Thursday, January 11, 2024

Putin Creating Pre-Conditions for a Coup against Him by Setting Up So Many Different Military Forces Near the Throne, Portnikov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Jan. 9 – Russia lacks a history of military coups in large part because tsars, commissars and presidents have insisted on having a single military loyal to themselves rather than creating multiple “armies” that might be tempted to fight among themselves. But Putin is violating that tradition and putting himself at risk of a putsch, Vitaly Portnikov says.

            Putin created the PMC Wagner to fight for him in Africa and then used it in Ukraine when the regular army couldn’t achieve the goals he set for it. Then he tried to subordinate the Wagner group to the military establishment, something that led to a rising that was put down only by forces other than the regular army, the Ukrainian commentator says.

            Now, he is doing away with the military structures that he created in the occupied territories after 2014 and putting them under the super-loyal Russian Guard which increasingly has acquired the features of a regular army because the Kremlin leader has given it the right to use heavy weapons (

            But that means that there are now a variety of armies in Russia: the regular armed forces, the Russian Guard, the FSB, the GRU, and the Emergency Situations Ministry. After Putin’s death a struggle among them may determine who succeeds him. But even before his death, such a plethora of forces creates the preconditions for a coup, Portnikov says.

            Consequently, all the steps Putin has been taking to protect himself from that threat may end by making that threat even greater, something he and the leaders of these various armed groups can certainly see.

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