June 2024

Is Putin weaker or stronger?

Tuesday/Wednesday blog

Without exception, every media commentator has claimed that the one-day Wagner mutiny has mortally wounded Putin and that it’s only a matter of time before he’s deposed.

I believe this may be an excellent example of ‘Confirmation Bias’.

Confirmation Bias is defined on Wikipedia as ‘people’s tendency to process information by looking for, or interpreting, information that is consistent with their existing beliefs. This biased approach to decision making is largely unintentional, and it results in a person ignoring information that is inconsistent with their beliefs.’

All our media want to believe that Putin has been weakened. So that’s how they report recent events in Russia. But I’m not so sure that the Wagner fiasco has weakened Putin. In fact, it might have made him stronger. Here are some of the reasons I suspect Vladimir ‘$200bn’ Putin and his multi-billionaire kleptocrat cronies will be celebrating:

  • Putin faced down the mutiny and refused to take any phone calls from Prigozhin. I imagine that’s when Prigozhin realised he’d gone too far and decided to do the Russian version of a reverse ferret and scuttle back to Rostov-on-Don
  • Putin’s people confiscated around $50m in foreign currency and gold bars from the Wagner Group’s HQ
  • the Wagner Group has effectively been disbanded and is handing its heavy weaponry to the Russian armed forces which is what Putin and the Russian military wanted to happen when they started a confrontation with Wagner
  • Prigozhin has been exiled to Belarus and is at risk of arrest if he visits any other country
  • Prigozhin’s fighters must either join the Russian army, go home or go into exile with their boss in Belarus
  • Putin never forgives and never forgets. It seems likely that Prigozhin will have difficulty buying life insurance and will either fall out of a window or eat a polonium burger in the near future

So, it seems to me to be a win for Putin. He has remained in power; Prigozhin is a (possibly soon to be dead) exile; the Wagner Group has been dismantled and any other challengers will have seen that it’s not so easy to deputinise Russia.

But hey, maybe it’s just stupid ignorant me who is suffering from ‘Confirmation Bias’?

3 comments to Is Putin weaker or stronger?

  • A Thorpe

    There does seem to be a mixture of views and none supported by convincing evidence. The only point I heard made to say Putin was weakened is the fact that he allowed this to happen.

    I’m not convinced by those who think that a weakened Russia is a good objective. It would strengthen other countries and if Putin falls who will replace him. It doesn’t mean that we will get somebody who is better for the west.

  • Carolyn

    I agree. Can’t understand why the MSM are convinced this is a lose for Putin. How can Wagner backing down so quickly be interpreted as anything but a failed coup? Fully expecting the demise of Prigozhin, possibly by poisoning, is the very near future – Belarus was not the best choice of destination either.

  • Ed P

    It’s not impossible that Putin orchestrated the whole debacle.

    To believe western media, with their wishful thinking and made-up nonsense, is to fall into the trap set for Priz.

    And the neocons celebrating prematurely in DC that their plans had worked (oh, sorry, they had absolutely nothing to do with it of course, nudge, nudge), were soon in hangover mode.

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