Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine isn’t going over nearly as smoothly as he had hoped. He still threw a silly parade to celebrate war victory even though victory isn’t on the immediate table, and he’s not only lost access to his Botox supply (those sanctions are no joke) but has fired military officials (and secret agants) left and right because he’s so frustrated at not being able to immediately topple President Volodymyr Zelensky and the Ukraine army.
A recent Meduza report (via The Daily Beast) indicated that Putin’s inner circle thinks this whole war is so disastrous that they’re maneuvering to install a successor while noting that “in the fairly foreseeable future he will not run the country.” Now, Newsweek has heard from three senior leaders of U.S. intelligence, who claim to have viewed reports that confirm rumors of Putin suffering from ill health. That includes recent cancer treatment and a credible threat upon his life. Via Newsweek:
Vladimir Putin was treated for cancer in April, says a classified U.S. intelligence report. The Russian president at the Tauride Palace on April 27, 2022, in Saint Petersburg, Russia. The assessments also confirm that there was an assassination attempt on Putin’s life in March, the officials say.
The high-ranking officials, who represent three separate intelligence agencies, are concerned that Putin is increasingly paranoid about his hold on power, a status that makes for a rocky and unpredictable course in Ukraine. But it is one, they say, that also makes the prospects of nuclear war less likely.
Even more telling: one official declared (also to Newsweek), “Putin’s grip is strong but no longer absolute” before adding, “The jockeying inside the Kremlin has never been more intense during his rule, everyone sensing that the end is near.”
However, it’s worth nothing that Putin’s staying very isolated, not only due to the ongoing pandemic but obvious security concerns. To that end, it’s difficult for any media outlet to secure confirmation of these claims. Still, that isolation is only breeding more speculation, so it’s anyone’s guess whether Putin will be outta there sooner rather than later. With Russia unable to make bond payments as Putin’s assault on Ukraine continues, though, one can imagine that we might hear more accounts about his difficulty in maintaining power.