Prigozhin Mutiny Showed Putin Couldn’t Mobilize Much Of Anything – OpEd


Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the Prigozhin mutiny is that it showed that Vladimir Putin wasn’t able to mobilize much against it, Konstantin Sonin says; and as a result, it inflicted a serious blow to the reputations of Putin himself, the Russian military, and the special services, “above all the Federal Protection Service and the FSB.”

The Russian scholar now at the University of Chicago points out that the Russian military surrendered Rostov and the headquarters of the Southern Military District to Prigozhin “without a fight” and the security agencies showed that while they are good at arresting intellectuals, they aren’t much good at protecting the state from real threats(

But the one who suffered most from this mutiny was Putin because “neither in Rostov, nor in Voronezh, nor in Moscow did anyone come out to protest this challenge to his power” and the politicians who might have been expected to rally to his side with public declarations at least kept silent for some hours.

That “pause,” Sonin continues, “clearly indicates that the Russian political elite is prepared for the replacement of the leader.” More than that, it shows that they “are prepared for such a change to take place by force.” Prigozhin did not launch his campaign against Putin but Putin has been hit and hit hard.

Putin may or may not remove Shoygu and oust the generals Prigozhin wanted fired; but “what Putin cannot do is ‘mobilize the country’” and force his officials to stop skimming off money from government contracts because those arrangements are in fact “the essence of the Putin regime.

“Demanding Putin change the way the country is run and the way the war is wages is the same as demanding that he resign,” Sonin says. “If Prigozhin wanted more from Putin than just the resignations of Shoigu and Gerasimov, there was no way he could get that.” And thus what the mutiny shows is the degradation of the Putin regime and another step toward its end.

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 “Prigozhin Mutiny Showed Putin Couldn’t Mobilize Much Of Anything – OpEd

  • July 4, 2023 at 2:32 am

    “Demanding Putin change the way the country is run and the way the war is wages is the same as demanding that he resign…” Absolutely right. The corruption extends through the power vertical all the way through the non-existent sergeants in the Russian army.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *