Former Putin Speechwriter Says A Military Coup ‘Can’t Be Excluded’ – OpEd


Fifty years ago, a group of Portuguese officers fed up with Lisbon’s “unending colonial wars” staged a coup and overthrew the regime of Antonio Salazar, Abbas Gallyamov recalls, adding that “it can’t be excluded that in some moment, their Russian colleagues will try something similar.”

According to the former Putin speechwriter and current Putin critic, “the longer the war drags on, the more obvious its senselessness becomes” and the mor it becomes clear to the Russian military that NATO has never entered the war despite what the Kremlin and its propagandists say (

That has changed the image the Russian military and the Russian people have of Putin, Gallyamov says. He is no longer “the great strategist” but rather only “an ordinary and mediocre dictator.” That makes him vulnerable because once the abilities of the dictator to deliver on what he promises become clear, people at all levels begin to think about replacing him.

One group in Russian society that is particularly appalled by Putin’s failures as a commander is the military; and it has often been the case that when the military of a country decides that the leader can’t do his job, one of the things that sometimes happens is that some of the military’s leaders begin to think about removing him.

That this could happen in Russia today reflects something else as well, Gallyamov continues. “It must be recognized thatthe vast majority of commanders in the army of an authoritarian state aren’t staunch supporters of the powers that be but rather ordinary opportunists.”

“People with real convictions don’t survive for long in such bureaucratic systems,” and so military commanders are always calculating what their options are, “just like any normal opportunist does” in trying to figure out “who will win in the end” and what various outcomes will mean for himself.

“For a coup to succeed” in Russia, Gallyamov concludes, “it will need some group that will serve as the nucleus of a new political system as well as a set of arguments that will play on as well as create the feeling that the government is losing the support of the public.” If that happens, then a coup in Russia could take place, despite the lack of a national tradition for coups.

The commentator does not say that a coup will happen but only that it can no longer be excluded as something that those thinking about the future need to take into consideration. But even saying that is a sign of just how far things have deteriorated within the elite in the view of someone who still has good access since Putin began his failing invasion of Ukraine.

Paul Goble

Paul Goble is a longtime specialist on ethnic and religious questions in Eurasia. Most recently, he was director of research and publications at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy. Earlier, he served as vice dean for the social sciences and humanities at Audentes University in Tallinn and a senior research associate at the EuroCollege of the University of Tartu in Estonia. He has served in various capacities in the U.S. State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and the International Broadcasting Bureau as well as at the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Mr. Goble maintains the Window on Eurasia blog and can be contacted directly at [email protected] .

One thought on “Former Putin Speechwriter Says A Military Coup ‘Can’t Be Excluded’ – OpEd

  • January 29, 2023 at 5:23 am

    Have you considered the ramifications of such an action. The Army would most likely turn on the FSB and exact a long-held desire for revenge – the Tukachevsky trial and execution and the military purges that followed? Where would the Wagner group stand because Chechens among others have long memories? By whom or how can a fractured society be united? The list of questions is endless. And how many Chekists will cling to power and fight. I’m afraid the estimable Abbas Gallyamov has no real solution while offering what he thinks are solutions.


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