How is the balance of power distributed in Moscow? For historian Timothy Snyder, one thing is certain: Putin is not in full control and is showing signs of losing control.
Moscow – How firmly is Vladimir Putin still in the Kremlin saddle? There is much speculation in Europe and the rest of the world about the power structures in Moscow. Many consider the course of the Ukraine war to be dangerous for Putin. The renowned historian Timothy Snyder stated in an interview with t-online however: “Unfortunately, our knowledge of the power structure in the Kremlin is limited.” Nevertheless, one thing is clear to him: Putin does not rule Russia unreservedly.
Putin under pressure? “He’s showing clear signs of losing control”
“Putin is showing clear signs of a loss of control,” says Snyder t-online. The Kremlin dictator is being put under pressure from many sides and has also made a few mistakes. The Russian president is being attacked in particular by hardliners. On the one hand there are those who do not consider Russia’s warfare in Ukraine to be brutal enough. In their view, Russia could simply end this war and win if it ever really cracked down.
On the other hand, there are also those who are critical of the high costs and investments associated with the war in Ukraine. “Putin has to maneuver between these two poles of public opinion,” says Snyder.
Ukraine War: Putin’s Signs of “Loss of Control”
A possible loss of control by Vladimir Putin is evident from the description of the war situation. The long-propagated image of the “special operation” is counteracted by the more than nine months of fighting. Furthermore, the partial mobilization announced by Putin is in blatant contradiction to the image of the “special operation”. Ultimately, declaring the annexation of some parts of eastern Ukraine was also a mistake, because: It wasn’t long before Ukrainian troops were able to recapture Cherson and thus disproved Russia’s narratives.
Ukraine war: use of nuclear weapons “very, very unlikely”
Many worry that nuclear weapons will be used if Putin feels his back is too much against the wall. However, the historian dismisses this possibility: “A Russian use of nuclear bombs is very, very unlikely.” Such threats from Russia are given too much attention, says Snyder. No military advantage would accrue to the Kremlin from the use of a nuclear weapon.
In addition, Moscow not only has to justify itself to the West, with which it is already largely in conflict. China also looks at Russia’s actions in the same way. And Beijing has nothing to do with the use of nuclear weapons. Ultimately, any use of nuclear weapons would be the final admission that the war in Ukraine was lost. (LP)
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