component of the current Kremlin government. The tyrant has weakened and become dependent on the top nomenklatura and generals. Humiliated by his inability to capture all of Ukraine and the West's support for Ukrainians, he has no choice but to make major decisions by consensus.

However, Putin has already made so many strategic and tactical mistakes that he makes even Russia's former poorly educated rulers look like intellectuals.

It is time for Ukraine and the West to take advantage of this usurper's weakness. After all, it is becoming increasingly clear that not everyone in his inner circle is willing to share responsibility with him for all the crimes and horrors he has committed in Ukraine.

One possible option is for the generals to repeat the experience of removing Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu from power. And the Russian military should take advantage of this opportunity while it exists... 


About the author. Viktor Kaspruk, journalist.

The editors do not always share the opinions expressed by the blog authors.

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