For months, I’ve been reading speculation that the sanity of Russian president Vladimir Putin is in question. Maybe, as Daily Beast noted back in March 2022: “The more desperately Putin tries to demonstrate his authority ahead of elections in 2024, the more his grip on power may slip away.”
Or is he merely physically ill? Politico, in June 2022, addressed the various rumors, as did Grid.
Regardless, the leader’s recent actions have received severe pushback from the Russian people. His forces continue to lose on the battlefield in Ukraine. Putin announced the mobilization of 300K reservists, many of whom are ill-trained for war. This is the first such conscription since World War II.
But Russian men are fleeing the country to avoid military service. Some are paying nearly $25K for plane tickets. The land exodus is so significant that their neighbors are moving to close the borders. Also, Russian military recruitment offices have come under attack. The Kremlin appears to be in crisis.
Last year on this date, Reporters Without Borders protested to mark not only Putin’s natal day but also the 15th anniversary of Anna Politkovskaya’s murder.
What is the Russian response? Putin granted Russian citizenship to Edward Snowden. Russia is boycotting the 2023 Oscars and won’t submit a Film for the International Feature category.
Then, per the Boston Globe, “Putin has signed treaties to begin the process of absorbing parts of Ukraine into Russia, defying international law. The signing came three days after the completion of Kremlin-orchestrated ‘referendums’ on joining Russia that were dismissed by Kyiv and the West as a bare-faced land grab and based on lies.”
Here’s his BS speech at the “signing of treaties on the accession of Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics and Zaporozhye and Kherson regions to Russia.”
Still, Angela Stent writes in Foreign Policy, “The moral and strategic disaster of… Putin’s war in Ukraine has ended his imperial dreams. “
The Swanson heir
What are we to make of the pro-Russia American Right? What are they telling themselves?
Even Dick Morris, with whom I seldom agree, calls FOX News talking head Tucker Carlson’s stance “dangerous.” From Newsmax: “During the Cold War, Soviet apologists would often cite facts and claims from Pravda as if they were really true. Today, Carlson recites Russian talking points with the same sort of zeal.
“Putin really likes Carlson for doing so. Newsweek reported that Carlson’s Fox video from [a couple of weeks ago] is even being shown on Russian state media to bolster Putin’s war efforts.”
May Vladimir Putin have some bad borscht for his birthday.