Vladimir Putin is “bitter and “disenchanted” like “Hitler and Saddam Hussein” in the final moments of their rule and could be on the brink of losing power, a defence expert claims. Echoing some of the worst dictators in history, the Russian despot will be “fuming” after the recent rebellion by Wagner mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin exposed his shaky grasp on rule.
The 24-hour armed mutiny by his former friend Prigozhin saw Wagner soldiers capture Russian territory with a convoy at one point 120 miles from Moscow over the weekend. Only an 11th-hour deal struck between the Kremlin and Prigozhin saw the commander stand down his 25,000 troops and go into exile in Belarus, despite Putin’s claims he would “punish” the mutineers.
But today (Tuesday) Russia’s security service, the FSB, announced the criminal probe into Prigozhin has been dropped, perhaps further showing cracks in the authority of the Russian President.
And like Hitler in his final moments, Putin also seems to have bunkered down with no live appearances since the rebellion began.
Dr Michele Groppi, a lecturer in defence studies at King’s College London, told The Sun the Russian dictator would be “p***ed” by recent events.
Dr Groppi told the paper: “Putin is so p***ed. Let’s take a look at the lives of a number of dictators – Saddam Hussein, even Hitler, during their last periods. They were so bitter, so disenchanted, and they realised that everything they had done hadn’t really paid off.”
Dr Groppi said Putin’s style of surrounding himself with “yes men” was no longer working when things started to go wrong with his invasion of Ukraine and then the rebellion.
The academic added that the dictator will feel “betrayed” and that something has “changed” in the amount of control he has over subordinates, with the armed mutiny showing he could be close to the “end”.
“They were so close to the end. Had civil war broken out, it would have been the end – the end of the war, the end of Putin, so much bloodshed,” Dr Groppi added.
Russian authorities said today they have closed a criminal investigation into the armed rebellion led by mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin, with no charges against him or any of the other participants. The Federal Security Service, or FSB, said its investigation found that those involved in the mutiny “ceased activities directed at committing the crime.”
Over the weekend, the Kremlin pledged not to prosecute Prigozhin and his fighters after he stopped the revolt on Saturday, even though President Vladimir Putin had branded them as traitors.
The charge of mounting an armed mutiny carries a punishment of up to 20 years in prison. Prigozhin escaping prosecution poses a stark contrast to how the Kremlin has been treating those staging anti-government protests.
Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein had been on the run since the US-UK invasion of the country in March, 2002. He was found hiding in a bunker at a compound near his home town of Tikrit and was executed on December 30, 2006, after being convicted of crimes against humanity.
Like Saddam, the notorious 20th century Nazi leader Adolf Hitler also fled to a bunker. The dictator went to his purpose-built Führerbunker in Berlin and on April 30, 1945, he is believed to have shot himself in the head as he bit down on a cyanide capsule.