As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine drags on, speculation regarding a potential coup d’état to oust President Vladimir Putin has ramped up.
After so many long months of grueling warfare, many Russian citizens and conscripted troops have tired of Putin’s unpopular war.
More than 20,000 Russian soldiers have been verified as killed, thousands of military weapons and equipment have been destroyed or captured, and internationally imposed sanctions have crippled the country’s economy.
For these reasons, some experts suggest that a coordinated plan to sabotage Putin is not as far-fetched as previously believed.
Earlier this year, former Kremlin speechwriter Abbas Gallyamov told CNN that a coup in Russia was possible.
In the interview, Gallyamov noted that, “The Russian economy is deteriorating, the war is lost. There are more and more dead bodies returning to Russia, so Russians will be coming across more difficulties and they’ll be trying to find explanation why this is happening, looking around to the political process and they’ll be answering themselves: ‘Well, this is because our country is governed by an old tyrant, an old dictator.’”
For these reasons, the former speechwriter predicted that, “In one year, when the political situation changes and there’s a really hated, unpopular president at the head of the country and the war is really unpopular, and they need to shed blood for this, at this moment, a coup becomes a real possibility.” For many, the end of the authoritarian leader’s reign in Russia would be welcomed. However, the probability of such a coup, and of a related end to Russia’s invasion, is not all that high.
The Main Rumors
When Jack Teixiera, the former member of the U.S. Air National Guard, was arrested in March after being accused of leaking classified Pentagon documents, coup rumors once again swirled. In addition to listing locations of Ukrainian troops and casualty numbers in the ongoing war, the leaked papers alleged that a plan to oust the Russian president was underway.
The New York Times reported that an effort to sabotage Putin was described in the leaked documents.
According to an unidentifiable Russian source reportedly with access to Kremlin officials, there was a secretive plan to forcibly remove Putin from power in early March while the president underwent a scheduled round of chemotherapy. Obviously, it is in Ukraine’s best interest to fuel rumors of Kremlin instability, which is why these narratives should be taken less than seriously.
A secondary coup rumor circulated before the leaked Pentagon papers. The leader of Russia’s paramilitary Wagner Group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, has criticized Russian troops on social media, claiming that his own soldiers were responsible for some of the gains made in the town of Soledar, in the Donetsk region, earlier this year.
Prigozhin took to Telegram to channel his anger, purporting that, “They are constantly trying to steal victory from the Wagner PMC [private military company] and talk about the presence of the unknown, only to belittle their merits.”
While many would be pleased with Putin’s removal from power in Russia, there is no guarantee that the president’s successor would be any less brutal.
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Maya Carlin, a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, is an analyst with the Center for Security Policy and a former Anna Sobol Levy Fellow at IDC Herzliya in Israel. She has by-lines in many publications, including The National Interest, Jerusalem Post, and Times of Israel. You can follow her on Twitter: @MayaCarlin.
May 20, 2023 at 7:47 am
Putin retirement plan
Sofronie the Monk
May 22, 2023 at 10:40 am
@Aldol11: there’s also the Ipatiev way.
May 24, 2023 at 5:34 pm
Jan 6 coup might have prevented the war.
May 24, 2023 at 9:51 pm
Ukraine’s problem is the lack of time, which, in the absence of resources for the offensive, calls into question the prospects of the Kyiv junta.
Practically every day in Ukraine, warehouses with weapons and equipment worth hundreds of millions of dollars are destroyed, and donor countries are not able to make up for these losses – the combat capability of many NATO member countries has been called into question.
Poland has ammunition for 7 days, the British army – once the strongest on the continent, can hardly complete several brigades, Germany is able to field only three tank battalions.
Yes, and Russia, in response to the attack of the Kremlin, struck a blow at the headquarters of Ukraine, eliminating or incapacitated the commander-in-chief of Ukraine – Zaluzhny.
Zelensky generally fled the country and is touring NATO member countries, just not to return to the territory of Ukraine, because he is afraid of falling under a missile attack.
The clock is ticking, and Ukraine has no potential for a full offensive. The United States is in a financial crisis, and elections are coming and the Republican Party is using the card of military failures in Ukraine to the fullest