The beginning of the end? | International
It is quite possible that only the end of Putin can put an end to the absurd war he launched to devour Ukraine and recover it within a sphere of Russian influence that had been dwindling since the implosion of the Soviet Union in 1991. The ambition displayed by the president of Russia in the destruction of Chechnya, in the skirmishes in Georgia, in the annexation of Crimea and in the underground war that he waged against Ukraine in Donbas since 2014 saw its culmination with this full-blown invasion by a European power that returned us to the bloodiest scenes of World War II.
But Putin's plans were cut short and what was intended to be a lightning occupation and conquest ran aground on Ukrainian territory. The unexpected courage shown by its president, Volodímir Zelenski, and his Army, with the unconditional and measured support of the West, together with the bald spots of his own military strategy, plunged the conflict into a long-term war that threatens to become a new focus. of lasting armed conflict such as those that shake the Middle East. But, a year and a half after attempting to rewrite Russian patriotic history, he now faces the biggest challenge his adventure has ever brought. And it is that, for the first time, the enemy is inside.
From the beginning it was clear that Ukraine alone could not stop the war, not even with all the weapons and aid received from Europe and the United States. Sufficient has been the patriotic effort of the Ukrainian soldiers and enormous international support, which cannot go any further in the face of a threatening nuclear power such as Russia. Only if an internal element of dissent arose could the contrived consensus created in Russia around Putin and his war be jeopardized.
Lots of brave Russians tried. But many were imprisoned, thousands fled, and all saw the enormous punishment of the dissidents in prison. For this reason, the challenge could only come from the regime. The war is Putin's and his continuation has always depended on his inner power. For this reason, the outbreak of this rebellion by the leader of the Wagner mercenary group is the first indication of internal dissent and has the potential to unleash the most anticipated question: is it the beginning of the end?
Prigozhin's troops, torn from the most impoverished Russian prisons and often against local populations who saw their criminals, murderers or rapists go to the front like heroes in exchange for pardon, have reached their limits. Used as a spearhead, in the very first line of the front where regular troops did not arrive, Wagner's men have suffered firsthand the death and mutilation that they themselves have also inflicted on the invaded Ukrainian. They are criminals and as such they have behaved at the front. Russia will not be able to separate its image from that of these mercenaries. And for this reason it is even more paradoxical that the most critical link in the chain is the one that has been broken. But it is like this.
Prigozhin's defiance, which promises to reach Moscow to finish off the Russian military high command and the defense minister, will surely end in disaster. him and him establishment Russian military are two opposite sides of the same coin that will hardly meet. But his messages reach the Russians, who are neither fully nor objectively informed, and will undermine a certain public opinion that perceives the distaste of internal betrayal. It will make a dent. And it is time to measure forces.
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Coups and revolutions do not usually have a single date. But while they measure their forces, while the front is exposed, and while Zelensky and the West can only celebrate new signs of weakness, we can say that today a new page, a new chapter, has been written in this atrocious war. The beginning of the end, hopefully and without meaning that lives will be saved, may be closer.
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