The DEFCON Warning System™

Ongoing GeoIntel and Analysis in the theater of nuclear war.  DEFCON Level assessment issued for public notification.  Established 1984.

Just How Much Trouble Is Vladimir Putin In?

The last few days have been alternately strange, confusing and nerve-wracking. The world watched as tension between several of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s most loyal lieutenants broke into the open, and one of them turned his guns on targets in his own country.

For now, the situation appears to have been resolved with an offer of exile to Yevgeny Prigozhin, leader of the mercenary Wagner Group, who resisted having his forces integrated into the Russian army and sent them into Russia to confront the military leadership. But it remains unclear to what extent Putin and the autocratic regime he has spent the last 23 years building has been damaged by the display of defiance, either short term or long term.

So we asked some of the most astute observers of Russia and its leader to share their thoughts on what we’ve learned about Putin in the last few days, and what that might mean for Russia — and the West — going forward.

Some think this is the beginning of the end of Putin’s rule while others think he could use the episode to consolidate his power. Some see a future of bitter infighting among elites in Russia and others see an escalation of the war in Ukraine. There’s also the complicating factor that there might be much more behind this settlement between Putin and Prigozhin than we understand now.

Here’s what they had to say:

‘Putin is vulnerable and the Russian state is decrepit’


Daniel Fried is former assistant secretary of state for Europe and Eurasia, former NSC senior director for Europe and Eurasia, former ambassador to Poland, and now a Weiser Family distinguished fellow with the Atlantic Council.

We have learned in the past 48 hours that Putin’s hold on power is vulnerable and that the Russian state is decrepit. That doesn’t mean Putin will fall tomorrow. But, faced with a military mutiny, Putin had to negotiate. Prigozhin was able to seize the city of Rostov-on-Don and drive on Moscow because, it seems, he either had tacit support in a lot of places or that a lot of people in the Russian system didn’t care enough to exert themselves to stop Prigozhin and his small force.

Read more at Politico

Ongoing Geointel and Analysis in the theater of nuclear war.


© 2024 The DEFCON Warning System. Established 1984.

The DEFCON Warning System is a private intelligence organization which has monitored and assessed nuclear threats by national entities since 1984. It is not affiliated with any government agency and does not represent the alert status of any military branch. The public should make their own evaluations and not rely on the DEFCON Warning System for any strategic planning. At all times, citizens are urged to learn what steps to take in the event of a nuclear attack.