Twitter Space: Is the Tsar Naked? Prigozhin, Putin, and the Mutiny


Is the tsar naked? GLOBSEC’s Roland Freudenstein says Putin has been caught with his pants down.

While the world attempts to make sense of the events that unfolded in Russia over the past weekend, Former Russian Deputy Energy Minister, Vladimir Milov, joins Vice President and Head of GLOBSEC Brussels Roland Freudenstein to discuss the consequences of the mutiny for Putin’s leadership and the war in Ukraine, the implications for Prigozhin and the Wanger group’s future, as well as a post-Putin Russian leadership.

Key Takeaways:

  • The march by the Wagner group represents a desperate move aimed at guaranteeing personal security for Prigozhin and demonstrates Prigozhin’s Achilles heel: his lack of bureaucratic experience and status as an outsider vis-à-vis the Russian government. However, it also shows Russia’s growing political and social instability.
  • A consequence of these events is the blatant humiliation that Putin, and Russia as a whole, now face. Putin’s façade is being revealed while the Russian military is increasingly confused. All of this provides a boost of morale for the Ukrainian people and forces.
  • Currently, Putin does not have enough troops and security personnel to ensure the entire country's security as most of them are concentrated in occupied portions of Ukraine. This gave Wagner an advantage, and although Moscow is still protected, it demonstrates security weaknesses in other parts of Russia.
  • Putin’s social contract with his people has collapsed. Economic prosperity can still be maintained, although sanctions have strained the economy. However, the stability he guaranteed is now gone.
  • Russian passivity is what brought Putin to power and gave him so much strength. However, these events may demonstrate to Russians that the only way to return to stability is to return to a democratic and accountable governance system. The spirit of resistance is alive, and a growing number of people in Russia desire peace, democracy, and the rule of law, but passivity is still dominating. The main enemy of Russians now is passivity and fatalism.
  • NATO and the West need to think ahead and develop contingency plans for this growing insecurity. There is a high risk that the territory of Russia will be insecure in the future, and due to its possession of nuclear weapons, NATO must be prepared to face more instability.