Russia Can Finally See that Putin’s ‘Days Are Numbered’

More than two decades after he came to power, President Putin’s grip on the Russian people is finally beginning to crumble.

The war in Ukraine has opened up a credibility gap, and many Russians feel for the first time that they can’t trust what their leader is saying. Combined with severe economic sanctions, reallocation of funds to the war, and nationwide conscription, the cost of this modest victory is becoming increasingly difficult.

Even loyal Russians now have plenty of questions about Putin. The Kremlin is running out of ways to cope with the pressure. In the past, a scripted look or a half-naked staged photo shoot was enough to get the local media back on side. Sometimes, they even gave independent reporters a chance to ask Putin a sensitive question or two — which he would quickly and vehemently deny.

But every recent attempt by Putin to portray himself as a strong and decisive leader has failed miserably — even inside Russia — and nine months into Ukraine’s devastating war, the Kremlin is running out of ideas. They even canceled Putin’s big annual press conference for the first time in years.

Putin could have ruled longer if he hadn’t started this war, but now his days are truly numbered

Yulia Galiamina

“Like any other nation, Russia wants to live a stable life without being ashamed of our Moscow leadership. Before the war, Putin assured us a stable life, but now he tells us that life in Russia will be better only in ten years. “I like Putin before the war, my son is an IT technologist, we like IT opportunities in Russia; But now brains and talent are all fleeing the country, my son is gone, and I can’t wait another ten years for a better life.

Putin’s rock system is crumbling.

Russian chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov, an outspoken critic of the Kremlin, told The Daily Beast that we are already entering Putin’s endgame. “Russia has clearly won the war, which will lead to the collapse of the regime, but the question is how many more people will die before that happens,” he told The Daily Beast.

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“Putin never played chess, the rules, he played poker,” Kasparov said. “Putin is an absolute villain, he has gone mad after 22 years in power; But he must understand in his bones that he cannot rule Russia when the war is over and dozens of angry soldiers return home with weapons they feel have been stolen.

Tatiana Yashina, 62, the mother of jailed opposition leader Ilya Yashin, said last week marked a turning point in Putin’s rule.

“Putin is collapsing,” she told The Daily Beast. “He’s obviously lying in front of the cameras – no confidence in his voice.”

Yashina had particular reason to focus on Putin’s state of mind when her son was sentenced to eight-and-a-half years in prison last Friday, but how the president has handled the fallout from his unpopular imprisonment for telling the truth about the war. Ukraine – Invasion of the general population.

Veteran Kremlin-backed reporter Andrei Kolesnikov confronted Putin over Yashin’s “beastly” sentence in a video that went viral. Yashina said: “Shaki Putin … lied that he didn’t know my son, then he lied that he didn’t know anything about the sentence.”

Putin’s paranoia no longer convinces his domestic audience.

Hundreds of independent Russian and foreign journalists have left Russia in the past nine months, but some who remained, including BBC journalists, continued to report on a commander-in-chief losing thousands of soldiers, as well as some others. The main regions of Ukraine. Last week the BBC’s Russian service and local publication Mediazona confirmed the names of 10,002 Russian soldiers killed in Ukraine. The BBC says the actual Russian death toll “could exceed 20,000 and the total number of irreversible losses could be as high as 90,000”.

Both independent and Kremlin-controlled polls show Putin has lost support for his war, with less than 30 percent of the country wanting it to continue. “If Putin hadn’t started this war, he would have ruled longer, but now his days are really numbered, he’s collapsing and he clearly knows it,” Yulia Galiamina, an opposition politician in Moscow, told The Daily Beast. Galiamina has been a victim of police violence and has been arrested several times but refuses to leave Russia, instead encouraging more people to stand up to Putin.

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Galiamina leads a movement of more than 150 Russian women called Soft Power. “Many of our women are mothers, who see problems from the point of view of the future of our children without Putin in Russia, which will finally be free.” Galiamina and Soft Power activists are collecting signatures of people speaking out against Putin’s mobilization of Russians. “We have collected more than 500,000 signatures that we are going to send to the Kremlin, and we understand our collective responsibility,” she added.

This is a dead end, his plan failed in Ukraine

Olga Bychkova

According to recent polls, Putin is still supported by about 79 percent of Russians, but that confidence is waning. Studies by Levada, an independent Russian think tank, show that the number of Russians who believe their country is moving in the right direction has already fallen from 64 percent in October to 61 percent in November.

Every attempt by the Kremlin to rebuild Putin’s image as the superman seems to generate more jokes online.

Earlier this month, his on-location action man recorded a clip of Putin driving over a bomb-damaged bridge into Crimea. It should show how fit and healthy he still is at 70, but online commentators were more obsessed with the car he was driving. It’s not one of the Russian-made Ladas he promoted earlier – which motorists curse for “breaking down more often than the cheapest foreign brands” – but a German-engineered Mercedes.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov had to go on the record clarifying that the Mercedes was on hand and was not an indication of Putin’s automotive preferences.

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More damagingly, his trip to the internationally recognized territory of Ukraine, now annexed by Russia, came as three explosions hit a strategic airfield in the homeland, 150 miles from Moscow, in the same week. The drone strikes made the Russian air defense and commander-in-chief look miserable, even in the local media.

Last week, the Kremlin published an image of Putin with a glass of champagne in his hand, which immediately went viral. Many stories about “drunk Putin”.

The prevailing mood is becoming very difficult for the Kremlin to navigate.

“The Kremlin canceling Putin’s big press conference is a sign: they realize how hopeless their situation is — this is a dead end, his plan has failed in Ukraine,” noted Kremlin watcher Olga Bychkova told The Daily Beast. “They are still standing by Putin because they are finished without him. But now they can’t write a script, he can’t even think of questions and answers.

The latest debate among Putin’s critics is whether Ukraine’s disaster is the fault of one man or the entire Russian society. Putin took the whole country with him when he annexed Crimea in 2014 and is now a prisoner in exile in London, former oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky suggested to Radio Liberty last week. “War 2020 is purely Putin’s invention; On February 23, Russian society received a shock,” he said.

The question now is how bad the situation will get.

Kasparov, an ally of Khodorkovsky, thinks the US now has an opportunity to create a conflict between the president and his senior lieutenants, such as Nikolai Patrushev, the secretary of the Kremlin’s Security Council. He says the United States should say what would happen if Putin were ever allowed to push the nuclear button. Kasparov said he hoped CIA Director William Burns would “whisper something in Patrushev’s ear” at a meeting between security chiefs in Moscow last month.

After years of national acclaim, Putin is increasingly isolated.


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