On Saturday evening, Yevgeny Prigozhin ordered his soldiers to march towards Moscow, after claiming that his soldiers were attacked by Russian forces.
At 19:27 Norwegian time, Wagner’s commander meanwhile claimed that they had reached an agreement with the Kremlin, and that Wagner’s soldiers would now return to their bases.
But even if Prigozhin appears to have given up for the time being, his actions will have disastrous consequences for the Russian people, according to Russia expert Iver Neumann.
– There can be no doubt that we will see a more panicked Putin and a tougher regime after that, he is as good as Banker.
He believes that a regime like Putin has only one response to such situations: a more brutal use of force.
– When a system really feels threatened, there is never a question of meeting the population, it’s just about hitting harder, he told Dagbladet on Saturday evening.
Newman believes history is full of examples of this, and he singles out the Iranian regime’s brutal response to national demonstrations in 2022 as one such example.
I can’t pretend
Neumann believes that it would not be possible for Putin to hide that the war in Ukraine is not going Russia’s way.
– To continue telling the Russian people that “no, nothing happens” is now almost impossible.
He claims that Putin will take inspiration from one of Russia’s most ruthless dictators.
– We will return to the Stalinist thing, where everyone who opposes Putin is dragged under one roof. All that matters in the world is what one thinks of Putin, and all ideology and the like will be irrelevant.
Joseph Stalin is known as one of the most brutal dictators in history and led the communist regime in the Soviet Union with an iron fist from the mid-1920s until his death in 1953, and his reign was marked by mass executions and concentration camps for political opponents and brutality. Underrepresentation.
“Did the player lose his grip?”
He says that many of the powerful men around Putin may begin to question their loyalty to the Russian president.
– A large number of people around Putin must ask themselves the question: “Has the player lost his grip?” It would be a very natural question to ask.
If Putin does not respond clearly and decisively after today’s events, Neumann says, he could be in big trouble.
– The question will now also be whether Putin will still trust Shoigu and Gerasimov, when they failed to prevent this from happening.
Confirmation of loyalty
In a coup of this kind, it is about obtaining the loyalty of the army, says the Russian expert.
– In Russia you can get it through personal relationships, along the way. So Putin will now contact those close to him in the military leadership and assure their loyalty.
Referring to strategic thinker Edward Luttwak, Newman points out that it is about getting information under control as quickly as possible.
– All coups that have a chance of succeeding must block the flow of communications, for example, taking out TV towers and the like. That battle for information becomes very important.
– It could be a break
It’s hard to imagine that the crisis in Russia will stop now, says John Herbst, the former US ambassador to Ukraine.
says l BBC It is not clear what will happen next, but Prigozhin will not accept that Wagner is under the control of the Russian Defense Ministry.
– This moment can be a pause before an actual armed confrontation, says Herbst.
In any case, the West should “watch carefully and say nothing,” he claims.
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