Staunton, Feb. 17 – The biggest reason why Vladimir Putin will not declare the total mobilization that some want and others fear is that he is well aware that he lacks the characteristics needed to be a successful wartime leader, according to Russian commentator Igor Eidman.
According to the commentator, Putin is “an old, lazy and cowardly sibarite, and not a passionate leader,” and because of that and his awareness of his strengths and in this case weaknesses, he “does not want and cannot play the role of a leader of a nation fighting a total war” (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=63ED25C2F2E46).
“Successful leader, even for a short time of countries at war – and it doesn’t matter whether they are heroes or criminals – have qualities which Putin absolutely lacks,” Eidman says. They “are able to inspire the nation with their own enthusiasm and motivate people to self-sacrifice in the struggle with the enemy.”
Zelensky, Churchill, Hitler, Mussolini, and even Stalin had such qualities, but Putin doesn’t. He can’t generate enthusiasm and is capable “only of making pitiable excuses, abdicating responsibility, and trying to reassure people that everything isn’t so bad especially as we haven’t started yet. He isn’t the commander in chief but the chief justifier and calmer.”
Moreover, Eidman continues, “war requires the rotation of personnel, prompt promotion of those who have shown themselves effective under military conditions, both in the army and in the civilian sector.” Putin can’t do that because he is too attached to his “thieving old friends and retains them even when they obviously cannot cope because he doesn’t trust anyone else.
At the same time, any “war requires quick, bold and energetic decisions” for which “the leader must not be afraid to take responsibility.” But “Putin categorically doesn’t know how to do either.” He drafts things out and then “tries to shift responsibility for them to anyone” but himself.
The current Kremlin leader is thus “incapable of becoming a leader in a total war.” Indeed, he began the war in Ukraine only because he had become convinced that it would last only a couple of weeks and that no mobilization would be required. “He was not ready to fight long and hard.”
But if he admits defeat now, he would “lose not only the presidency but possibly his freedom or his life. And so he is trying to do the impossible, to simultaneously wage war and maintain the current system of power that has been tailed to his personal qualities and needs, one completely at odds with what a real war requires.
Putin is trying to do the equivalent of running and standing still “at one and the same time,” Eidman argues. And because that won’t work, his balancing act “can end only in Putin’s own collapse and that of his regime.” But at a minimum it means that he won’t declare a general mobilization as that would hasten just such an end.