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Putin’s Deal: How Long Will It Last?

David Ignatius has a pretty good analysis of what went down in Russia yesterday. No paywall.

President Vladimir Putin looked into the abyss Saturday and blinked. After vowing revenge for what he called an “armed mutiny,” he settled for a compromise.

The speed with which Putin backed down suggests that his sense of vulnerability might be higher even than analysts believed. Putin might have saved his regime Saturday, but this day will be remembered as part of the unraveling of Russia as a great power — which will be Putin’s true legacy.

Putin’s deal with renegade militia leader Yevgeniy Prigozhin is likely to be a momentary truce, at best. The bombastic rebel will head for Belarus, in a deal brokered by his pal President Alexander Lukashenko, in exchange for Putin dropping charges against him and his mutinous soldiers, according to Kremlin spokesman Dimitry Peskov.

This was a real coup, until it wasn’t. For much of Saturday, Prigozhin was marching units of his 25,000-man Wagner militia toward the gates of Moscow, rolling through Russia’s Ukrainian command headquarters at Rostov-on-Don and north to Voronezh. Sources tell me the Russian FSB put up roadblocks along the way, to little effect. Putin called up the National Guard to defend Moscow.

There are conflicting accounts of how much fighting there may have been between regulars and mercenaries. We don’t know for a while, probably.

Putin had only bad choices, and he knew it. Chechen forces commanded by Ramzan Kadyrov would have been the vanguard of his attack on Wagner in Rostov; that would have been a savage mess. Putincouldn’t be sure whether regular army units would obey his orders. He was walking into a situation he couldn’t control. Putin doesn’t do that — with the exception of his insane miscalculation invading Ukraine.

What’s notable about this mad 24 hours is that Putin managed to defuse the crisis without any big military confrontation. He has been humbled by a headstrong crony, to be sure, but he’s still in control. It was a close shave, not a decapitation.

Ignatius goes on to say that the Biden Administration was talking to half the planet yesterday, especially Ukraine, telling everybody to back off and not get involved in the drama in Russia. Don’t intervene; don’t try to take advantage. You’ll make things worse. 

Now, if you want to get scared to death, try to imagine if something like yesterday had gone down while Trump was in the White House. See Fred Kaplan at Slate, When Trump Promises to End the Ukraine War, Here’s What He Really Means.

In other news, Diana Falzone of Rolling Stone reports that the Smartmatic has subpoenaed several current and former employees of Newsmax as part of their defamation suit against Newsmax.

10 thoughts on “Putin’s Deal: How Long Will It Last?

  1. You what this little episode should teach Putin, "The (former) Mad Marionette Master"?

    He really shouldn't worry about Ukraine, NATO, and the West.

    He needs to look East for real trouble.

    Putin just exposed his Siberian ass to the Chinese.

    If a rebel crew of motley Russian prisoners can march through the (supposedly) heavily armed corridor from Rostov to near spitting distance of Moscow, than how easy would it be for the Chinese at some point to send their military into Eastern Siberia, and grab the copious valuable natural resources buried beneath the rapidly melting ice over the taiga!

    China's had its eyes on Siberia for centuries.

    THAT'S where the wealth of Russia is!

    THAT'S where its future lies.

    How do you say "Vladivostok" in Chinese, Vladimir Vladimirovich?!?




  2. BTW:

    Anyone remember Mathias Rust?

    In 1987, he was a 19 year-old German kid who flew a civilian Cessna prop plane from Helsinki through the Soviet Union's vaunted air defense corridor, untouched, and landed on a bridge right near The Kremlin!



    Heads rolled.

    A few years later, the USSR fell.

    Vlad baby, you just make Xi drool!!!

    Beware of making deals for help with Ukraine from the Chinese.  You and Prigozhin aren't the only ones who can make military/security/defense deals in exchange for natural resources.

    In the words of that great American philosopher, Bugs Bunny:

    "What a dope!

    What a MAROON!!!!!"

  3. To suggest that our state department or the Heritage Foundation had many if any people more competent to wax about Russian affairs than Mr. gulag is pure folly.  Dollar for any currency my bet is on him. 

    He is an established solid gold standard.


  4. Let's put the "deal" in perspective with a comparison to an event in recent US history. 

    Suppose Nancy Pelosi had told the mob that Donald could have a second term if Donald would call off the mob on J6. (I think we came very close to something like that.) The "deal" allows Precozhin exile to Belarus, probably not as a pauper and amnesty for his followers. At the very best, Putin was not sure if his defenses in Moscow would hold.

    An article in Politico points out the significance of what didn't happen. The Russians in Rostov-on-don supported the insurrection and jeered local police. There were no air strikes on the column that stopped only 125 miles from Moscow. Putin has no scruples about shedding Russian blood and this group was in open rebellion against Vlad. Why isn't clear but Putin didn't have the force to stop Wagner or he'd have used it. Entirely as a matter of opinion, I think Putin was out of Moscow and could have eventually defeated the insurrection but possibly not until after Wagner had taken the Kremlin buildings driving the military and political leaders into hiding. Not a good look. 

