The Russia expert and investigative journalist Christo Grozev sees the political end of the Russian ruler Vladimir Putin near. “Surprisingly, it could happen as early as summer or when sanctions hit Russians’ daily lives and the ruble drops in value, which could take five to eight months,” Grozev said on the sidelines of a conference in Vienna. . How it goes after Putin opens up as there is a power struggle between hardliners and moderates.
“I’m struggling to find a scenario where he would stay in power,” Grozev said in an interview with APA when asked about Putin’s political future prospects. “There is no instance in the history of anyone who would have imposed such high costs on his elite and remained in power,” he said on the sidelines of the international conference “Time to Decid Europe Summit”.
“The further up you go, the worse the mood”
At the same time, Grozev stressed that Putin’s fall would not come about as a result of a popular uprising. “It will come from the elites.” They are not exposed to disinformation like the population “and know the real numbers and prospects,” said the Vienna-based Bulgarian investigative journalist. “The higher you climb the pyramid of power, the worse the mood is,” Grozev summed up the mood in Russia.
The further course of the war in Ukraine “depends on whether Putin takes the political risk of announcing a full mobilization,” Grozev said. “He needs about a million soldiers to turn things around.” Western and Russian military experts assume that without mobilization the Russian military will continue only a war of attrition with little movement until Ukraine can then go on the offensive itself. Experts consider a general mobilization unlikely because it would be highly unpopular with the population. In addition, Putin should officially declare a state of war. Until now, there is still talk of a “special operation”.
Ukraine on the rise?
Grozev believes Ukraine could recapture some of the pro-Russian “people’s republics” in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions by the end of the summer. Putin had recognized the two separatist areas created in 2014 as independent states just before the war broke out in February, so that he could attack the neighboring country at their request.
Grozev stressed that Putin was responsible for the war. “People close to him said it was an obsession of his. He took the advice of the hawks, but made the decision himself.” Now there is a power struggle in the Kremlin between “hawks” who favor tougher war action and moderate “pigeons” – with an uncertain outcome.“Regime change can happen in two directions,” explains Grozev, “I’m not sure who will win.”
Power struggle in the elite
There are lobbies within the camp of Secret Service and Army agents – the siloviki – who advocated the use of chemical weapons and mobilization from the start of the war. These “think Putin did everything wrong,” Grozev said. On the other side are the oligarchs, who suffer from Western sanctions. They are trying to gain access to the siloviki to convince Putin to end the war, Grozev said. The deaf have the opportunity to stand up for themselves because they have a higher level of development, more opportunities for political manipulation and also the support of the West.
The founder of the disclosure platform “Bellingcat” has been dealing with the Putin regime and its criminal activities for several years. Grozev gained international fame when he used intensive data research to track down the killers after the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny. On a phone call under a false identity, Navalny was able to get one of the perpetrators to describe how the poison attack was carried out.
I’m Wayne Wickman, a professional journalist and author for Today Times Live. My specialty is covering global news and current events, offering readers a unique perspective on the world’s most pressing issues. I’m passionate about storytelling and helping people stay informed on the goings-on of our planet.