By Peter McLaren-Kennedy • 19 March 2022 • 22:23
Putin could be ‘reaching his end date’
The less than successful invasion of Ukraine and the growing paranoia of Russian President Vladimir Putin could be a sign that he is reaching his end date according to a foreign policy analyst.
Putin who has been Russia’s leader for more than 20 years has shown signs of growing increasingly paranoid over his position and is isolating himself more and more according to Dr Leon Hartwell.
He says: “I think a lot of people who surround him are also scared to tell him the truth because of how he may react, which may also be why we’ve seen such a failure in many ways of Russia’s actions on the battleground.
‘That image of Putin sitting at the very long table is sort of symbolic of the isolation that he is experiencing and the disconnect between him and many of the people who could potentially advise him.
“I think given how long he’s been in power – over two decades – we are going to see an increasingly isolated Putin.”
Some have suggested the bizarre long table meetings is an attempt to look powerful and intimidating, an odd move but one that maybe gives some insight into what working with might be like.
Dr Hartwell, a Sotirov Fellow at LSE’s IDEAS foreign policy think tank, says it is ‘not unlikely’ that the widely condemned attack on Ukraine “could be the beginning of Putin’s downfall.
“I like to say that politicians are like milk, they all have an expiry date, and I think Putin’s expiry date has come. The problem with milk is once it becomes sour, no one wants to drink it. He’s going to be 70 in October and he’s been in power over 20 years.
“You can’t be a dictator for that long and not become more and more paranoid, especially given that he was a spook.”
Dr Hartwell says reports of figures within Russia’s FSB intelligence service warning Ukraine’s President Zelensky of planned assassination attempts “shows major divisions in the Kremlin” about the war.
“Putin came from within the intelligence structures, so hearing about possible leaks from the FSB you could imagine would be quite devastating.”
Speaking to the Metro Dr Hartwell said Putin will have to do things to remain in power according to, the first: “He will have to make increasing use of bribes to keep key figures supporting him.
“Two, he will have to increasingly make more and more use of intimidation as: ‘The Russian economy is being cut off dramatically so it’s going to become harder for him to reward key figures who can help him to maintain his rule.
“JP Morgan is now forecasting a 12.5% decline in the country’s economy. Basically that means going back to 1990 levels, and that is bad for a man who ran on a ticket of restoring Russia’s past glories.
“He doesn’t have that much access or leeway when it comes to bribes anymore, so I think what that entails for Russia is it is going to slip rapidly down a totalitarian path.
“I would even go as far as saying the impact of that is that Russia is incrementally moving from an authoritarian regime to a totalitarian system.”
The view that Putin could be ‘reaching his end date’ is potentially good for the Ukraine, however it could also be bad as the country could return to the cold war era of mistrust and soured relations.
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Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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