Read these first:
- Power Transition in Russia? Revolution? Part 1
- (CNN) ‘I’m smiling’: Ret. Lt. Gen. Hertling reacts to Putin news; Putin takes Command.
- (CNN) Russian security service accuses Ukraine of Darya Dugina’s murder; Dawn of the Russian Insurgency?
In response to the Ukraine debacle, political power, concentrated for the last few years in Putin’s “inner cabinet”, is diffusing outward. See Exploiting Cracks in the Kremlin; Putin, the New Stalin? Opposition has enlarged with new elements, in addition to the old:
- Security apparatus, part of the extreme right wing.
- An insurgency.
- Extreme right wing populist politicians and idealogues.
- Military hard liners.
- Military pragmatists.
- Genuine political opposition. See (The Hill) Russian municipal deputies call for Putin’s resignation.
Putin’s survival depends upon:
- Balancing these elements. Until the ascent of the extreme right, with an “inner cabinet” that excluded other clans and factions, Putin displayed political acumen as a balancer. Putin has since attempted to exercise absolute power.
- Deflection of blame.
- Avoidance of triggers that might cause a fulmination in one or more elements.
- Some achievement to justify the spiraling costs.
- Reconcentration of political power in the tight, unified cabal that created the mess, or development of a new, broad, quasi-democratic base.
For more on Putin as the balancer, see Putin, rodeo bull rider. There is no opposition consensus:
- The military resents Putin’s meddling, but are themselves incompetent per Western standards.
- The insurgency declares no alternative.
- Exalting militarism as part of the fascist “bundle”, the extreme right wing has limited appeal to a military who must execute.
- The oligarchs just wish things would return to the way they were.
To the contrary, the opposition is divided by harsh, lethal fissures. Perhaps the rodeo bull should be replaced by a keg of gunpowder. The fissures present Putin with the opportunity and necessity to revive his role as the balancer. They also threaten him with the bane of Russian leadership, violent removal. If he pisses off the security apparatus, there could be Novichok in his coffee. If he meets his generals in Sochi, now indefinitely postponed, they might detain him.
This is why Putin’s dedication of a Moscow Ferris wheel is not crazy. (NDTV) Vladimir Putin Opens New Ferris Wheel As Russian Forces Receive Stunning Setback In Ukraine. It’s the trick of an old pol:
- It keeps him in the public eye, apart from individuals associated with the Ukraine debacle.
- It revives populist appeal, Putin as the “caring leader.”
- It enrages some quarters, but is not likely to trigger the powder keg.
Ukraine claims to have discovered a Russian internal social services document that supports casualties of 8000/month. This is the slow poison which will eventually waken the sleeping masses, for exploit by one or more of the above named elements. See also Medical Arguments with CIA Bill Burns (Putin) & CNN (NY Polio).
The mix portends a Russia significantly different from pre-2014 Russia, and pre-2022 Russia.
- Change might be minimized if Putin managed to demote the extreme right and resume his balancing act.
- He could also choose to temporize, in which case he might not be alive to witness the explosion.
- Continuation of totalitarian Putin entails the greatest risk of coup.
Putin should urgently implement this technique for project management:
Six phases of a big project