Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has led to tough consequences for Russia. The invasion itself has not gone to plan, with Russian military suffering many losses and major cities remaining under Ukrainian control. Sanctions on Russia also threatens to drastically effect Moscow’s economy. One man who used to walk the corridors of the Kremlin believes that there will be divisions within the palace that could see Putin lose power.
Vladimir Milov, a former Russian deputy energy minister and now an adviser to opposition leader Alexy Navalny, argues that Putin’s days in office are numbered because of the backlash to his invasion of Ukraine.
Speaking to CNN, he said: “For the first time ever, we are moving in a backwards direction. We had a lot of difficulties in the 70s, and the 80s, and the 90s, but we were still somewhat opening to the world and the direction was very different.
“Now Russia is being disconnected from global markets, global financial architecture, technology, logistics, and so on.
“So, when I say devastated, I mean it.
“He can hang on for some time, but few weeks, months, down the road, many more people inside the system will begin questioning what he’s doing, ordinary Russians will express discontent with deteriorating economic situation, huge losses in the war. This is something Putin never experienced.”
Mr Milov said Russian elites will start questioning the direction of the country and if Putin is the right leader.
In the short term however, he said communication between government officials is monitored significantly, possibly even greater than surveillance of opposition.
Opponents are afraid to speak up about Putin’s policies in Ukraine.
He continued: “If like two people, three people, or more will start to discuss that Putin is taking the country in the wrong direction, this is with large certainty going to be recorded and reported to Putin.”
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Ukraine’s head of military intelligence, said earlier this month that Ukraine will defeat Russia, adding that a coup to remove Putin is already under way.
He told Sky News: “It will eventually lead to the change of leadership of the Russian Federation. This process has already been launched and they are moving into that way.”
Russia expert, Andrei Soldatov, also believes Putin’s position could be under threat.
Speaking to the Centre for European Policy Analysis, he said the Russian President was believed to be “very worried” and has tightened security in and around the Kremlin.
He added: “Does it matter? It matters a lot.
“The Russian President has been bracing for a coup for some weeks as has faced fierce criticism over his ‘special operation’ in Ukraine and he has purged around 150 of his spies over the constant failures.”