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Putin on the brink as Russian elites want him gone: ‘No longer the guy we need'

Vladimir Putin claimed that a grenade had been set off on the plane and that many on board the aircraft were under the influence of drugs.

A leading expert on Russia, Professor Mark Galeotii, says the way Putin dealt with Prigozhin has lost him the trust of many Russian elites.

He told Times Radio: “Before the Prigpzhin mutiny, there was that sense that, even if you didn’t like the way things were going, at least you knew where you are with Putin. Putin was, if nothing else, a competent manager of the elite.

“Now it has been shown that his grip on the elite is much less strong… what you get from Russians is the sense that he is no longer the old Putin… that sense he is no longer the guy we need.

“There is also that sense that you cannot trust him. Trust really does matter in the elite system.”

Professor Galeotti says that Putin will not face resistance in the near future because he still has a strong grip on power.

But the Russian elites are constantly assessing how beneficial their partnership with the Kremlin is, and could turn against Putin, Professor Galeotti adds.

He explained: “Obviously no one is going to turn against Putin tomorrow because Putin has already killed the person who made the greatest challenge.

“It is a different kind of relationship [with the elites], it is a relationship of the hostage and the hostage taker more than the willing ally.

“There will be future crises. The point is the next time Putin has to make a deal with someone will they actually feel that can make that deal? Will they feel that Putin can be trusted?

“It might sound silly to talk about trust in the context of this kind of selfish, kleptocratic regime

“But when it comes down to it, Putin is just one guy with a handful of people who share his vision for Russia, and a much larger elite who are just in it for what they can get out of it. They will be making a constant cost-benefit analysis.”


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