Vladimir Putin has ruled Russia for 20 years. The country is more isolated than ever, and after just over 400 days of war, there are no signs of the war ending anytime soon.
An opinion poll that became known on Sunday by Russian polling institutes Levada And VTSIOM, showing that 80% of Russians think Putin is doing a good job as president. Many also support the war against Ukraine.
coup against Putin
Speculation about what would happen if Vladimir Putin was forced out of the Kremlin has raged since the invasion on February 24 last year. Recently, many people have been calling for a possible coup d’état in the near future.
Nationalist hawk Igor Girkin, who has long been vocally critical of Russia’s military failures in Ukraine, warns of a coup if the situation on the front does not improve.
– I am not afraid to say that we are heading towards a military defeat, – says Igor Girkin in a statement posted on YouTube.
Now he goes even further, creating the “Angry Patriots Club”, that is, a club for angry patriots.
– The media covers up the situation at the front. It has a tremendous impact on the situation across the country. We got into a protracted war for which our economy was completely unprepared. The army and our political system were not ready either, says Igor Girkin.
Of the many military bloggers, Girkin is known to be the most critical, and has expressed desires for a more aggressive war in Ukraine.
– This is definitely something to watch, but don’t wait for it to happen tomorrow. There is no doubt that there are many people in Russia who would have witnessed Putin’s disappearance. There is a lot of fuss with him, and the coup can happen very quickly if he comes first.
That’s what Ever B says. Neumann, Russian researcher and director of the Fridtjof Nansen Research Institute (FNI). He knows Russia better than others, and therefore also notes that in Russia there are no historical traditions of political upheavals.
War creates discontent
When war goes wrong in a country, dissatisfaction arises. In general, there is always a wear and tear of order in such situations, but Russia has no traditions of coups d’état. The Romanovs ruled from the beginning of the 17th century until the Russian Revolution. Then came the Communist Party, which was in power until 1989. There is no tradition of coups d’état in Russia, says Newman.
The closest you get to such a conflict is the coup against Yeltsin in the 1990s, but that was internal to the elite sitting inside the Politburo.
– The manager was evil, which is one of the reasons why they didn’t work. He was about as Russian as he could get, Newman says.
The last time there was strong military opposition to the civil authorities in Russia, according to Newman, was when Peter the Great was westernizing the military.
– That was 300 years ago. That said, it’s not that things that didn’t happen before can’t happen now, says Iver B. Newman.
Putin made the plans
Vladimir Putin has in principle been in power since Boris Yeltsin referred to him as his successor in 1999 when he resigned as president.
So he had plenty of time to plot any coup plans or other threats that might lead to his departure, Newman says.
If someone tries this, it won’t be easy.
– Carrying out a coup d’etat in Russia now would be very difficult, says Arne Bord-Dalhough, a retired lieutenant general and former chief of the defense staff.
He points out that in the communist era there was a Politburo that strengthened the power structure in all states (provinces), while Vladimir Putin is essentially a one-man government compared to Soviet times.
– Who will take charge?
– It’s much less stable. There is a lack of basic institutional structure. The question, Dalhoge says, is who should be in charge and how such a person is chosen.
Those plotting or plotting the coup will face a number of challenges and expose themselves to great risks.
– Then they had to bring the entire security service around Putin, whose only task is to protect him. Without their full loyalty, one would be quickly shot. You can’t believe you can plot a coup against Putin over a beer without reporting it further, says Dalhoug.
He points out that there is no kind of trust between anyone in a system like this, and Putin certainly has his spies everywhere.
– You wouldn’t be surprised
– It is very difficult to imagine where these coup plans will come from. There are several people who have mysteriously fallen out of the upper floor windows of Russian apartment buildings lately. I wouldn’t be surprised if Yevgeny Prigozhin or Igor Girkin fell out of this window soon. If I’m going to buy them a Christmas present, I won’t do it now, I’ll wait until closing time on Christmas Eve, says Dalhough.
According to Newman, those who are really dissatisfied with the course of the war are the middle managers in the various intelligence services. They are very well informed.
– If they could have brought the top intelligence officials with them, they could have pulled off a coup, but everyone sitting there owes Putin personally the role that he was assigned in the state apparatus. Hence, it is difficult to implement. Those criticizing Putin now come from much humbler positions and are the organisation’s foot soldiers. To take the Norwegian comparison, Ronald Bayes is in Labor, Haakon is no lies, Newman says.
If the coup were to become relevant, it is highly uncertain where Putin would go if he had to leave the country.
– Very few will confront Putin
There was speculation about this, and some suggested that Venezuela might be a country he could travel to. I’m not sure, and I think there would be very few interested in letting him in, says Arne Bård Dalhaug.
Will he be able to travel to China?
– Yes, he may be able to, but does China want him? It is very uncertain. It would be a constant hair in the soup for the rest of his life. I don’t think the Chinese authorities would want him to walk around Tiananmen Square or the Forbidden City, I think they wouldn’t be comfortable with that.
importance to the world order
The vast majority of countries have signed up to the ICC, International Criminal Court of war crimes and genocide, and it is his duty to arrest and extradite him.
– In order for the handover to be achieved, there must be a conflict that requires a solution if there is a change of power in the Kremlin. Someone has to build a solution for their security, and it’s not easy to see that done with Russia. In this situation, he says, the outcome of the war will have an impact on the world order.
– I don’t think Putin has developed any plans for such a defeat. Based on what we’ve seen so far, I think he intends to go down with the schooner. Moreover, it is difficult to know who will guarantee their safety, Arne Bård Dalhaug tells Dagbladet.
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