Vladimir Putin slams ‘treason’ from Wagner mercenary group
An increasing number of people have been referring to the once-revered Russian President with a brutal nickname, an expert has said.
Political analyst, author and Russia expert Mark Galeotti noted how Putin is becoming increasingly known as “grandfather” within the Russian borders.
The 70-year-old despot has been at the centre of the Russian politics since 2000, when he was first appointed president.
Prigozhin’s stunt represented one of the most threatening challenges to his power in decades, analysts agree, and have likely contributed to dent his once undiscussed image of a strongman.
In an op-ed for The Sun, Mr Galeotti wrote: “More and more people are coming to realise that the 70-year-old Putin is no longer up to the job.
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“It is no coincidence that he is increasingly known as ‘ded’, the Russian for grandfather.”
Mr Galeotti stressed that, while Putin has been weakened by Prigozhin’s stunt, he doesn’t believe he is about to fall.
Nevertheless, he added: “When the next crisis hits — anything from another mutiny to an economic meltdown — he will be in an even weaker position.
“At some point, even his closest allies will turn against him.”
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The expert went on to say the new Russian leader may turn out to be, if not a democrat, a person who doesn’t share with Putin and his inner circle the same bitterness towards the West.
The Wagner mutiny, which Prigozhin claimed wasn’t an attempt to overthrow the government, came as the Russian economy is struggling amid Western sanctions and the cost of the invasion of Ukraine.
The uprising, which followed months of verbal attacks by Prigozhin against the Russian Ministry of Defence, shattered the Russian propaganda regarding the conflict against Kyiv.
While Moscow continues to claim the “special military operation” against Ukraine serves to protect Russia, Prigozhin candidly said neither NATO nor Kyiv were a threat to his country last February.
In a speech delivered on Monday, the Russian president blasted leaders of the rebellion, albeit without mentioning directly Prigozhin, as he claimed they were playing into the hands of those who wanted to see the country “drowned in a bloody domestic strife.”
After voing to bring traitors to justice, he thanked the soldeirs who “stopped at the line”.
He added: “You will be able to conclude a contract with the Russian Ministry of Defence, return to your families or go to Belarus. I will keep my word.”
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