Before we get too far down the road in wishing for a different outcome in that brief rebellion we witnessed in Russia, it’s good to put a couple of aspects in proper perspective.
One is that the alternative to Russian strongman/goon/tyrant Vladimir Putin was not a good one.
The commander of the Wagner military group of mercenaries is one bad dude. Yevgeny Prigozhin had led a march to about 125 miles south of Moscow before he called the whole thing off. Putin called him a traitor and vowed maximum revenge.
Then Prigozhin high-tailed it to Belarus after that country’s president brokered some sort of stand-down. Putin said Prigozhin wouldn’t face punishment after all.
That’s all the bad news. The good news is that there appear to be major cracks appearing in Putin’s ring of protection in the Kremlin, according to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
“I suspect that this is a moving picture and we haven’t seen the last act yet. But we can say this,” Blinken told CNN’s “State of the Union.” “First of all, what we have seen is extraordinary. And I think you have seen cracks emerge that weren’t there before: first in having Prigozhin raise front and center — questioning the very premises of the Russian aggression against Ukraine to begin with — the argument that somehow Ukraine or NATO posed a threat to Russia, and a direct challenge to Putin himself.”
Prigozhin’s forces have been fighting alongside Russians seeking to overthrow the Ukrainian government … and have been getting their asses kicked by Ukrainian forces. The Wagner leader is angry over the incompetence being shown by Putin and his military high command, which is why — apparently — he sought to toss Putin out via a military coup.
If it’s true that Vladimir Putin’s regime is showing signs of weakness, then it appears incumbent on those who want him removed to ensure that an actual democrat emerges to take the reins of power in the Kremlin.
Yevgeny Prigozhin is nothing of the sort.
Still, what we witnessed for about 48 hours was a remarkable attempt to unseat a wholly evil tyrant who should stand trial as the war criminal he has proven himself to be.