A clearly rattled and unsettled Vladimir Putin took to the airwaves yet again today, to give another long, rambling, almost incoherent speech reminiscent of a Trump rally. And in doing so, he gave psychologists and psychiatrists years of data to examine.
But through all of the paranoid rambling, Putin kept letting these little flashes of clarity to shine through, and to show that he was well aware of just how deep a river of shit he’s in.
He started by repeating the same old tired saw that Ukraine was committing ethnic genocide in the two breakaway republics, and actually planning an invasion of Russia. This despite the fact that Russia already had 190,000 troops massed along 3 Ukrainian borders. And he accused the US and NATO for using their sanctions to try to break the economic will of the Russian people. And proclaimed that the west was trying to split Russia into competing factions.
But then Putin kept fucking up and showing just how aware of his desperate situation he is. He called anti war protesters in Russia scum and traitors, and promising to deal with them. He went on to say that it may well be possible that the Russian republic might have to go through a great philosophical purge in order to leave a more pure, homogenous Russia population. Read as a whole bunch of innocent Russian fuckers are about to end up in a gulag somewhere.
He also took the extreme step of,for the first time, blaming the oligarchs dor Russia’s troubles. He called them leeches and profiteers, and criminals, sucking the life blood from Mother Russia. Gee. No wonder so many Russian oligarchs have suddenly decided to relocate for extended vacations in Maldives, they want to put some deep blue water between themselves and their insane patriarch.
He also ranted against treason in the Russian military. In part this may well be due to videos released back into Russia from Ukraine, with Russian POWs telling Putin that he can run, but he can’t hide. Sooner or later they will come home, and when they do, they will lead the effort to rise up against Putin.
Putin is clearly psychotic, but he’s still sane enough to realize the situation he’s in. His ranting against very real opponents in Russia shows that he has a real problem on his hands. As does his admission that the US/NATO sanctions are hurting everyday Russians, and may turn popular opinion.
So what next? What do we look for now? Well, according to one analyst, start here. Start looking for mass resignations in the Russian government. If the Chair of the Russian National Bank resigns, that’s not a good sign for Putin. It means the bank is approaching insolvency with no clear way out. If the head of the Russian Stock Market resigns, it’s in freefall, and likely can’t reopen any time soon. If generals with a passport in their pocket and a packed bag start resigning, Putin is losing military support. And watch for oligarchs in safe places to start to criticize Putin and his war. They’re the only ones with the resources to stand up to him.
All of the news coverage is on the carnage in Ukraine, but I beg you, pay attention to what happens in Moscow. Because that’s Putin’s base of power, and if there start to be cracks in his support, that’s where it will appear.