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Putin is looking for scapegoats to blame for Russia's failures

Mar 13, 2023

Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin is looking for scapegoats to blame for Russia's failures in the war against Ukraine.


This was reported by RBC-Ukraine with reference to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

Analysts note that the dictator will use the heavy losses of the Wagner PMC, reports of poor morale and war crimes to distract the population from similar or possibly worse problems in the Russian armed forces.

"Much of the Russian coverage of the battle for Bakhmut has focused on the heavy losses of Wagner's men, allowing the Russian Defense Ministry to hide or downplay other losses of Russian forces," the report says.

The ISW also points out that the Ministry of Defense, in turn, remains in Putin's favor, despite the crushing defeat at Vuhledar in early February 2023.

"The misfortune of Wagner PMC founder Yevgeny Prigozhin is likely to scare other Kremlin officials, such as Chechnya's head Ramzan Kadyrov, into scaling back their ambitions to avoid Prigozhin's fate," the experts emphasize.

The Institute of War Studies explains that Prigozhin has earned a bad reputation for treating his forces as cannon fodder, and his public pleas for ammunition are unlikely to make service in the Wagnerian ranks attractive to recruits.

"While Prigozhin saw Bakhmut as an opportunity to gain leverage over the Kremlin and the Russian Defense Ministry to achieve his own commercial and political goals, Putin used the Wagner PMC to protect his regime from the disastrous consequences of mobilization, which significantly slows down military operations against Ukraine," the analysts add.

Author - Serhii Kolomiets, 13/03/2023

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