Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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The Wagner mutiny has made Putin stronger


WITHOUT exception, every media commentator has claimed that the one-day Wagner mutiny has mortally wounded Vladimir Putin and that it’s only a matter of time before he’s deposed.

I believe this may be an excellent example of ‘confirmation bias’, defined on Wikipedia as ‘people’s tendency to process information by looking for, or interpreting, information that is consistent with their existing beliefs. This biased approach to decision making is largely unintentional, and it results in a person ignoring information that is inconsistent with their beliefs.’

All our media want to believe that the Russian president has been weakened. So that’s how they report recent events in Russia. But I’m not so sure that the Wagner fiasco has weakened Putin. In fact, it might have made him stronger. Here are some of the reasons I suspect he will be celebrating:

·         Putin faced down the mutiny and refused to take any phone calls from Prigozhin. I imagine that’s when Prigozhin realised he’d gone too far and decided to do the Russian version of a reverse ferret and scuttle back to Rostov-on-Don.

·         Putin’s people confiscated around $50million in foreign currency and gold bars from the Wagner Group’s HQ.

·         The Wagner Group has effectively been disbanded and is handing its heavy weaponry to the Russian armed forces. This is what Putin and the Russian military wanted to happen when they started a confrontation with Wagner following the Wagner boss’s outbursts of criticism of the Russian leadership.

·         Prigozhin has been exiled to Belarus and is at risk of arrest if he visits any other country.

·         Prigozhin’s fighters must either join the Russian army, go home or go into exile with their boss in Belarus.

·         Putin never forgives and never forgets. It is likely that Prigozhin will have difficulty buying life insurance from now on.

So, it would seem to be a clear win for Putin. He has not just remained in power but has seen off a thorn in his side; Prigozhin is a possibly soon to be dead exile. He’s flushed out his opponents, pushed the Ukrainians’ fifth columnists into the open and gained 25,000 good soldiers.  The Wagner Group has been dismantled and any other challengers will have seen that it’s not so easy to dePutinise Russia. 

But maybe it’s just stupid ignorant me who is suffering from ‘confirmation bias’?

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David Craig
David Craig
David Craig's latest book THERE IS NO CLIMATE CRISIS is available as a paperback or ebook from Amazon

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