Russia expert: The political leadership that created the monster

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“Some believe that it is a rebellion and that there will be a coup only if Prigozhin succeeds in taking Moscow. It’s splitting hairs. It is noteworthy that the loyal force is now turning against Putin. It is the political leadership that created Wagner, that created this monster,” continues Vendil Pallin. The conflict began with contradictions between the leader of the paramilitary group Wagner, Yevgeny Prigozhin, and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. But it has escalated over time, and now Prigozhin urged all Russians to follow the group’s fight against the country’s military leadership, apparently taking over parts of the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don and also claiming to have shot down a Russian military helicopter.President Vladimir Putin in turn talks about high treason against the country, and promises to deal with the hard gloves. The FSB security service has opened a criminal investigation against Prigozhin for inciting armed rebellion. “Since Prigozhin was very careful not to criticize Putin personally, nor the FSB, he has in practice come into direct conflict with them,” Vendil says. Pallin. The future development is difficult to assess. But what is clear is that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s position is weakened, according to Vendil Pallin. It’s a miscalculation,” she says. Recently, Putin sat down with military-patriotic bloggers, rattled off numbers and how well he thought things were going in the war in Ukraine.But the meeting got opposite effect, other military bloggers criticized Putin and claimed that he has no control over the developments.” Then Putin had a meeting that was broadcast in the inner circle of the Security Council which I believe was about damage minimization. To convey the message that he is in control. And then this happens with Prigozhin just two days later,” says Vendil Pallin. “One of Putin’s most important functions, which has made everyone loyal and aligns with the ranks, is that he has been the one who decides power struggles and ensures that there is still stability. It is now in question,” she continues. Already now, governors have been forced to go out and declare their loyalty to Putin. In addition, anti-terror legislation has been introduced in the Moscow region, which gives the Federal Security Service expanded powers. “That alone is something incredible, a powerful signal. In the past, they had it along the border areas with Ukraine, and they had it for a long time in Chechnya after 1999. It says something that they have the same legislation now in Moscow,” says Vendil Pallin.Development in Russia has also made Putin go out in a speech to the people – in which he appealed to the nation for unity.” After all, this is what he has constantly highlighted as Russia’s strength vis-à-vis others, the ability to unite different peoples in the Russian people and the Russian world,” says Vendil Pallin. “Putin talks about the 1917 civil war and also uses the word ‘smuta’ which all Russians know, it refers to the Great Trouble of the 17th century. All Russians know the references, directly connect what he warns about. Putin warns of civil war. It is not a statement of strength.”

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