Staunton, Sept. 18 – Most commentators have suggested Putin is reluctant to declare a general mobilization to fight the war in Ukraine because he fears such a step would trigger massive protests. But Yevgeny Suchkov says the Kremlin leader has even more compelling reasons: it could destabilize Russia and put Putin’s future as leader in doubt.
“The entire stability of the power vertical in Russia for the last 20 years,” the director of the Moscow Institute of Electoral Technologies, “has rested on the positive view of Vladimir Putin which exists in mass consciousness.” Suggesting he has made a mistake in invading Ukraine by ordering a mobilization could call that image into question.
Russia today is “facing quite a tragic fork in the road by declaring mobilization and waging a full-scale war with Ukraine or suffering a shameful defeat and economic tragedy,” Suchkov says (realtribune.ru/razrushenie-polozhitelnogo-obraza-putina-destabiliziruet-upravlencheskuju-sistemu-evgenij-suchkov).
If either happens, and a declaration of mobilization would have an impact similar to an acknowledgement of defeat, Putin’s image as invariably successful would crumble; and the possibility would arise that in 2024 he would be succeeded not by himself as everyone has assumed up to now but perhaps by someone else.