Putin's power vertical has become more unstable, but developments in Russia are unpredictable - expert

  • 2023-06-26
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - Political analyst Karlis Dauksts told LETA that the development of events in Russia after the military mutiny organized by Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the Russian mercenary group Wagner, is currently unpredictable, although the power vertical of the leader of the Russian regime Vladimir Putin has become more unstable.

Prigozhin this weekend staged a military mutiny, which at times was even seen as an attempt to overthrow the authorities in Russia, but it ended without major shocks, with the militants leaving the captured cities and the group's leader going into "exile" in Belarus.

Dauksts told LETA that it is difficult to assess what really happened in Russia - whether it was a real uprising or just a theater played out in the interests of someone - and it is impossible to predict what will happen next. "Political scientists are not able to predict what will happen in Russia. That is for psychiatrists to do, because the decisions of those working within the regime are not guided by logic," said the expert, somewhat ironically.

In his view, Russia is becoming increasingly chaotic and more scratches and cracks are appearing in Putin's power vertical. There are many different interests at play in the country - purely private, financial and geopolitical - and it is very difficult to say what was behind Prigozhin's actions in this particular case.

Dauksts noted that there are many theories, but they cannot be confirmed at the moment, for example that the Belarusian regime leader Alexander Lukashenko was dragged into the settlement of the conflict by Putin's initiative and that the aim was in fact to send Prigozhin to Belarus as a kind of agent. The elite of the Belarusian army officers fear and hate Prigozhin as much as the leadership of the Russian army. There is also a version that Lukashenko himself has been "feeding" Prigozhin for some time in order to have a tool to advance his geopolitical interests.

All in all, however, it is quite clear that both Putin and Prigozhin are currently struggling for their purely physical survival, while trying to preserve as many of their financial assets as possible. Putin has lost some of his legitimacy, but whether Prigozhin will lose Wagner completely is too early to say.

The expert noted that Prigozhin has recently offered slogans that appeal to the Russian masses: fight the rich and stop the theft of the country.

Dauksts assessed that Putin's power vertical is not stable at the moment, as evidenced by the large number of private armies that have been created, even by regional governors, thus proving that Putin's concerns about the disintegration of Russia are well-founded.