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Putin’s Next Ukraine Crisis: A Coup?

Russia
Russian Military Soldiers. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

Are Former KGB Officials Plotting A Coup Against Putin? – Reports suggest that rumors of a possible coup in Moscow are circulating. According to the rumors, former KGB generals and officials are exploring ways to oust Russian President Vladimir Putin from his leadership position over his failing invasion of Ukraine

Russian security expert Andrew Soldatov discussed the rumors with The Center for European Policy Analysis.

“Does it matter? It matters a lot,” he said. “The Russian President has been bracing for a coup for some weeks as he has faced fierce criticism over his ‘special operation’ in Ukraine and he has purged around 150 of his spies over the constant failures.”

According to the latest reports, the Russian FSB security service is so unhappy about the Russian military’s lack of progress in Ukraine that it has reached out to several former army officials and generals. Among those contacted by FSB agents is the Siloviki group, which comprises former FSB officers who remain active in national politics. The group is believed to be one of the main drivers behind the rumored coup. 

It comes as the relationship between the Russian president and his security service has become increasingly strained, even as he reallocated troops and resources to the eastern Donbas region of Ukraine.

While a coup is possible, several mechanisms in place make it exceptionally difficult. Read our full report on how Putin has “coup-proofed” his regime here.

How Popular Is Putin Among Russian Citizens?

According to a Russian opinion poll from the Levada Center, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s approval ratings have increased since the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine. Released on March 30, the survey showed Putin with an 80% approval rating among Russian voters. 

It was the first poll conducted by the Levada Center since the invasion began on February 23. 

That’s a remarkably different number than U.S. President Joe Biden’s approval ratings, which have remained consistently below 40% for the past several months.

And while the Kremlin’s control over the nation’s press could indicate that these polls are skewed, research has also shown that Putin’s high level of support among the Russian people is actually largely accurate.

In a research paper from 2018, researchers Timothy Frye, Scott Gehlbach, Kyle Marquardt and Ora Reuter argued that the Russian president’s approval ratings are largely accurate.

“We conclude that Putin’s approval ratings largely reflect the attitudes of Russian citizens,” the researchers wrote. 

Putin

Russian President Putin from back in 2018.

If the latest polls are accurate, it would likely make a coup against Putin much harder to pull off and convince the general public that it is a good idea. However, the Levada poll was performed in March, and since then, the Russian economy has increasingly struggled to cope with the impact of sweeping Western sanctions. 

It may just be a matter of time before Putin’s popularity slips. 

Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.

Written By

Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.

14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Alex

    May 5, 2022 at 8:20 am

    There is only one question of time: look at history and you will see that no matter what the ruler of Russia was, the people always stood up for him when they were threatened from the west. All that the West has achieved is the rallying of the entire multinational people of Russia into one fist. However, everything is as always.

    • h

      May 5, 2022 at 10:34 pm

      “Did you see that! Ukraine oppressed me, with their economic progress, democratic elections, and crackdowns on corruption. Stop oppressing me!”

      – Russia

    • Anders

      May 6, 2022 at 5:34 pm

      Alex,

      “Always” is a bit much. There was the 1992 Soviet coup d’etat attempt…

      However, Russia has a history of strong autocratic leaders with popular support. Now, we living in democracies might argue that Presidential contenders in Russia tend to have accidents, get poisoned, get shot, or end up in jail; that the media is controlled by the President; etc. So if there is no-one else to challenge the current President, then it means that there is no-one else to stand up for. What do you think?

      Best,

      Anders

  2. CK

    May 5, 2022 at 11:07 am

    Yes, a fist Putin then uses again and again to punch the Ukrainian wall.

    Don’t know how many walls you’ve punched at in your life Alex (plenty judging by your intellect) but you should know all that achieves is a busted-up hand, something you guys are demonstrating to us daily in Ukraine. How is that encirclement battle going again in Donbas?

    A plot is the only other way Putin will be removed, other than popular revolt, and the latter looks increasingly unlikely.

  3. Alex

    May 5, 2022 at 11:46 am

    Here is a clown 🙂 Most of the multinational people are for their leader, and the Bandera Nazi hopes for some kind of conspiracy 🙂

  4. CK

    May 5, 2022 at 6:53 pm

    Speaking of clowns, day 71 of my special operation in Ukraine.

    Today I had to apologise to Israel.

    I remain a master strategist.

  5. Vladolph Putler

    May 6, 2022 at 12:25 am

    Coup against Putin? Yeah, I’m with Alex. That’d suck.

    I mean every day Russia is driving their military hardware off a cliff like flocks of lemmings. Every day they do something stupid like forget to turn the radar on before the get blasted to pieces.

    And every day the brainwashed trolls and morons of Russia, cheer the destruction of their nation. Who am I to argue. Lemme get my party hat on.

    Yay! WOOoooOOO! You go Putin! 😀

  6. Alex

    May 6, 2022 at 7:53 am

    200 peoples in Russia support their country and they do not care about the Anglo-Saxons and Bandera pigs. If we study history, we will see that Russia has always beaten the entire united West. This is their history and tradition. Once every 80-100 years, the West united against Russia and then whined for mercy. Nothing changes.

    Duda said there would be “no more” borders between Poland and Ukraine.
    According to the President of Poland, in the absence of borders, the peoples of the two countries will be able to live together, “building together their common happiness and common strength.”
    “Between our countries – Poland and Ukraine – there will no longer be a border. This border will not exist. So that we live together on this earth, building and rebuilding together our common happiness and common strength, which will allow us to repel any danger or any possible threat.”
    And yet we Poles act smarter. We are not at war, like Russia, but we will gradually take what is ours, and let the stupid Bandera pigs think about our friendship 🙂

  7. CK

    May 6, 2022 at 8:46 am

    What happened Alex, re-using material from a few days ago? You guys run out of papers and printers in St.Petersburg now?

    You guys hear the Admiral Makarov frigate now also appears to be on fire?

    Imagine losing all these ships in your navy, in a landwar, against a country without a navy itself.

    Maybe they were worried the Moskva was feeling lonely?

    • Anders

      May 6, 2022 at 5:38 pm

      CK,

      It is going so well for the Russian military – they are “on fire”…

      Anders

  8. Alex

    May 6, 2022 at 9:31 am

    And now let’s hear the truth, not Bandera’s Nazi fakes:
    The Bandera Nazis of Ukraine rejoiced that they had arrested the Ukrainian independent journalist Anatoly Shariy in Spain. Anatoly Shariy moved his member on the lips of the Bandera Nazis and is already at large! This is democracy in Europe, and not lawlessness like you have in impoverished Ukraine, Bandera pigs 🙂

  9. Dave Nelson

    May 6, 2022 at 1:40 pm

    All Putin’s successor needs to do to dispel Putin’s popularity is to publish how many RF citizens died because of the “Special Operation”, how many AFV’s were destroyed, how many aircraft (all types) got shot down, and how many rubles were wasted.

    The truth will come out anyway so why not put it to its best use?

  10. Alex

    May 7, 2022 at 10:29 am

    The US is losing the war in Ukraine. The whole world is watching how Russia beats the Anglo-Saxons.

    • CK

      May 10, 2022 at 10:18 am

      This comment is going to age so well.

      Ah, the truth.

      A concept as far removed from Alex, as Sveta’s love for him, or as the idea of victory in Ukraine is to Putin.

      There’s a certain beauty in that symmetry, I suppose.

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