A. Kubilius. Subjective analysis

2023-06-24 |

The international media are asking for comments on what is happening in Russia. I have put together some highlights of my analysis:

– Prigozhin’s “rebellion” is not just a mere showdown between two “thugs”, which will supposedly change nothing in the Kremlin;

– Prigozhin’s “rebellion” is not a clarification of personal relations, but a premeditated and planned action by Prigozhin;

– Prigozhin has consistently built up his image over the last six months, with his plain-talking and thuggish behaviour, as a leader close to ordinary soldiers in the trenches and not to “cabinet generals”. In that time, he also set up mobilisation centres for the Wagner Group in all the regions of Russia, and personally visited and appeared in a large part of Russia in preparation for the forthcoming “revolt”.

– In recent days, in preparation for the “revolt” and as a precautionary signal to the West, and apparently sensing the changing mood in Russia, he has issued a total criticism of the Kremlin’s decision to go to war against Ukraine;

– Prigozhin deliberately targeted only Shoigu and Gerasimov at the beginning, without touching Putin, who is still popular with the Russian people, but after Putin declared war on Prigozhin, the latter said without hesitation that Putin had chosen the wrong side. And so Prigozhin will go to war against Putin, but it will be Putin, not Prigozhin, who will have started this war;

– Prigozhin has deliberately and with long preparation chosen a path in which he will either prevail or be completely crushed. Those with a bit of sense usually go out on such a path with everything well thought out: both how to achieve victory and what allies to have on the way. The question that we do not yet have an answer to is: who are Prigozhin’s supporters and allies, both among the military and among the business and political elite. This will soon become clear. The army is so far largely non-resistant.

– Prigozhin’s “rebellion” is a consequence of Putin’s war against Ukraine. However this rebellion ends, there will be no end to it, neither in the Kremlin nor in the whole of Russia. Putin, and not any NATO or Ukraine, is Russia’s own worst enemy. Prigozhin has already realised this; retired General Leonid Ivashov, speaking on behalf of the Retired Officers’ Association, realised it last year, before the war started;

– less than three weeks ago, we organised a conference in Brussels on the future of Russia: we discussed with the Russian opposition what will happen after Putin; what will happen “the day after” the collapse of the Putin regime. That is why the conference was called “The Day After”. This “day after” is coming much sooner than we imagined; it could come as early as tomorrow to Moscow. A test for the Russian opposition: Khodorkovsky is calling on ordinary Russians to support the rebellion and overthrow Putin’s regime, regardless of what anyone thinks about Prigozhin;

– It is too early to speculate what Russia will be like after the revolt. So far it does not look like the turmoil will last long. Putin does not have an army nearby Moscow to defend him. If Moscow and the Kremlin regime fall tomorrow, Minsk (Lukashenko’s regime) will fall the day after tomorrow. It is safe to assume that the Russians no longer want to go to war, either with each other or with Ukraine. And this is a victory for Ukraine!

The geopolitical reconstruction of the eastern part of Europe is gaining momentum. Let us be ready!