The war in Ukraine, hawks, and Putin’s way out
by Vladimir Rozanskij

Russia’s evolving military and economic crises are an echo of the Soviet collapse after the war in Afghanistan, and are getting more and more people to ask questions. For political scientist Gallyamov, Tsar Putin is getting weaker and looking for “a way out". The unexpected crisis with Israel is a sign that he is giving in to the Kremlin hawks. Despite his attempts to “stay in the saddle”, there is talk about his possible exile (in Tehran).


Moscow (AsiaNews) – The war in Ukraine is having an extreme impact on Russia and could turn into a global apocalypse.

Many are wondering about possible developments of the military and economic crises and one of the scenarios, with a hint to the Soviet collapse after the war in Afghanistan, would see Vladimir Putin’s departure.

Over the years and in plain view, the Russian president morphed from enlightened sovereign into a dictator obsessed with victory, or possibly defeat, at home and abroad.

One of the most lucid observers of Russian affairs is political scientist Abbas Gallyamov, who gave a long interview to the international edition of Novaya Gazeta, the newspaper of Nobel laureate Dmitry Muratov, now shut down in Russia.

He believes that Putin is "weakening more and more in front of everyone's eyes, and is looking for a way out."

Unexpectedly for example, Russia began to quarrel with Israel a few weeks ago while the grain agreement, strangely signed by the Minister of Defence, was almost immediately derailed before the ink could dry.

According to Gallyamov, the worsening of relations with Israel is a sign of Putin's giving in to the Kremlin hawks.

The political scientist worked for a few years in the presidential administration in Moscow, and then worked alongside the president of Bashkortostan, the republic in the Urals with a large Tatar community where he was born.

He notes that two months ago Putin swore that he would maintain good relations with Israel, phoning the then Prime Minister Bennett to apologise for a statement by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who spoke of Hitler's alleged Jewish origins.

Putin does not often apologise for the mistakes of his subordinates, and the aforementioned caused a certain sensation.

However, the Russian Ministry of Justice recently took action against Jewish interests, shutting down the Russian office of the Jewish Agency for Israel.[i] This decision irked Israeli leaders, as if diplomatic relations were dictated by the courts.

Yet Russia has no interest in harming relations with Israel, home to a huge Russian community. In fact, Israel has not followed the West and imposed sanctions on Russia and maintains a relative neutrality on Ukraine, to which it has refused to sell weapons.

Gallyamov believes that "Putin is no longer able to control the situation, which is getting out of hand under the influence of the siloviki, the men of the security apparatus around him.”

One sign that the dictator in the Kremlin is facing a crisis is the progressive fall of domestic support towards the special military operation, which could spark protests against the president. Under such circumstances, Putin “will give greater powers to the most radical factions.”

Even the persecution of respected figures like Gorinov, Kara-Murza, Jashin and Shishlov is the result of hardliners, as reflected by the increasingly extreme rhetoric by leaders who in the past were though as relatively moderate, like former President Medvedev and former Prime Minister Kiriyenko.

It is not a given that Putin will give in all the way to these factions. As Gallyamov notes: “Stalin also organised collectivisation and then blamed those who carried it out.”

Sometimes Putin punishes his own cronies who go too far, like Nikolai Patrushev, who was removed from the FSB and is now seen as a possible successor to the president, and is pushing for an even harder line.

In fact, according to Gallyamov, Putin “is trying to stay in the saddle as long as possible, because he is aware that his departure from the scene implies a scenario of uprisings and revolutions in Russia.”

Meanwhile, on social media, Putin's recent visit to Tehran sparked a series of jokes about his possible flight abroad. According to the political scientist, Iran would be "a more appropriate destination than others, better than North Korea.”

[i] HaSochnut HaYehudit L'Eretz Yisra'el