Putin ‘knows he is in trouble’ after a year-long conflict with Ukraine, says former FSB chief
Vladimir Putin is “terribly scared” as he celebrates the first anniversary of his invasion of Ukraine, says a former general in Russia’s secret services.
The Russian dictator badly misunderstood the West’s determination to confront him and failed to realize the incompetence of his army, according to the former head of the FSB’s Moscow division.
“Putin perfectly understands the state of mind of people who have lost everything through his fault,” retired General Yevgeny Savostyanov said. ‘He understands that this anger can find an outlet, so he keeps them away.
‘Putin is now terribly scared. He understands that he is in trouble,” he said.
Putin’s problems were self-inflicted by going to war, he added. ‘He Lived happily (still) with his own hands, took and ruined everything. Amazing story.’ Now, he is ‘in such a psychological state that he clings to any chance of winning’.
Vladimir Putin (pictured Thursday) is “terribly scared” as he marks the first anniversary of his invasion of Ukraine, according to a Russian secret service general.
Yesterday, Leaked documents suggested FSB misled Putin about his chances of victorytelling the despot that his forces would take kyiv in just three days and that the Ukrainians would welcome the Russian soldiers with open arms.
However, today marks one year since Putin launched the invasion. Russian forces are pinned down in the east and Volodymyr Zelensky remains president.
And while Russia has so far managed to blunt the impact of Western sanctions, Savostyanov said that thanks to Putin and his invasion of Ukraine, the Russian people “will live very badly no matter what, it’s already inevitable.”
He predicts a move by Putin and his cronies to hand over the presidency to a less toxic ally in the West but a figure who will preserve Putin’s circle of 70 years, hoping to prevent any sort of internal revolution.
He suspects this figure will be agriculture minister Dmitry Patrushev, 45, the son of Putin’s hardline security adviser Nikolai Patrushev, 71, one of the architects of the disastrous war in Ukraine.
“Patrushev’s son is named as a possible successor,” said Savostyanov, 70, also a former deputy head of the Kremlin administration who had predicted Putin’s unexpected rise to power before 2000.
Dmitry Patrushev was seen as a “suitable figure” who “will receive strong support” to control Russia. And ‘in the eyes of the West, he is not too tainted’, since he did not play a significant role in the war. Significantly, Putin praised Dmitry Patrushev in his state of the nation address this week.
However, “there was no reason for optimism” because of the “absurdity” of the crisis Russia is facing, caused by Putin, Savostyanov told the Republic in a savage criticism of Putin.
“Russia is slipping into the role of the leader of the third world, where we are only needed as long as we can give money,” he said.
‘The time will come and (in Russia) we will see empty shelves, shortages of products, impoverishment of people and technological backwardness in all areas.
Friday marks one year since Putin launched the invasion. Russian forces are pinned down in the east and Volodymyr Zelensky remains president. Pictured: Ukrainian troops drive a tank near the town of Bakhmut, the focus of heavy fighting in recent months, on February 19.
A Ukrainian squad fires one of four rockets at a Russian infantry position from their BM-21 Grad 122mm multiple rocket launcher, in the southern Donbas region on February 20.
‘One of Putin’s mistakes is that early last summer he missed the moment when the West stopped being afraid of him and would no longer withdraw.
‘The first mistake is leading a campaign against the West. The second is to believe that in Ukraine they were waiting for us with flowers and hugs.
‘Corrupt propagandists and those who mastered the big money allocated to create the ‘fifth column’ in Ukraine – this is their mistake.
The third is that it turns out that he did not know how his own army works. And this is the most amazing thing. The army was built all these years with the expectation that there would be no need to fight in the West,” Savostyanov said.
‘The calculation was that Europe is in a dire energy situation.
“He can spin however he wants, but he won’t do it without Russia, so again he will be forced to gobble up whatever is put on the table.”
Putin calculated that the West would swallow his hoped-for “quick win” in Ukraine, but he was wrong just as he misunderstood the incompetence of his army in a “tragedy of mistakes.” Russia has suffered several defeats in the past year, as well as a series of devastating blows against the Moskva cruiser and the Kerch bridge.
“When we see Russia putting private military companies at the helm, as well as having an armed criminal element, it negates the very idea of its own state,” the former FSB chief said.
Savostyanov predicts that Russia now faces a bleak future. If Putin somehow succeeds in the Ukraine, he would enact a repressive crackdown.
His angry inner circle ‘who has lost everything accumulated for 20 years’ would have to be eliminated.
‘If the (war) fails, the question will arise: either tighten the screws to maintain order in the country, or chaos. Under the conditions of sanctions and restrictions, nothing good can be expected either.’
Despite Putin’s desperation, Savostyanov called the chances of Putin using his nuclear arsenal slim. “I can’t say more than one percent that Putin will decide to carry out the nuclear threat,” he said.
‘The fundamental difference is that when I predicted who would replace (Boris) Yeltsin (it is that the) procedure was obvious. The procedure for replacing Putin, frankly, is not obvious. But I understand one thing. In the foreground, there must be a person who keeps the situation under control.
“There will be too many factors that can increase destabilization, from the (tank) economy to separatist sentiments in the regions.”
Pictured: Retired General Yevgeny Savostyanov, who has said Putin is “terribly scared” of his position amid his ongoing failed invasion of Ukraine.
This could lead to breakout attempts by some regions, he said.
‘As the federal budget is reduced, subsidies will be reduced, respectively, in the regions… and they will say: ‘Why do we need Moscow?’
He predicted an attempt to bring to power a figure who “will be able to keep the situation under control and, on the other hand, initiate reforms.”
This could be Dmitry Patrushev who, through his father, secretary of the Kremlin security council and former head of the FSB, could play this role.