I’m not making a prediction here, but I have a strong feeling that in the next 3-6 months we’ll be seeing a communique from Moscow noting the tragic passing of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Here’s why.

There’s an old axiom, You can’t win a foreign war without popular support. In july of 1914, as German troops paraded through the streets of Berlin on the way to the western front, they were bombarded with flowers, with citizens running out to hug the troops and give them food packets for the march. At the same time in France, not only were French soldiers welcomed off with adoring throngs, even the British Expeditionary Force, when it landed and marched off to join the left flank of the french army, were rewarded with a joyous sendoff.

In the Vietnam era, we saw the largest national protests until the famous Pink pussy hat march of January 21st, 2017. And following then Secretary of State Colin Powell’s speech to the United Nations, the country didn’t even wait for the actual invasion of Iraq before widespread, large national protest marches took place. And it went on and on, and tore the fabric of the Bush government.

After February 24th, when Putin invaded Ukraine, President Zelensky called a national mobilization of all able bodied men between the ages of 18-55 to fight for the country. These men took their wives, children, and parents to train stations to head for safety, kissed them goodbye, and then queued up at their indoctrination centers to go to war for their homeland. Ukrainians who had been in the US for a decade or more slew home to join the struggle. Ukraine was unified in the defense of their country.

On February 24th, Vlad the Imp didn’t even have the balls to tell his own troops that he was sending them into combat. The official explanation on all fronts that it was a training exercise. The first time that Russian troops knew they were under live fire was when explosions started going off all around them, and fellow soldiers started collapsing to the ground. In Russia, In Russia Putin’s explanation for the sheeple was that this was a special defensive military operation to weed out the NAZI’s in Ukraine. Putin swore that no general mobilization would be necessary, and everyday Russians wouldn’t feel a thing.

And what has happened instead? Putin counted on a quick and painless defeat of the Ukrainian army before international sanctions could take effect. Instead, the Ukrainians fought like sonsabitches, the already demoralized Russian army fell apart, and the US and NATO started supplying Ukraine with the arms and weapons they needed to defend themselves.

As a result the sanctions started to kick in, and they weren’t the wussy ones Putin had counted on. Goods and services started disappearing from Russian shelves, and when the financial institutions kicked in, Russian ATM’s didn’t work for anything but Russian issued credit and ATM cards. Russians could no longer get their Big Mac’s, Nike’s, or Apple products. The pinch was on.

Then the brain drain started. Every young Russian with a college degree or marketable skills started boarding trains for Helsinki or Brussels. Russians couldn’t fly anywhere because the EU banned aircraft with Russian designations from their airspace. Worse yet, national protests started sprouting up on Russian streets. Clearly the Russian citizens were birds of a ruffled plumage.

And the hits just keep on coming. Putin has started to lose control of his own state media, where Russian pundits are declaiming the war as an already lost folly. Since the mandatory draft was announced, Russian parents have been sending their sons to far flung relatives to keep them from being swept up into Putin’s military madness. And there has been reporting of Russian adult men subject to the draft that are using hammers and crowbars to break their own arms in order to avoid conscription.

Putin’s hold is cracking. In the last few weeks western Russia watchers have noted an alarming uptick in soft Putin supporters who have suddenly committed suicide, had mysterious car crashes, or accidentally fallen off of their high level balconies. Putin is obviously cleaning house of possible opposition, and in the process draining russia of the brains and talent it will need to recover from Putin’s folly.

Putin is clearly losing it, and if nobody else notices it, the military, and his closest advisors certainly do. After all, which of them could be the next one to take a header off of a balcony, or get run over by a truck? And now Putin is threatening the use of tactical nuclear weapons to protect the new Ukrainian territories he just fraudulently took over, and which the world is refusing to accept.

Putin is a loose cannon, and not one that the Russian military can afford. Left to his own devices Putin might just be delusional enough to toss off a tactical nuclear weapon to try to turn the Ukraine debacle back in his favor. But Putin is the last of the dying breed of cold war warriors, and he has no real close proxies that have the power to step in and hold this whole mess together.

Biden is doing his job, and he’s holding NATO tough behind him. Putin is totally isolated, surrounded only by sycophants who tell him what he wants to hear, not the way the real world is. The Russian military is full of senior officers in their 40-50’s, who are not steeped in the Cold War Soviet doctrine, and they all know that the use of a nuclear weapon of any kind can only lead to the total destruction of their country. And I don’t believe that they’d let Putin pull the trigger in his mania.

If I had to compare Putin to any other current world leader, it would be the Ayatollah Khamenei of Iran. Both are old, doddering men living in a world of religious doctrine. Iran is facing unprecedented peril due to the women’s revolution, and Putin doesn’t even realize he’s facing his own personal existential crisis. It’s only a matter of time until the Russian power structure decides to take him out.



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    • If the Trump Admin didn’t do too much damage to our intelligence services, it’s likely that the CIA probably has a good idea of which Putin underling has the best prospects of replacing him. Russia isn’t Libya and Putin is not Gaddafi. No one had any idea who might replace Gaddafi because he was so mercurial in his habits and his alliances (yesterday’s “enemy of the state” became today’s “most trusted confidant” and tomorrow’s “executed traitor”). And that’s what we saw after Gaddafi was overthrown (and executed); the very enemies of Gaddafi who overthrew him turned on each other before his body was cold and none of Gaddafi’s allies (who managed to outlast him) was even able to convince other allies of his own ability to take command.

      I strongly doubt we’ll see that kind of chaos post-Putin. At least, not in Russia proper–many of the ethnic “federal subjects” (like Chechnya and Daghestan) will use the opportunity to revive their dormant independence movements. (It’s possible a post-Putin Russian Federation will see changes that give the “federal subjects” far more equality than they currently enjoy.)

      • I’ll go you one better, Joseph. I think it highly plausible that we’ll see a scenario for the post-Putin era that Kamil Galeev called “National Divorce”. He noted that a lot of cities and territories in Russia are hoarding supplies for their own, no outside trade within the country. That cutting of economic ties could easily lead to political ties being cut.

        Seriously, look at how much territory Russia claims, remember all the folks in it who’d love to strike out on their own (particularly in East Asian territories) and how much this stupid, wasteful war has depleted Russian military and law enforcement at all levels. Full-on Balkanization is NOT out of the question.

        • Even more: A lot of the guys sent to Ukraine are from ethnic minorities, especially in the territories that are now restless (and including Crimea). That isn’t a recipe for a quiet future.

  1. I suspect the Western intelligence services know full well which of the Russian Generals would be most likely to replace Putin by running a palace coup. I further suspect that they’ve let the Generals know, via back channels, that such a move would be quite popular in the West and could lead to the salvation of Russia as a functioning state. But the clock’s ticking.

  2. The Ukrainians are the hope, courage, & saviors of the west. We should be ashamed that 75 million of us are embracing the corruption, lies, and fascism of putin. When CPAC brings the fascist from Italy to inspire the party, what else do we need to know?


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