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Failed Coup Attempt in Russia: Biggest Challenge to Putin and the Russian Elite in Decades
Prigozhin’s Failed Coup: A Political Crisis within Russia
Outspoken Yevgeny Prigozhin’s failed coup attempt has created a political crisis within Russia and represents a deep political blow for Vladimir Putin and his regime. Prigozhin is a mercenary boss who mounted an armed mutiny with his private military company, the Wagner Group, with little resistance and an apparently muted response. This coup has shattered the myth of Russia's invincibility and overwhelming power, according to Hanna Liubakova, a nonresident fellow with the Atlantic Council's Eurasia Center and a journalist and researcher from Belarus.
Challenge to Putin and the Russian Elite
The failed coup attempt by Prigozhin, which Russia experts and political analysts characterized as "24 hours that shook the Kremlin," is the biggest challenge to Putin and the Russian elite in decades. Even though Russians are accustomed to crisis and chaos, the events over the weekend were extraordinary, according to Chris Weafer, chief executive of the Moscow-based economic consultancy Macro-Advisory. The coup raises serious questions which will lead to tensions at the upper echelons of power in Russia.
The Tense Lead-Up to the Weekend's Events
The weekend's events were preceded by Prigozhin's long-running and increasingly ferocious dispute with the country's military leadership. He accused Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and army commander Valery Gerasimov of treachery and mismanaging the invasion of Ukraine. Tensions came to a head when the defense ministry announced that all private military companies would have to sign contracts. Prigozhin refused to sign, only to lead his fighters in the ill-fated revolt last Friday.
The Consequences of the Failed Coup Attempt
The failed coup attempt by Prigozhin has far-reaching consequences for the Kremlin. It has shaken public support for Russia's operations in Ukraine and the Kremlin itself. The Kremlin will feel under immense pressure to display strength following such a public show of weakness. If Prigozhin avoids paying a heavy price for his rebellion, it will put the Putin regime in serious danger, stated Brian Whitmore, a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council's Eurasia Center.
The Struggle for Power is On
The failed coup attempt by Prigozhin has sown the seeds of a battle of succession in Russia. In challenging Putin, Prigozhin has created the possibility of a nationalist, opposition populist figure relegated to exile in Belarus. The question now is, will he stay there quietly? The risk of political change in Russia is high, given that three factors are present: a divided elite, a dissatisfied public, and an absence of fear. If fear is removed from the equation, then the regime will be in peril, according to Brian Whitmore.
The failed coup attempt in Russia by Yevgeny Prigozhin and his private military company, the Wagner Group, has sent shockwaves throughout the country and the international community. The event has exposed a political crisis and created the biggest challenge to Putin and the Russian elite in decades. It has also shaken public support for Russia's operations in Ukraine and the Kremlin itself. Moreover, the coup attempt has sown the seeds of a battle of succession in Russia, which poses a risk for both political and economic instability in the region. As a new business, the events in Russia may have implications for global markets and international relations, particularly in industries that have a strong connection to Russia. This includes the energy sector, as Russia is a major producer and supplier of oil and natural gas. Additionally, businesses with assets or operations in Russia may face increased uncertainty and risk, which can impact their strategic decision-making and bottom line. It will be crucial to monitor the situation in Russia in the coming weeks and months to understand how this event may impact global business operations.