Retired general Wesley Clark has written that the Prigozhin affair should highlight Putin’s nature and warn the West that it should take him more seriously.
“Was it just revenge? A warning to others? Although his death has not yet been officially confirmed, Yevgeny Prigozhin probably experienced the fate of many before him who danced with Putin and lost his trust. But there could be much more to the story, and no doubt there is more to be discovered,” he said.
If Prigozhin’s “First March on Moscow” was indeed a hastily planned rampage against the Russian military, why was it not stopped immediately? Could there have been an intent on the part of “headquarters” to let it play out long enough to identify and wipe out others with questionable loyalties, or was it really a failure of counterintelligence at the highest levels? And if so, will some others who should have discovered his preparations but failed to do so quietly disappear?” asks Clark.
He says the move may also have links to Belarus in an effort to tie Belarusian dictator Lukashenko to greater support for Putin’s war.
“Had Prigozhin sensed that his growing popularity had already made him a target? Was it manipulated by someone close to Putin to make its move – and then, before it was eliminated, used to enable Russia to deploy more forces in Belarus and tie Belarusian dictator Lukashenko to more support for Putin’s war?” he writes.
Clark says Putin has maintained control of the information space inside Russia and blocked messages and communications with the West.
“He is cloaked in the Russian language of sacrifice and patriotism and has secured the support of the vast majority of the Russian people.” Unlike former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, he has so far succeeded in evoking deep Russian feelings of pride, resistance and resilience in the face of staggering battlefield losses. Putin undoubtedly planned and fought for a northern assault from Belarus on Ukraine to cut off supply lines to the west and isolate Kiev. “Prigozhin’s caper may have helped him advance this effort,” he wrote in an opinion piece.
Clark says that Putin is cunning and that the West should be more open.
“In the West, we too often imagine our adversaries are “mirror images” of ourselves – we must not make that mistake with Putin.” He is cunning, ruthless and ruthlessly determined to regain control of Ukraine – to the point of uprooting a people and their culture. The deaths of hundreds or thousands are minor to him. He does not honor agreements, does not abide by laws and customs, and does not accept restrictions on his actions unless it temporarily serves his purpose. He seems to see himself at war with the West, NATO, and the United States, with the suppression of Ukraine being only the first stage. He has said this openly and repeatedly. We have reluctantly accepted this.”
Clark says Putin will end the conflict in Ukraine when he sees that he is losing.
“Putin, on the other hand, should look at the political scene in the U.S., as well as politics in Germany and elsewhere in the West, and see weaknesses in our support for Ukraine.” The conflict in Ukraine will end when Putin decides he cannot win. The Prigozhin affair should highlight the nature of Putin and warn us to avoid wishful thinking and take him ever more seriously.”/The Geopost/