    Does anyone looking at Putin's weakened state see WHY we have to prosecute the J6 insurrectionists with penalties consistent with the offenses? We identified and are punishing over 1000 offenders from all over the country who descended on DC to try to overturn the election. It seems to have dampened the enthusiasm for revolution based on the fact that Trumpsters aren't assembling to inflict mob anarchy in support of their fascist ideals. It's no accident that Trump is trying to sanitize the J6 events and make martyrs out of those criminals. Trump does not intend to accept the results of the '24 election unless he wins. 

    Jack Smith has filed a motion to delay the trial until Dec. 11, 2023. That's 11 months before the general election. Jack plays the cards close to the vest but maybe he's already dealing with the possible avenues Trump will seek in an appeal. One might be that Trump's lawyers weren't prepared because the trial was rushed through by the deep state. By being the party to suggest a more-than-reasonable delay before the defense did, the prosecution undermines that attack. Jack Smith is proposing over five months for the defense to get their stuff together. The trial would be concluded ten months before the general election.  

    The civil case in NY is scheduled for Oct. 2 – there's no reason Trump has to attend that trial. Whether if will continue on the current schedule is not known.

    But wait! That's not all! We're almost into July – in August, Georgia will have some announcements re prosecutions. IMO, Rudy is a gonner. Trump can't save him even if he won the presidency. Eastman is very possibly gonna be charged – he reportedly took the fifth on everything when he was required to testify before the GA special grand jury. That's the middle finger in the face of the jurors. If Willis wants Trump, she's got to link the conspiracy TO Trump and he doesn't put anything in writing. So I think Willis needs Mayor Bug-eyes or Eastman to turn. Follow the money – who is paying for legal representation for those two especially. Rudy is claiming to be broke. Trump may want his lawyer on the inside of their defense – he's done that repeatedly since J6.

    Nobody knows when Jack may drop the hammer on J6. IMO, he won't do it before Fani Willis. There's a trove of testimony that Willis built before Jack was invited to the party. I'd be surprised if Jack did anything to undermine Willis' prosecution – this is one time when the threat of state prosecution carries more weight with the defendants (Rudy and Eastman) than federal prosecution because if GA has a strong case, there's no possible relief even if Trump wins the election. ( A pardon from the governor is unlikely.) If Rudy and/or Eastman flip on Trump in GA, they have flipped on Trump in a federal prosecution. The lawyer(s) will want dual immunity (federal and state) I would guess. But if Rudy is represented by Trump's lawyer, he'll oppose any deal that sacrifices Trump although that's illegal and unethical.

    Things to watch: in the short term, the House leadership is gonna follow Trump's instructions to interfere with the prosecutions. Kevin and Gym Jordan may have criminal exposure for J6 so they will push pretty hard. When the rest of the House perceives that Trump is a gonner and the election results in '24 will cost them the majority unless something changes, you will see a split in the GOP in the House.

    Putin and Trump are on borrowed time. Which will fail first?

  5. That last paragraph about Smartmatic put a smile on my face. Here's hoping they bankrupt Newsmax, or at least clip their wings.

    I read that when Fox News called Joe Biden a "wannabe dictator" a couple weeks ago, they sacked the producer almost immediately. 

    • "they sacked the producer"

      Yes that happened and sadly not much coverage! Oh well just saying FJB no big.

  6. How incredibly evil-ly clever of the Biden Crime Mob to instigate this chaos in Russia as a distraction from the breaking news of Sen. Marsha Blackburn's revelation that the confirmation of the implosion of the Titan tourist sub was timed as a distraction from the news of Hunter Biden's "sweetheart" legal deal and the release of IRS whistleblowers' testimony, and – who knows what else!?!  There are no coincidences in GOP world, only conspiracies.

  7. RE your blog on who's the salmon, there is a saying about poker–if you can't tell who the sucker is after sitting down at a game for 20 minutes–you're the sucker. 

  8. "Putin might have saved his regime Saturday, but this day will be remembered as part of the unraveling of Russia as a great power"

    Maybe? Putin’s been unraveling for a while now. My opinion is the bombing of a maternity hospital early in the Ukraine invasion was the point of no return. He knows it’s over and has known that for some time. He’s killed thousands of innocent civilians? The right wing in Russia, Putin et-al operate on the same treadmill as the GQP in this country. I don't think they look too far ahead? Just win media cycles and make money. I not sure Putin is concerned about survival. If he was and was of sound mind he never would have invaded Ukraine. He must have known Russia's military was not up to the task?

    Some reporter at the state department briefing today kept asking: "Given Russia is the worlds largest Nuclear Power isn't it time to broker a deal with Russia, give them Crimea and the Dombass, is it worth risking letting the world's largest nuclear arsenal fall into the hands of someone worse than Putin?" That would be a great question if it didn’t include surrender as the only option? The real issue here is Russia’s nukes, which is why all the mindless speculation by the right-wing and our corporate media is so dangerous. Biden seems to have left plenty of room for Putin which is what he should do! Scary that Putin may be our only hope to avoid Armageddon! Could you imagine if Stump was in charge! I still like the analogy of this squabble compared to the Soprano’s, no honor from thieves!


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