Vladimir Putin’s Former Underlings Are Stunned Over How His ‘Superman’ Image Disintegrated: ‘He Is Really Terrified’

Vladimir Putin’s decade is not going as he planned. After Ukraine dared to not fall to Putin’s troops, his war has spiraled into a deadly affair for Russia. And to add further insult to injury, not only have world leaders been mocking his shirtless photos, but the Russian people are fending through an economy left in tatters. Meanwhile, his current team and other assorted underlings are said to be privately freaking out over his international arrest warrant over fears that they’re next. Morale must be pretty bad these days at the Kremlin.

The Daily Beast has spoken to some ex-Kremlin associates who are, quite frankly, thrilled that they’re not part of this mess. Robert Schlegel, an ex-member of a “pro-Kremlin youth movement” who is now exiled and living in Germany, told the publication about how he met Putin many years ago and observed that his public image was “a total superman,” a label that has obviously faded. And an ex-Kremlin political technologist, Marat Gelman, helped to stage photo ops (similar to the horseback photo shown above) to beef up that image, which he says has now crumbled into a puddle of fear:

“I regret that time and my role now, of course. The idea was to stage scenes of Putin being active, traveling, doing things, solving problems without saying a word,” Gelman, who is now an art collector and gallerist, told The Daily Beast. “I wrote texts that were published in newspapers as his … He was not afraid, it seemed he did not care much if he would lose, but now he is really terrified, because of the real danger he is facing.”

Gelman has further observed “how truly lost” Putin is after “he has burnt everything.” In other words, it’s no wonder that Putin is fretting over the day that he might see a true sign of presidential failure that could be coming: the loss of one vegetable. That veggie could be the true litmus test for how much Russians will tolerate as Putin’s disastrous war drags on into infinity.

(Via The Daily Beast)