Interesting Indeed

For all I am a bit pre-occupied by the upcoming surgery, I am trying to keep up with things. I am watching Nigeria as the attack on our diplomatic convoy says interesting things.

I’m also trying to keep up with the happenings in Russia. There is a good bit going on, from smoke (the alleged upgrades to mobile missiles) to something that may be a bit more solid. I think we could see a major upheaval within the higher levels of the Kremlin in the next few months.

The source of that is, of course, Prigozhin. His feud with the MoD is in many respects as much political as operational. So much so he ended up on the outs with Vladimir and while there are some reports that there was some level of reconciliation, the response to Prigozhin’s threat to withdraw his troops from Bakhmut rather clearly indicated not so much. Nevermind that directly or by proxy he seems to be taking steps to possibly make a run at the top spot.

He very much continues to push the limits of what criticism can be made against Vladimir, and seems determined to not just push that line but eradicate it. His comments and rants are beyond current cultural norms for such, and he seems to want to go even further. That is a rather risky thing to do in Russia, particularly right now, unless he is willing to make a true play for the top.

The Washington Post “expose” of his alleged dealings with Ukrainian intelligence is not helping his position in Russia. For all the pro-forma being said by the government in public, in private far more interesting conversations seem to be happening. I do have questions about the leak, as I don’t trust anything from the Post, especially something like this.

Do I expect anything to happen in the next couple of weeks? No. Not unless someone gets a major case of the stupids. Do I think things could come to a head in regards Prigozhin in the next three months? Oh, yes. Particularly if he continues his efforts to criticize Vladimir while continuing to make behind-the-scenes preparations. I’ve talked before about the cultural norms, and by moving beyond them Prigozhin is not just alienating a lot of potential support, but ensuring opposition to any political moves in a number of quarters.

For those interested in the WP “leak” and a different (but similar) take on things, check out this from the ISW.

7 thoughts on “Interesting Indeed”

  1. Are you reading his complaints as shots at Vlad, or against Shoigu? I kind of thought that he was aiming at the Defense Minister.

    But what do I know?

    1. He’s made quite a few at Shoigu, but some of them were taken in multiple quarters as being aimed at Vladimir. He’s also reported to have been directly critical, which may have been behind his falling out with Vlad. Thing is, I can make a case that he got on Vlad’s bad side purely by accident because he didn’t realize how some of his words and actions were taken. Or, I can make a case that he’s gotten a taste for power and wants to move into the upper echelon if not the very top. Either way, I expect to see him disatanced, discredited, and probably scapegoated. It would then be an easy step for him to be removed from Wagner by corporate elements and the Kremlin having nothing official to do with it.

  2. Did you see this?

    I’ve been waiting for anyone else to talk about this, and I’m not seeing anything? Is this a non-story?

    Is it too conspiracy minded of me to think that Prigozhin could be acting as a distraction for someone else? IOW, he goes out and plays bait, while someone else takes power in the background, and then rewards him?

    Or does that kind of plotting take “trust among criminals” that just isn’t possible in Russia?

    1. The shoot down is not a non-story, just frustratingly hard to get any real data on. Which actually is a good thing as it may mean that Ukraine has kept a lid on how they did it and might be able to do it again.

      No, not too conspiracy minded, and it is indeed possible in Russia. However, Prigozhin’s ego is such that I can’t see him playing second fiddle to anyone.

      1. Isn’t Prighozin pretty much an untouchable, socially? I mean, I understand that he was not only a convicted felon in Russian prisons, but that he was what they call a petukh, a catamite, a bottom to be passed around for cigarettes. As un-bigoted 🙄 as Russia is, I don’t know if they’re prepared to go that route for the next supreme leader.

        For the same reason, Shoigu seems to be regarded as safe because he is a Tuvan “black ass” as they call their darker minorities in Russia. Nobody is going to accept a “darkie” as Czar over there anymore than they’re going to accept a pincushion who looks like a human thumb.

        Not my opinion but my judgment of what the prevailing opinion in Russia would be. What do you think?

        1. For all that Prighozhin pushes the idea that he was not raped and was above such things (cough, cough) I suspect you may be right about what happened. I don’t see Shoigu as having a shot at the top, for a number of reasons. I do see him as having the potential to be influential in who does rise if things continue on. That said, it really does look like Prigozhin is getting ready to make a play for the top. The real question is if things are going to continue on as they are, with normal politics. That, I think, could be about to change. There is not only some serious dissatisfaction with Vladimir, but there is growing evidence that there is a resistance movement to the current system that is getting increasingly active. I suspect that the drone attack on Moscow has as much or more to do with them than with Ukraine — note the very precise wording from Kiev on “direct involvement.”

    2. Does Patriot have CEC and or integrate with Ukrainian CEC equivalent? The radar far outranges the missiles, I believe, so maybe Patriot cued the Buk or NASAMS or whatever effects generator was used to schwack the aircraft.

      I’m 100% hooray for our side and Ukraine is our side, but boy, wouldn’t I like to know whatever the truth is of the various Patriot and Kinzhal engagements. As well as to know the true capabilities of Patriot added to an air defense network. Not holding my breath waiting to be told of course.

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